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Grandparents be preferred over other relatives in granting custody of child after demise of parents: SC | India News

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday said that paternal grandparents should be preferred in granting custody of a minor child after the demise of his parents as they can take care of him better than other relatives who also seek custody.
A vacation bench of Justices MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose said that grandparents are emotionally more attached to grandchildren than their children and they can take better care of the child despite old age. The court quashed the order of the Gujarat high court of granting the custody of a child to the maternal aunt, while turning down the plea of ​​the grandparents for custody. The child had lost both of his parents in the second wave of Covid pandemic.
The HC had passed the order in the favor of the maternal aunt on the assumption that she was better suited to take care of the child because of the old age of grandparents who were 71 and 63 years old and she had a better source of income and also because she was living in a joint family.
Disagreeing with the HC order, the apex court said that the reasons/grounds given by the HC may be relevant but not germane and there cannot be any presumption that the maternal aunt being unmarried has an independent income; younger than the paternal grandparents and having a bigger family would take better care than the paternal grandparents.
“In our society still the paternal grandparents would always take better care of their grandson. One should not doubt the capacity and/or ability of the paternal grandparents to take care of their grandson. It is said that the grandparents love the interest rather than the Emotionally also the grandparents will always take better care of their grandson. Grandparents are more attached emotionally with grandchildren,” the apex court said while setting aside the order passed by HC.
The court also noted that the grandparents were living in Ahmedabad where the child will get a better education while his aunt was living in Dahod which is a tribal area. The court also took into consideration that being a retired person, the paternal grandparents would devote more time and take care of the minor better than the aunt who is serving as a government employee.
“Income and/or the age and/or the bigger family cannot be the sole criteria to tilt the balance and not to give the custody of the grandson to the paternal grandparents. At the cost of repetition, it is observed that neither the High Court has observed anything against the grandparents that they have not taken proper care of the minor grandson during interim custody or they acted detrimental to the interest of the minor. Court.” the bench said.
It said that the maternal aunt may also take proper care of the minor son of her deceased sister but the balance “would certainly tilt in favor of the paternal grandparents”. It asked both the warring families–paternal grandparents and maternal aunt & her family— to forget the bitter past and think about the welfare of the child and asked the grandparents to allow the child to visit and stay with aunt on holidays.

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