Delhi Court questions CWC’s call to send kids to children’s home, grants custody to grandfather

Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana said: "An ounce of personal love is more important than tons of professional services."

A Delhi court, while hearing a case relating to the custody of two kids whose mother was found dead under mysterious circumstances earlier this year and father was sent to jail over the matter, questioned the Child Welfare Committee’s (CWC) decision to send them to a children’s home.

Saying that “an ounce of personal love is more important than tons of professional services”, Additional Sessions Judge Dharmender Rana granted their custody to their grandfather. The court had passed the order on October 1 while disposing of two appeals filed under the Juvenile Justice Act impugning an order passed by the CWC.

As per court records, a marital discord had risen between the parents of the two children aged 3 years and 5 months. The mother was found dead while the children were found unconscious with burn injuries. The police had registered two separate FIRs and the father was sent to judicial custody.

The children were subsequently produced before the CWC which sent them to a children’s home.  The paternal grandmother and maternal grandfather of the children had filed separate pleas seeking their custody.

The grandmother’s lawyer had argued that “since the kids were already residing with her, she, being the paternal grandmother, is entitled as a matter of right for the custody of kids”. The grandfather, on the other hand, argued that he was the best person to look after the children, saying that the grandmother and her family had vanished from the scene in order to avoid legal action following the FIRs, “leaving the children in an abandoned and in a pitiable condition”.

“The kids on account of their tender age require special care, attention and affection. An ounce of personal love and care for the wholesome growth of the minor kids is worth more than tons of professional services rendered at any public institution. I fail to understand as to why the Children Home was chosen by Child Welfare Committee over the grandparents while deciding the custody issue of the minor kids in the instant matter,” court said.

It added, “Even the best of care and attention provided in a formal, institutionalized and alien environment of a Children Home cannot be an appropriate substitute for personal love, care and affection of the grandparents towards their young children, who are evidently in need of special care and affection.”

The court, therefore, held that the decision of the CWC to send the kids to a children’s home was “erroneous and cannot be sustained”.

It granted custody of the two children to the maternal grandfather after it noted that the elder child “expressed his unambiguous inclination” to live with him. It also noted that the paternal grandmother was a widow with no income and during investigation, the entire family from the paternal side had “vanished to avoid the clutches of law abandoning the young kids in pitiable situation”.

The court has, however, granted the paternal grandmother liberty to meet both her grandsons on the fourth Sunday of every month before a Duty Magistrate, Patiala House court.

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