The “First Strike” in Child Custody Battles III

The custody of minor children has been considered difficult in adjudication by the Courts apart from raising delicate issues, especially when the spouses are NRIs. For the custody of children, a tussle was going on between the parents. Obviously, the ultimate goal which has to be kept in mind is the best interest of the child which is of utmost importance and of a paramount consideration. The essence of Nithya Anand is that the ‘Comity of Courts’, intimate connect, orders passed by Foreign Courts having jurisdiction in the matter regarding custody of the minor child, citizenship of the parents and the child etc. cannot override the consideration of the best interest and the welfare of the child and that the direction to return the child to the foreign jurisdiction must not result in any physical, mental, psychological, or other harm to the child. In the present case, there is every possibility that the parties may reconcile and start over their relationship afresh, at least for the sake of happiness of their own off-spring. The parties are indeed mature and sensible enough to understand that the ordinary wear and tear of married life has to be put up in within the larger interests of their own happiness and of the healthy, normal growth and development of their offspring, whom destiny has entrusted to their joint parental care. Spouses must come over the temperamental disharmony which usually exists in every marriage, rather than magnifying it with impulsive desires and passions. Parents are not only caretakers, but they are instrumental in the development of their child’s social, emotional, cognitive and physical well-being and work harmoniously to give their children a happy home to which they are justly entitled to. We hope and trust that the parties will forget and forgive their differences and join hands together in providing the congenial atmosphere which may be good not for themselves but also for the development of their minor children. In our view, the best interest of the children being of paramount importance will be served if they return to US and enjoy their natural environment with love, care and attention of their parents including grandparents and to resume their school and be with their teachers and peers.”

Hon’ble Justice Ajay Rastogi, Lahari Sakhamuri v. Sobhan Kodali, [Civil Appeal No. 3135 of 2019].