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Report No. 83

6.47. Need to prevent father from using child as pawn.-

Quite apart from the considerations of well being, welfare, education and development of the child which weigh in favour of allowing the mother a right to the custody of a child till he is at least twelve years of age,1 it is necessary to give this right to the mother in order to prevent the father from using the child as a pawn for securing complete submission or his wife,
who may be independent and spirited, to his none too laudable plans, instances are common where the husband, either at the instigation of his parents or sisters or on own, has adopted "the pawn method", when the wife insists on the husband having his own establishment which he can well afford, or when the wife has not served well the mother-in-law or has not brought a handsome dowry.

In such cases the husband sends away his wife to her parents' house, keeping the custody of their child with him. Such instances occur frequently in the early years of marriage,2 when generally there is a minor child. It is not unreasonable to predict that with the liberalisation of marriage and divorce laws and the enactment of anti-dowry measures, "the child pawn" weapon would be too often used by the husbands who have failed to make their marriage a success and who are out to exploit the situation and pursue their object at any cost.

All these considerations are very material to the questions that we have formulated.3

1. See further para. 650, infra.

2. Cf the facts in Harihar Prasad v. Suresh, AIR 1978 AP 13.

3. Para. 6.39, supra.

The Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 and Certain Provisions of the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956 Back

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