Delhi High Court recently gave a judgement instructing a separated mother to guide her minor daughter to maintain contact with non-custodial parent, the father in this matter. This case in a way is also a landmark judgement, where most estranged wives tell court how minor children do not want to be in touch with their fathers and thus they do not facilitate access.
Husband is the petitioner in the present matter, who filed habeus corpus, as wife took away his 12-year-old daughter along with her to an unknown place. After filling the present petition, the man learnt that his wife and daughter had moved to Mumbai.
Delhi High Court then sent the matter for meditation which failed. Wife stopped all modes of communication between the child and the father. The woman in her defense told high court, that the minor daughter did not want to keep any contact with the father.
Bench comprising of Justice JR Midha and Justice Brijesh Sethi interacted with the daughter, and the child appeared hesitant to talk directly with the father. The high court was of the opinion that the minor girl was too young to take any informed decision with regards to her continuing or not continuing communication with the father.
Thus, the court directed both parents to jointly mould the child in keeping interaction on with the father. The court also pointed out that there was no substantial reason why the father should not be allowed to speak with the child in this case.
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Subsequently, the mother was directed to facilitate a video call between the child and the father everyday for 15 to 30 min.
The couple also has an 18-year-old son who is residing with the father and similar instructions were given to keep communication on between the son and his mother. The father willingly accepted since he did not have any objection.
Petitioner Husband was represented by High Court and Supreme Court lawyer Roopenshu Pratap Singh.
- The hearing has been conducted through video conference.
- The mediation between the parties has failed as not settled.
- Learned counsel for the petitioner submits that the petitioner be permitted to talk to her daughter, Baby X through video call daily. Respondent No.2 is present through video conference along with her counsel and she submits that Baby X is not willing to talk to the petitioner. Respondent No.2 has also produced Baby X through video conference and this Court has interacted with her. Baby X is not presently comfortable talking to the petitioner.
- This Court is of the view that Baby X is not mature enough to take the decision at this stage. In that view of the matter, the petitioner is permitted to make video call everyday between 7:30 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. to respondent No.2 who shall take up the call to enable the petitioner to talk with Baby X daily. Even if Baby X is not inclined to talk, the video call be kept open for 15 minutes.
- This Court hopes that respondent No.2 will give proper counseling to Baby X with respect to the rights of the petitioner to communicate with her daughter as well as the rights of the minor daughter to communicate with her father.
- Respondent No.2 submits that she should be permitted to communicate with her son, Y daily through a video call in the same manner in which the petitioner would talk to Baby X. The petitioner present through video conference has no objection to the same
- Respondent No.2 shall make a video call to Y daily between 07:00 P.M. to 07:30 P.M whereupon Y shall pick up the call and communicate with her mother. The communication time shall initially be 15 minutes which can gradually increase in respect of both the children as the atmosphere improves. Both the parties have given the mobile numbers for video call which are as under:-
- It is agreed by the parties that in the event of any default on the part of one of the parties to permit the communication through video call, the other party would be discharged from the corresponding obligation.
- If any party has any difficulty on a particular day, the party shall inform the same to the opposite party by Whatsapp before 10:00 A.M. on that day and he/she shall give an alternative convenience time to the other party.
- This petition has already been disposed of on 24th August, 2020 with liberty to the petitioner to avail appropriate legal remedies in accordance with the law and need not be listed again.
- The order be uploaded on the website of this Court forthwith