> Kids are not things, HC tells warring families but advice falls on deaf ears
Kids are not things, HC tells warring families but advice falls on deaf ears
A division bench of the High Court on Monday ruled that two minor children would live with their father and their maternal grandparents would have the rights to only visit them. That should have been the end of the case. However, the two families were involved in an ugly spat outside the court and almost came to blows in the presence of the children. Despite the best efforts of their advocates the warring parties left the court on a bitter note.
The maternal grandmother of a six-year-old and four-year-old had filed a habeas corpus petition contending that the children were kept in illegal confinement by their father. The mother of the children is dead and they are in the custody of their father for the last two years. The children were presented in court along with their father. His brother, mother and other family members also came to court. The maternal grandmother, her son and other members were also present in court.
When the matter came up before the division bench of Justice DV Shylendra Kumar and Justice BV Pinto, the father contended that he was taking care of his sons and they were not in illegal confinement. The grandmother said that she was not even being allowed to visit the children and would be threatened with weapons if she went to his place. The judges told both the parties to set aside their differences and remarked that children were not things or properties that they should fight this way. They noted that, at this juncture, the father was the guardian and the grandmother or others could not be given custody. However, the father was told that the grandmother and other relatives should be given the opportunity, without bias, to visit the children. In the court, the grandmother took one of the children in her arms. After the court ruling, she came out crying with the kid still in her arms.
THINGS TURN UGLY
Right outside the court hall, the father tried to snatch the kid from the grandmother. She resisted and before things could worsen, a police sentry shooed them away. They moved a little further and started trading charges. The father then left but his brother continued to argue with the grandmother. In the presence of other advocates, the two families started trading charges. Their counsel tried to pacify them and it was agreed that the child would be handed to the father in a few minutes.
However, the exchange of foul abuses continued. They were warned by the police on duty once again. Advocates and other clients told the fighting parties that they could get into trouble with court authorities if they continued to fight. All of them then came out of the HC building and gathered near the Mark Cubbon statue, which is inside the court’s security perimeter. Just when everyone thought that the matter was over, tempers flared up again with the families started abusing each other. Two of them almost came to blows. They stood on either side of the road and exchanged words. Finally, the grandmother let go of the child she was holding. The child ran towards his father’s family. The two parties went in opposite directions continuing to shout obscenities that drew the attention of more advocates and passersby.