The custody of a minor child cannot be transferred to the other parent unless he is comfortable with his/her company, and it should not be done suddenly but over a period of time. This is what the Bombay high court ruled while allowing the mother's the appeal, challenging the family court's ruling.
In its order on June 20, the family court dismissed the mother's application for modification of the consent terms signed by the couple, on September 29, 2010, on their 10-year-old child.
According to the consent terms, the father was given custody, but the petition stated that the child was not happy with him.
“Before he can be relegated to a particular parent, the child's welfare and comfort level with the parent should be taken into consideration,” the high court said.
It was also said that the family court's refusal to amend the consent term could have been justified if it would have pertained to the couple or any business right, but not in the case of a child.
The court said that the child's comfort should be looked into while he is in his mother's care by giving the father regular access.
Accordingly, the court ordered that the child be given access to the father at the family court children’s complex. After establishing a rapport with the child, they can meet outside malls, cinema hall, gardens or restaurants.
The child will have to meet the family court counsellor, who will decide the appropriate time when the child can be allowed to meet the father. It will also decide whether the child can stay with his father overnight.