Bombay High Court Upholds Custody to Mother Despite Allegations of Adultery

Bombay High Court grants custody to mother despite adultery allegations. Son of former legislator's plea dismissed. Case: Abhishek Ajit Chavan v. Gauri Abhishek Chavan.

In a recent ruling, the Bombay High Court reaffirmed that adultery cannot serve as a basis for denying custody of a child, while granting custody of a nine-year-old girl to her mother. Justice Rajesh Patil dismissed a petition by the son of a former legislator seeking custody of his daughter from his estranged wife, citing her alleged extramarital affair.

The court referenced a January 2024 judgment by the Delhi High Court, supporting custody to a wife despite proven allegations of adultery. The petitioner, an IT professional, and his wife, a doctor, married in 2010. Despite conflicting claims about the wife leaving the matrimonial home, the husband filed for divorce in 2020 on grounds of cruelty.

After interim custody was granted to the wife in February 2023, the husband failed to comply with custody arrangements, leading to the present petition. The husband argued against the wife's custody, alleging discomfort of the child and the wife's alleged affairs.

However, the court emphasized that such claims lacked substantiation and could not dictate custody decisions. Justice Patil stated, "Not being a good wife does not necessarily mean she is not a good mother. Adultery can be grounds for divorce, however, it cannot be a reason for denying custody."

Addressing concerns about the child's behavior at school, the court questioned why authorities contacted the paternal grandmother instead of the parents, both well-educated. It emphasized the paramountcy of the child's welfare, noting the commendable care provided by the maternal grandmother during custody with the mother.