Karnataka High Court

Karnataka High Court: While deciding the instant petition wherein the petitioner challenged the order passed by Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights which permitted the 2nd respondent-husband to visit the child every first and third Saturday for a specified time and make arrangements to pick up and drop off the child, the Bench of Jyoti Mulimani*, J., quashed the impugned order while noting that Karnataka State Commission for the Protection of Child Rights is an advisory body which can frame or suggest policy decisions with respect to the child’s rights to the State Government; and, has not been statutorily empowered to adjudicate or decide adversarial proceedings. The State Commission has no power to adjudicate any lis between two parties.

The petitioner and second respondent are husband and wife, and their marriage was solemnized on 08-07-2003 at Hathras, Uttar Pradesh. It was stated that after two forceful abortions and miscarriage, on 21-07-2010 the petitioner and second respondent-husband had their first child. In July 2016, the second respondent- husband came to the house of the petitioner and physically assaulted and forcibly took away the child and some of the petitioner’s belongings which drove her to register a complaint against him at HSR Layout Police Station. After the intervention of the police, the second respondent-husband handed over the custody of the minor child back to the petitioner. Further, in January 2017, when the child was studying at National Public School, Koramangala, the second respondent took the child and kept him away from the petitioner for nearly four months.

The petitioner lodged a complaint at the Bellandur Police Station and the Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights seeking protection for her child from the second respondent-husband. The Commission on 07-07-2017 passed the afore-stated impugned order and made certain recommendations.

The petitioner’s counsel argued that the State Commission has no power to pass an order granting visitation rights. Per contra, the counsel for the State Commission justified the impugned order.

Perusing the facts and contentions presented, the single Judge Bench noted that Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights is not statutorily empowered to decide disputes between parties.

The Court further pointed out the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 was enacted to consolidate and amend the law relating to guardians and wards and that the second respondent-husband has initiated proceedings under the 1890 Act which are pending for consideration before the Family Court.

The Court observed that since the proceedings are pending before Family Court, therefore, the State Commission ought not to have passed the visitation order. The Court further opined that the impugned order by Commission was one without jurisdiction and was given without considering the relevant matters. Therefore, the impugned order was held to be unsustainable in law and was hence quashed.

[Manisha Sharma v. Karnataka State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, 2023 SCC OnLine Kar 6, decided on 03-02-2023]

*Judgment authored by Justice Jyoti Mulimani

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For Petitioner: Advocate Siddharth B. Muchandi;

For Respondent 1: Advocate Geetha. M.

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