New Delhi: Mother is the primary care giver but father's love and guidance is extremely important to shape the lives of children, the Delhi High Court has said, holding that parental alienation is not conducive to a good upbringing of kids.
The court's observations came during the hearing of a woman's plea seeking guardianship of her two minor children. It dismissed the plea, saying the paramount welfare of the kids, aged nearly seven and three, remains with both the parents and in shared parenting.
The woman and the man performed a civil marriage in the US in August 2006. In December 2007, the marriage was solemnised in New Delhi. They worked together as dentist in the US between 2011 and 2016. A girl was born to them in August 2012 in the US.
The woman had alleged she faced hostility from her husband and his family on several grounds. She alleged the marital discord continued even after the child's birth and in January 2016, she came to India for her brother's marriage and decided to settle down here permanently.
She then discovered that she was expecting a second child and in September 2016, she gave birth to a boy. There were several rounds of litigation between the estranged couple in India and the US.
A bench of justices GS Sistani and Jyoti Singh was hearing an appeal by the woman seeking to set aside the August 2018 judgment of a family court here. "Parental alienation, as rightly held by the family court, is not conducive to a good upbringing of the children and can lead to psychological problems in some cases," it said.
The bench said there was no doubt that "the mother is the primary care giver, but we cannot also shut our eyes to the fact that even the father can contribute a lot to the upbringing of a child and, in fact, the love, affection, guidance and moral support of a father is extremely important in shaping the life of the children."
"Thus, the requirement of the respondent (father) in the lives of the children, in our view, is, if not more, equally important for the holistic growth of the children. Paramount consideration being the crucial factor, we hold that the welfare of the children lies with both the parents and in shared parenting," it held.
The court said it was not divesting the woman from the custody of the children and was of the view that the welfare of the children lies in joint parenting and in the US.
"We are dealing with an appellant (woman) who is highly educated and chose to live in America to give herself the best in life. We see no reason why we should deprive the children of good education, good environment, good medical care and the joint love of both parents," it said.
It added that if the woman goes to the US, the court of competent jurisdiction there would decide the issue of guardianship and custody as per law and keeping in mind the welfare of the children.
The court said it sees the point that the woman feels more comfortable under the umbrage of her parents in India, but the question here is not about her comfort zone but about the welfare of the children.