Kerala High Court slams family court for 'wayward life' comment against woman

"A mother may be morally bad in the societal sense, but that mother may be good for the child as far as the welfare of the child is concerned," the bench emphasized. 

Published: 20th June 2023 07:29 PM  |   Last Updated: 20th June 2023 07:29 PM   |  A+A-

Kerala HC

Kerala High Court (File photo)


KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday came down heavily on a family court judge for using improper language while granting sole custody of a minor child to the father, and set aside the order asking each parent to keep the child for a week each.

A division bench of Justices A. Muhamed Mustaque and Sophy Thomas noted that the family court judge had jumped to the conclusion that the mother had eloped with another person for "pleasure" and that the "wayward life" chosen by her would impact the welfare of the children.

"What has disturbed us is the language used by the family court judge. Merely for the reason that a woman is found in the company of another male, the family court came to the conclusion that she went for pleasure with someone else. The highly distasteful language depicts the mindset of an officer of high rank in the district judiciary," said the High Court.

The court was dealing with a plea moved by the child's mother challenging the family court's order.

While the child's father alleged that the mother had left the matrimonial house to be with another man, the woman claimed that she was forced to leave the house due to unbearable domestic violence.

At this, the bench said it does not care to believe or disbelieve either of the versions put out to the court.

"There may be many circumstances when one may have to leave the matrimonial home. If a woman is found with another person, it cannot lead to an assumption that she went for pleasure. The moral judgment reflected in such orders would defeat the objective of inquiry in the matters of child custody," pointed out the High Court's order.

The bench further emphasised that "a mother may be morally bad in the societal sense, but that mother may be good for the child as far as the welfare of the child is concerned. The so-called morality is created by society based on their own ethos and norms and should not necessarily reflect in a contextual relationship between a parent and child," the court said.

Finally, it decided that each of the parents can take custody of the child for one week each which they felt was the best for the child, after setting aside the family court's order.

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