New Delhi, April 29: When parents fight it creates cracks in their children’s psychological well being which is a harsh reality, the Delhi High Court said on Wednesday while delivering verdict in a custody battle between an army officer and his estranged wife who was given the custody their kids.

The officer had in 2015 taken away his two kids — a girl and a boy — to Gulmarg, where he was posted, after accusing his wife of having an affair with a fellow officer.

The woman had, thereafter, moved a plea in the Family Court seeking custody of the children and it had ruled in her favour in 2016 by directing the officer to hand over the kids to her once their 2017-18 academic session was over. He challenged the 2016 order in the high court which on Wednesday upheld the Family Court’s decision and directed him to handover custody to the woman once the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted, PTI reported.

In his order directing the children’s custody be handed over to the mother, Justice Navin Chawla said, “…parental love is the only love that is truly selfless, unconditional and forgiving. However, when the parents fight, they not only fight amongst themselves but create cracks in their children’s psychological well being.

“This can be totally unintended, but is a harsh reality of life. The present case represents a similar circumstance.”

The court asked the man to also handover all the academic certificates of the kids to the mother so that she can try to get the kids admitted in a school in Delhi.

However, if she is unable to secure the kids admission in any school here within two weeks of reopening of schools after the coronavirus lockdown, then the children will go back to their father in Mathura where they are studying presently so that their studies are not affected, it said.

The court further said that if custody remains with the mother, she shall be bound by her statement that the officer shall be allowed unrestricted visitation rights, including overnight custody of the children, during their vacations and during his holidays.

The court handed over custody of the children to the mother as the officer was due for another posting in October this year and the location was not known and secondly, the girl child was approaching the age of puberty and therefore, she “would require the support and guidance of her mother”. 

“Though it may be true that the grandparents of the children are staying with the petitioner (officer) and therefore, the grandmother could also provide psychological support to the girl child, in my view, there can be no better support than from the mother,” the judge said.   

The court also did not agree with the officer’s contention that as his estranged wife was unemployed she cannot provide for the kids, saying that even the Supreme Court has held that financial independence of the mother “cannot be a criteria for determining the issue of the custody of the children”.

With these observations and directions, the court disposed off the plea of the officer.

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