Our society has the tendency to look at everything via a black and white spectrum, especially when it comes to women. It is quick to put women into two specific boxes that it deems fit – those of a ‘good woman’ and a ‘fallen woman’. A ‘fallen woman’, according to society, is one who has deviated from the traditional norms that has been set by it.
Hence, she is often deprived of certain social ‘perks’ like dignity, social accessibility, a respectful position within her family, and (heartbreakingly) access to her children.
However, the Punjab and Haryana High Court subverted these institutionalised ideologies. In a case pertaining to a woman, who is settled in Australia, seeking custody of her child from her estranged husband, the court made certain striking observations.
Here’s a little detail about the case. According to The Hindu, the woman had filed a petition for the release of her four-year-old daughter who was in the custody of the father, and her estranged husband, and to hand over the custody to her.
The father defended his case by holding up certain allegations against the woman’s “character” as she was involved in an extra-marital relationship. He argued that since she was of supposed questionable character, she wouldn’t be a good mother.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court stated that a woman involved in an extramarital affair doesn’t mean that she isn’t a good mother, reports The Tribune.
“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,” the judge said.
It was added, “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 further noted that the husband didn’t provide any substantial material to support his claim.
“The support and guidance of the mother would also be imperative during adolescence. The mother is the natural guardian of the child till the age of five years in terms of Section 6 of the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956,” the court noted.
“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.”#ChildCustody pic.twitter.com/udiy4nQUN9
— Live Law (@LiveLawIndia) May 30, 2021
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Cover image source: left.