Kumble’s wife, ex-husband in custody battle over daughter

By Nabeel A.Khan, IANS,

New Delhi : Cricketer Anil Kumble’s wife Chethana has withdrawn her custody case over her 14-year-old daughter Aaruni with her former husband Kumar V. Jahgirdar in the Supreme Court. The case will now reopen in a family court in Bangalore.

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Chethana has challenged a Bangalore family court’s decision to entertain Jahgirdar’s plea for custody of their daughter, who is living with her and Kumble.

Jahgirdar said he is “very confident” of proving in a family court that the “child wants to live with me” and is “is better served in my house”.

The Supreme Court July 27 asked Chethana to try for an out-of-court settlement with Jahgirdar. A bench of Justice Tarun Chatterjee and Justice R.M. Lodha gave this advice to the two while hearing her lawsuit.

Jahgirdar’s lawyer Prashant Bhushan Friday said that mediation had failed due to the “non cooperation of the mother of the child” and a trial court has to decide on the merits of the case and changed circumstances since the father has remarried.

Since the mother has two more children from Anil Kumble and needs more time for them, the girl’s father is best suited to take care of Aaruni and shower her undivided love, affection and attention.

Chethana’s lawyer Mukul Rohtagi objected to this saying that there is no need to reopen the case in the family court, but judges Chatterjee and Lodha said custody matters are always subject to change according to the circumstances and in the best interest of the child.

Later, Chethana’s lawyer withdrew the case.

Jahgirdar and Chethana got divorced in 1999 and within months Chethana married Kumble.

She moved the Bangalore family court in December 1999 for custody of her then six-year-old daughter left behind with her father. Jahgirdar too moved the family court seeking custody of Aaruni.

The family court subsequently endorsed his plea and allowed him to keep the child.

But on an appeal from Chethana, the Karnataka High Court reversed the family court ruling and gave the daughter’s custody to her mother, saying that in her early years the child’s upkeep and welfare would be taken care of better by a female family member.

As Jahgirdar was living alone then, the child’s interest would be better served in the custody of her mother, the high court said.

In 2004, approached by Jahgirdar, the apex court endorsed the high court’s ruling in favour of the mother.

Jahgirdar re-married in 2006. He again moved the family court seeking the child’s custody on the grounds of changed circumstances.

Chethana first moved the high court challenging the family court’s decision to entertain Jahgirdar’s plea, but her plea was dismissed. She then moved the apex court.