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The Supreme Court Tuesday said a child’s maternal grandparents cannot seek his or her custody if the kid’s natural father was there to take care.

‘When the natural father is there, how can grandparents (maternal) keep the child,’ said the vacation bench of the Supreme Court headed by Justice R.M. Lodha and comprising Justice A.K. Patnaik.

The court said this when counsel Kavita Kapil appearing for petitioner Khem Singh said that his grandchild was not inclined to go to his natural father and the court should ascertain the willingness of the child.

In the instant case, Singh has challenged a Punjab and Haryana High Court order upholding the trial court’s verdict directing the maternal grandparents to give the custody of the child to his natural father.

Singh’s daughter Manjit Kaur married Chiranjiv Singh in 2000. In 2004, both divorced each other through mutual consent. Sometime after the divorce, Manjit Kaur committed suicide. Since then the child was being brought up by his maternal grandparents.

The trial court at Ambala which was moved by Chiranjiv Singh for the custody of the child ruled in his favour on the grounds that financially he was better placed to take care of the child.

The trial court had ruled that the maternal grandfather and the maternal uncle of the child were running a small shop in Sadar Bazar area of Ambala Cantonment.

The trial court said that since both of them were busy in the shop from morning till evening they did not have the required time to devote to the child.

However, the trial court gave the grandparents visitation rights, once in a quarter, to give their affection to the child. The findings of the trial court were upheld by the high court.


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