The Bombay High Court in its order dated May 23, 2022 said,
A child needs the love and affection of both parents.
The HC was hearing a child custody order challenged by mother, where family court allowed overnight access to the non-custodial parent, the father.
Parties got married in 2012 and a son was born out of wedlock in 2015. The couple separated in 2016. The wife initiated divorce along with application for maintenance and child custody.
During the pendency of the divorce proceedings, the family court granted the father overnight access to the child from May 17 to 30, 2022.
This was challenged by the mother in High Court through the present case.
Application by Husband For Child Access
Original Application was filed by the Respondent (husband) before the Family Court seeking access to his 7-year-old son on the occasion of his birthday and during the ensuing summer vacation between April 30, 2022 to June 5, 2022.
The son’s birthday of was on April 21.
Trial Court Order
Mother was aggrieved by the below Trial Court Order which read:
Petitioner shall also give overnight access of child to father from 17.05.2022 to 30.05.2022. She shall hand over son on 17.05.2022 around 10:00 a.m. to respondent-father, whereas respondent shall return the child around 5.00 p.m. on 30.05.2022 to petitioner-mother.
During overnight access, respondent shall take care of child by all means and also allow him to speak with mother daily as per child’s wish.
Bombay High Court
The vacation judge Justice Milind Jadhav was approached by the mother of the child against the above family court order permitting the father to have overnight access to the child. This petition was mentioned before High Court on May 13, 2022 during the vacation.
Judge fixed the date of May 18 for hearing and interacting with the child in chamber. The Petitioner was present along with the child, so also the Respondent was present. The advocates for both sides were also present. The Judge initially interacted with the child only in the presence of the Mother and her Advocate, and later in the presence of the Father, as well as their respective Advocates who were all present in the adjoining chamber.
The Judge was of the opinion, that though, all of 7 years of age, the boy appeared to be a highly reciprocative and got engaged in a conversation with him immediately. From his body language, demeanour, replies and answers given to a gamut of general questions put to him, he came out to be more than intelligent for his age. His reflexes were very sharp. After spending about 30 minutes interacting with him, the Judge shifted to his chamber to hear the respective advocates, where further submissions were made.
After going through factual details on both sides, the Bombay High Court emphasized that children need love, understanding and company of both the parents for their healthy growth. The Judge said,
The parties in this case should not forget that both parents have common responsibilities, most importantly been together would be an ideal case but even if they are separated they still have to helm the primary responsibility of upbringing and development of the child.
For this, the child requires the love, affection and quality time to be spent with both the parents. Leaving apart the acrimony between the parties before me, at this stage the most important focus should be aimed at the development of the child.
Upholding the trial court order, the Judge added,
What is important to be seen is whether the child has love and affection towards the parents rather than the other way round.
During his interaction, the Judge also learnt that the bond between father and son was indeed strong. Thus, he remarked:
There was no trust deficit between the two or any fear shown by the child.
On vague allegations made by the mother,
If the Petitioner Mother has a genuine apprehension then such an apprehension has to be backed by cogent material. There is not a singular incident that I have came across while reading the entire record to compel me to believe that the apprehension of the Petitioner is well founded.
Just as the Petitioner is the mother of the child it should not be forgotten that the Respondent is his father and from the record it is clearly gathered that he is a doting father.
Since most of the vacation time had already gone by, Justice Jadhav modified the dates on which access was granted by the family court. The child was permitted to remain with the father from May 24 to June 5.
As a precautionary measure, the father was directed not to take the child outside of India for any trip or holiday.
READ ORDER AT THE END OF THE ARTICLE
READ ORDER | If Petitioner Is Mother Of Child, She Should Not Forget Respondent Is Doting Father; Bombay High Court Grants Overnight Child Access To Husband— Voice For Men India (Previously Men's Day Out) (@voiceformenind) May 26, 2022
HC: "Both parents have common responsibilities even if separated"#VoiceForMen #SpeakUpMen https://t.co/2JjP8rHIMJ
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