HC favour of having original side jurisdiction on child custody cases

The full bench comprising Justice PN Prakash, Justice R Mahadevan, Justice M Sundar, Justice N Anand Venkatesh, and Justice AA Nakkeeran held the matter in a 3:2 ratio.
 Madras High Court
Madras High Court

CHENNAI: A majority of the five-judge-bench of Madras High Court on Friday held that the jurisdiction of HC on the original side was not ousted in law while entertaining the child custody cases.

The full bench comprising Justice PN Prakash, Justice R Mahadevan, Justice M Sundar, Justice N Anand Venkatesh, and Justice AA Nakkeeran held the matter in a 3:2 ratio. Justices R Mahadevan, M Sundar, and AA Nakkeeran held that the jurisdiction of HC on the original side was not ousted in view of the provisions of (g) to Section 7 (1) read with Section 8 and 20 of the Family Courts Act, 1984 and the case of Mary Thomas Vs KE Thomas was good in law.

However, Justice PN Prakash and Justice Anand Venkatesh held that the HC was ousted in the jurisdiction on the original side in child custody cases and the Mary Vs Thomas case was bad in law.

The judges passed the orders on hearing a petition filed by S Annappoorani. The petitioner submitted that the concurrent jurisdiction in the child custody case was good in law and the word district court will have different meanings depending upon the Act. The petitioner also noted that though Section 8 of the Family Court Act was an ouster for jurisdiction, the same will not apply to the HC as it has its letter patent jurisdiction.

However, the respondent named K Vijay submitted through his counsels though the HC has letters patent jurisdiction, the same is subjected to the legislative enactments brought in parliament. The petitioner further submitted that the matrimonial jurisdiction was not an original jurisdiction of the HC.

Recently, the Chief Justice constituted the five-judge bench to decide on the matter of whether the HC has the original side jurisdiction in child custody cases.

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