Child visitation by non-custodial parents (often the fathers) is a very sensitive issue. The mind of children whose parents are separated needs to be tackled with special comfort and attention so that he/she does not feel any different from other children.
In a recent order dated October 3, 2023, the Supreme Court of India has permitted a father to meet with his child outside the court premises citing ‘environment for child visitation also matters.’
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A family court in Kerala via order dated November 11, 2023 granted visitation rights of a child to the petitioner father every Sunday between 11am to 4pm at the court premises.
The Kerala High Court too did not interfere with the same order.
Subsequently, the father moved a special leave appeal in the Supreme Court requesting for meeting with son outside court premises.
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Going through the facts on record, the Supreme Court concurred with the High Court that welfare of the child must be kept in mind while ordering visitation. Having said so, the top court also observed:
At this stage we find that the repeated visitation rights in the Court premises, would also not be in the interest of the child as the environment during which the visitation rights are exercised, would also matter.
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Granting access to the father to meet with his child at a mall instead of the court premise, the Supreme Court ordered:
Therefore, at this stage, we see no reason to dispose of the instant petition but we direct that the visitation rights, as granted by the Family Court, shall stand altered for the present whereby the interim custody of the child shall be made over to the petitioner-father by the respondent-mother at the entrance of the RP Mall, Kollam, Kerala at 11:00 a.m on Sundays.
The petitioner father may take the child to the said mall and exercise the visitation rights till 02:00 p.m. of the same day. The custody of the child shall be made over to the respondent-mother at the same spot (entrance of the mall) where the child was made over to the petitioner-father at 02:00 p.m.
The Supreme Court concluded the matter by allowing this arrangement to continue on Sundays, as has been ordered by the Family Court until a further consideration be made by this Court.
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READ ORDER | "Environment Also Important"; Supreme Court Allows Father To Meet Son Outside Court Premises— Voice For Men India (@voiceformenind) October 6, 2023
▪️"Repeated visitation in Court, would also not be in interest of child as environment during which visitation is exercised, would also matter"https://t.co/05N76z0fk5
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