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A woman cannot be asked to choose between child and work: Bombay High Court

A family court ruling that prohibited the mother from moving to Poland with her daughter was quashed by the Bombay High Court on the grounds that a woman “cannot be asked to choose between her child and her work through a single-judge bench of Justice Bharti Dangre in the case of Anuradha Sharma v. Anuj Sharma (WRIT PETITION NO.6569 OF 2022)

FACTS OF THE CASE:

The woman filed the petition to migrate to Krakow, Poland, with her nine-year-old daughter. Her employer had proposed a Poland project to the woman working for a private corporation in Pune.

The husband had objected to the request, alleging that if the child were removed from his custody, he would never see her again. The man said the woman’s sole motivation for moving to Poland was to disrupt the father-daughter tie. The lawyers even mentioned the ongoing situation in Poland due to its neighbors, Ukraine and Russia.

JUDGEMENT:

After hearing both parties’ arguments, Justice Dangre remarked that the mother, who had reared the daughter solely, had custody of her up until this point. Given the girl’s age, it is crucial that she continue to live with her mother. The judge continued, on the one hand, there is a father who is upset that his daughter is moving away, and on the other, there is a lady who wants to work to advance her career.

The court decided to strike a balance between the woman’s job ambitions and the relationship between her father and daughter. It was observed, “I don’t believe the court can refuse career chances to a woman who is inclined to take the work and she cannot be robbed of this possibility. The interests of the mother and father must necessarily be balanced with consideration for the child’s welfare.”

It was further observed, “The petitioner is the mother of the child and has been continuously with the child, since her birth and though a working woman, has struck a balance between her work and care and affection of the child and ensured that she enjoys a healthy upbringing,”

The woman might take her mother with her to Poland for assistance, and the court had also highlighted that the child’s exposure and horizons would be expanded by international travel. The court also rejected the husband’s claim that uprooting the girl immediately to a distant nation would cause her anxiety. However, the court ordered the mother to allow her daughter’s father physical and virtual access to her. Every vacation, the woman must return to India so the father can meet their daughter.

Thus, the writ petition was allowed in the aforestated terms.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY REETI SHETTY

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