Madras High Court channels King Solomon’s wisdom in child custody case

First Published 8, Oct 2017, 12:01 PM IST
Madras High Court channels King Solmon s wisdom in custody case
  • The custody case was being fought between paternal grandmother and maternal aunt
  • They were seeking custody of a two-year-old boy who had lost his mother
  • The bench relayed their judgement in the case noticing the behaviour of the boy


A two-year-old boy was united with his aunt after a Madras High Court judge noticed the child’s behaviour.

What played out in the Madras High Court on the first working day after the Dasara holidays seems like a repetition of King Solmon’s justice from the Biblical times.

In this case, all that the court needed was the two-year-old’s cry to decide who his custody should be given to. In a normal case evidence, statutes and procedures are followed but this time the court passed a judgement from the heart needing no further than the child’s attachment to his aunt.

The Judgment of Solomon is a story from the Hebrew Bible in which King Solomon of Israel ruled between two women both claiming to be the mother of a child. He tricked the parties into revealing their true feelings asking them to divide the baby into half. The real mother horrified by the proposal said to give the baby to the other woman and that is how the King meted justice to the mother.  It is considered to be archetypal example of an impartial judge displaying wisdom in making a ruling.

According to a report in the Times of India, a division bench of Justice Rajiv Shakdher and Justice N Sathishkumar was hearing a case wherein the grandmother had filed a writ of habeas corpus in the court seeking custody of the little boy. She contended that her grandson Bharani was forcibly taken away from her. The fight for custody was between the paternal grandmother and maternal aunt of the two-year-old boy.

The story goes back to 2014 when T Arun, a differently abled man from Udayarpalayam, Ariyalur, got married to R Kanagavalli of Kallangulam, Jayankondam. The couple became parents to son Bharani but their marital relations soured and both mother and son began to live separately.

In August 2016, Kanagavalli suddenly went missing and Bharani started living with his mother's sister Latha. In 2017, the police investigating Kangavalli’s missing case rounded up on the actual culprits – Arun and his father. The duo had murdered Bharani’s mother and buried her.

While the father and son duo were cooling their heels in jail, Bharani’s grandmother complained that her grandson had been taken from her by force and sought his custody.

At the hearing, the police took the boy to his grandmother and the child burst out into wails and refused to come close to her but when the aunt came to him, Bharani stopped crying and seemed quite happy in her company.

That’s when the bench directed that Bharani’s custody be given to his aunt Latha and the judgement be in place until a larger court overrules it. They also demanded that adequate security be given to the aunt and the boy.