Landmark Decision by Kerala High Court Ensures Fair Trial in Custody Battle

Judgment on fair trial

In a significant development, the Kerala High Court delivered a crucial judgment related to a fair trial in OP (FC) No. 12 of 2024 on January 16, 2024. The case involved a custody battle stemming from OP(G&W) 951/2021 in the Family Court, Mavelikkara, where the petitioners sought permanent custody of minor children.

Background of the Case

The petitioners, represented by advocates John K. George and M.A. Prabhu, raised concerns about the appointment of an Advocate Commissioner to record evidence in the case. They argued that the 1st respondent, a practicing Advocate and party-in-person, being quarrelsome, might intimidate and attack during the process.

Court's Rationale

Justice C. Pratheep Kumar, delivering the judgment, acknowledged the legitimate apprehensions raised by the petitioners. The court highlighted the previous incident where the 1st petitioner was attacked, leading to a police case. The judgment emphasized that the apprehension of not getting a fair trial through an Advocate Commissioner was bona fide.

Key Observations

The court, in its order, noted that the respondents would not be prejudiced if the evidence was recorded before the court itself. It held that a fair trial was paramount, especially considering the history of conflict between the parties.

Court's Directive

In a departure from the usual practice, the Kerala High Court directed the Family Court, Mavelikkara, to conduct the examination of both parties in OP(G&W) 951/2021 before the court itself. This directive aims to ensure a fair and impartial trial, addressing the concerns raised by the petitioners.

Implications of the Decision

The decision is likely to set a precedent in cases involving a conflict of interest when a party, especially a legal practitioner, is involved. By prioritizing the principle of a fair trial, the court has shown sensitivity to the unique circumstances of this custody battle.


This judgment by the Kerala High Court exemplifies a commitment to justice and fairness in legal proceedings. It underscores the court’s willingness to adapt procedures to guarantee a just resolution, even if it means deviating from established norms.

Download Judgment

Click above to download this Judgment in the case titled OP (FC) No. 12 of 2024. It can serve as a valuable resource for legal reference.

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