Written by Shaurya Mahajan
Today, the Chhattisgarh High Court in the case of Deepa Nayak v. Pitamber Nai held that if a wife doesn’t squeeze into the mould as per the desire of husband, it would not be a decisive factor for her to lose the custody of her child.
With this, the Court set aside an order of the Family Court, Mahasamund, wherein the custody of a 14-year child was granted in favour of the respondent.
Importantly, the custody of the child was granted to mother in the divorce decree dissolving marriage between the respondent/husband and appellant/wife.
In her application, the respondent/father sought the custody of the child on the ground that the mother (appellant herein) was in company of different males and she that used to travel along with other male members and also her attire was not befitting of a lady, which would reflect that she had lost her chastity.
It was further contended by him that if the child is kept in her custody, there would be an ill effect on the physical and mental health of the child and as such the child be given in the custody of the father. It was also alleged that she was in an illicit relationship, used to consume liquor, Gutkha and used to smoke cigarette.
The Court, at the outset, observed that the evidence led by he witnesses on behalf of father was based on their own opinions and thoughts. In this regard, the Court specifically noted that if a lady is required to rub her shoulder with public at large or male i.e. to accompany them in the car, there cannot be an inference that she has lost her chastity.
The Court further stressed, that if the whole point was to show that due to the character of wife, the child would be adversely impacted, then the degree of nature of evidence should have been much more & severe to hold that continuous a kind of behaviour of wife would be detrimental to the interest of the child.
Therefore, considering the evidence on record, the Court came to the conclusion that if the child is kept in the custody of the mother the welfare of the child would be ensured.
Accordingly, the direction of the Court below to handover the custody of the child to the father was set aside. However, the father was granted visitation rights.