Madras High Court

Madras High Court: In an appeal instituted against the order passed by the Court below, wherein the Court granted visitation rights to the grandparents as an interim measure, the division bench of R. Mahadevan* and Mohammed Shaffiq, JJ. has modified the order of the Judge, granting visitation rights to the grandparents, by restricting it to once every month, i.e., the first Saturday from 2.00 pm to 6.00 pm at the Child Care Centre attached to the Family Court in Chennai. It directed the mother (appellant) to personally bring and leave the child for visitation.


The grandparents have preferred a petition for the grant of permanent custody and for appointing them as guardian of their minor granddaughter. The son of the grandparents died in 2022. Thereafter, a dispute arose between the parties, which resulted in registration of the criminal cases against them. During enquiry, an agreement was entered into between the parties and as per the same, the custody of the child was given to the appellant and the visitation rights to the respondents. Contrary to the same, the appellant refused to permit the grandparents to have their visitation rights of the minor grandchild. Feeling aggrieved, the grandparents preferred the petition.

Issue: Is the grant of visitation rights to the grandparents by the Judge sustainable?

The grandparents submitted that they have already been affected by the death of their only son; and that, they own substantial properties in Chennai and sufficient means to secure the child’s future, whereas, the appellant’s parents have limited means, which would be detrimental for the proper upbringing of the child, if she is in their custody.

The Court viewed that truthfulness of the allegations raised by the parties cannot be gone into this appeal and the same can be determined only after full-fledged trial, based on the oral and documentary evidence adduced by them.

The Court said that in custody / guardianship matters, the Courts have to consider the welfare of the minor child, which is a paramount consideration and to ensure and safeguard family system in the country, which is fast eroding and to ensure that there is overall development of the minor child and there is proper environment and upbringing of the child. Therefore, the best interests of the child are taken care of. In the present case, the minor child as on date is at the tender age of 2½ years and therefore, the mother can claim custody over the minor child. At the same time, the grandparents cannot be denied reasonable access/visitation rights, which will also help the child’s normal development. An affectionate relationship with grandparents is recognised as beneficial for the child.

[A. Aashifa Begum v. Khader Beevi, 2024 SCC OnLine Mad 365, decided by 05-03-2024]

*Judgment Authored by: Justice R. Mahadevan

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