Anushree Goyal v. State of Madhya Pradesh & Ors.
Citation – WP No. 7739/2020 Bench – S.C. Sharma
Date – 8th June 2020 Facts of the Case
The Petitioner sought custody of her two-year-old child through a habeas corpus writ petition filed under Article 226 of the Indian Constitution. In 2013, the Petitioner married her husband and moved to the United States (State of Columbus), where they had a kid in 2018. The Petitioner alleged that her husband and in-laws were nasty to her and that she had been abused multiple times. The Husband secured an ex-parte judgement from an American court prohibiting the Petitioner from residing in her husband’s matrimonial residence. She then flew back to India and filed a police report. She later discovered that her husband and child had returned to India, and that her daughter was living with her in-laws. She was denied access to her child despite repeated requests. As a result, the mother filed a writ petition to gain custody of her child. The Respondents (in-laws) claimed that the Petitioner had abandoned the kid and that the grandparents were the lawful guardians of the child because the father had signed a Power of Attorney and Authorization in their behalf. During the case, an order was issued requiring the grandparents to present the child in court for the hearings.
Whether a habeas corpus writ petition can be used for gaining custody of child? Whether the Petitioner should get the custody of her child?
Article 226, Constitution of India
The Respondents, the Petitioner’s in-laws, had argued that a habeas corpus petition in the case of child guardianship could not be maintained. Regardless, the Court refused to “throw away” the Petitioner on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction or the availability of an alternative remedy under the Guardians and Wards Act of 1890.
The Respondent had relied on Section 9 of the Guardians and Wards Act 1890 to raise the question of the High Court’s jurisdiction to hear a case involving a child with U.S. citizenship. The Respondents also stated that the grandparents were the child’s guardians, according to an injunction order issued by the Franklin County Common Pleas Court, Division of Domestic Relations, Columbus, Ohio. The High Court dismissed the contention that the injunction order was invalid since it was silent on the child’s case and was issued ex parte. The Court ruled that a writ under Article 226 can be used to obtain custody of a child under unusual circumstances, citing Capt. Dushyant Somal v. Sushma Somal ((1981) 2 SCC 277). Despite the fact that there may be alternative options, habeas corpus would be the best option.
During the court procedures, the Court saw that the child was much happier with his mother than with his grandparents. And, because he was under the age of 5, the Court determined that it was in the best interests of the kid for him to be with his mother, citing the “tender years” criterion and Section 6 of the Guardians and Wards Act.
Thus, the child’s custody was granted to his mother, the Petitioner, but the Court also stated that the parties may seek custody in the future through a Civil Court under the Guardians and Wards Act, and that this case would not alter the deliberations and conclusions of that court.