Report No. 133
Andhra Pradesh Case
(1) A very recent case from Andhra Pradesh may be referred to because its facts are peculiar.1 A Hindu woman obtained divorce ex parte on the ground of cruelty and desertion by her husband. Remaining a Hindu, she remarried a Christian (under the Special Marriage Act) after the expiry of 6 months from the decree. The husband got the decree set aside, as passed ex parte without notice. The woman petitioned the High Court in revision. While this petition was pending, the husband attempted to take away the children. The woman then sued for an injunction to restrain the husband from doing so and got an interim order maintaining the status quo.
The husband, i.e. the father, then applied for the custody of 3 children (2 boys aged about 13 years and 10 years respectively and one girl aged about 12 years) under section 25, Act of 1890. His application was allowed by the trial court, but the mother appealed to the High Court and succeeded. The High Court held that remarriage with a person from a different religion could not (in itself) be a negative factor against the mother. In the interest and welfare of the minors, they should be allowed to remain with the mother. There was nothing against the mother which prejudicially affected the children.
1. Sheela v. Jeevanlal, AIR 1988 AP 275 (277, 278) (Mrs. Amareswari & Bhaskar Rao., 11).