Man jailed for subjecting wife to cruelty denied custody of son

A man, sentenced to a jail term in 2006 for subjecting his wife to cruelty, has been denied by a Delhi court his minor son’s custody after his release on the ground that it will not be in the interest of the child.

District Judge A K Chawla dismissed the plea of the man, who had also faced trial for burning his wife to death in 2004, but was eventually held guilty only of subjecting her to cruelty.

The court held that the 10-year-old boy should continue to be in the custody of his maternal grandparents with whom he has been residing since his mother’s death in April 2004.

‘It shall not be in the welfare of the minor, if the custody of the minor is handed over to the petitioner, though, he is the natural father,’ the judge said.

The court denied him custody noting that he neither made any effort to meet the minor during his confinement in jail nor met him after his release.

‘Neither during the period of confinement in jail nor after release, the petitioner...took any constructive steps either to extend any financial assistance for the minor or even have any visitation right muchless, the custody, either temporary or otherwise, which could reflect his emotions, love and affection for the minor,’ it said.

‘In fact, there is nothing on record, to show that even during the pendency of the instant proceedings, the petitioner ever took any interest for the purpose. No effort is shown to have been made to meet the child, even in the court. Is that the love and affection and the concern of a natural father for his own child?,’ the judge asked.

During adjudication of his plea for his son’s custody, the man alleged that his in-laws had falsely implicated him in a dowry death case and had unlawfully taken away his child. He had also alleged that his in-laws were demanding Rs 2 lakh for giving back the custody of his son, adding that they were neither looking after him nor providing him any education.

The court, however, held that the child was being looked after and all his basic necessities were being provided.
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