'More emotionally attached', SC grants paternal grandparents custody of Covid orphan

SC said paternal grandparents would better take care of a six-year-old than his maternal aunt, as they are more emotionally attached, in a custody case where the child's parents died due to Covid

Supreme Court
Supreme Court
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IANS

The Supreme Court on Thursday said paternal grandparents would better take care of a six-year-old than his maternal aunt, as they are more emotionally attached, in a custody case where the child's parents died due to Covid last year.

A vacation bench comprising Justices M.R. Shah and Aniruddha Bose gave the paternal grandparents the custody of the boy, who was orphaned due to Covid -- his father died on May 13 and mother on June 12 during the second wave in Gujarat in 2021.

The bench said in our society paternal grandparents would always take better care of their grandchildren. "They are more emotionally attached to grandchildren," said the bench, adding that he will get a better education in Ahmedabad. The bench emphasized that paternal grandparents should be given preference in custody matters of the child as he lost his parents.

The maternal relatives took the child from his paternal grandparents' house in Ahmedabad to attend the last rites of his mother and since then, the child had been living with his maternal aunt and her family. The paternal grandparents moved the Gujarat High Court seeking custody of the child. After interacting with the child, the high court said that he is comfortable with the petitioner and his wife (the grandparents), however he was not in a position to give an independent preference between the petitioner and the maternal aunt.

The high court gave the boy's custody to the 46-year-old aunt. The court noted that she was unmarried, working with the central government and she was in a joint family, and pointed out such a family is good for the upbringing of the child.

The top court noted that income cannot be the sole criteria and cannot be the sole ground to deny custody to parental grandparents and quashed the high court judgment granting custody to the maternal aunt.

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