A WOMAN’S extra-marital affair is not a ground to deny the custody of her child in a matrimonial dispute as it cannot be concluded that she will not be a good mother, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has held. The court also noted that in a patriarchal society, it is fairly common to cast aspersions on the moral character of a woman and more often than not these allegations are made without any basis.
The order came following a habeas corpus petition filed by a woman from Punjab’s Fatehgarh Sahib district, seeking custody of her four-and half-year-old daughter from her estranged husband who is an Australian citizen. Justice Anupinder Singh Grewal, while allowing the petition of the woman, directed that the custody of the girl be handed over to her mother who is presently residing in Australia. The petitioner’s estranged husband had alleged that the woman was in an extra-marital relationship with a relative. “Aside of the bald assertion in the petition, no supporting material has been brought before this court. It would be worthwhile to note that in a patriarchal society, it is fairly common to cast aspersions on the moral character of a woman.
More often than not these allegations are made without any basis or foundation,” the court said. “Even assuming a woman is or has been in an extramarital relationship, the same by itself cannot lead to the conclusion that she would not be a good mother to deny her the custody of her child,” said the judge in a May 10 order. However, in this case, these allegations against the petitioner being wholly unsubstantiated are not considered relevant to adjudicate the issue of custody of the minor child, as per the order.