Parminder Singh has not met his son in India for a decade, thanks to the slow legal system in the country.
The Berlin-based software engineer is not the only father complaining about how courts in India hold NRI papas from meeting their children separated because of marital discord. California-based software consultant Yogish Kode also faces the same trouble every time he comes to India to meet his child.
“Whenever we come to India for a vacation, the entire period gets consumed in the lengthy legal proceedings to obtain a court order to meet the kid. By the time arguments start over our application, it is time to go back. Every time the same process is repeated and the end result is that we are not able to meet our kids,” Kode said.
In the west, Kode said, access of the father to the child is not denied. “The application is heard fast but in India a lot of time is taken, thereby denying the child the right to see both parents. It is like begging before the court to see your child,” he said.
Kode on Thursday made a plea before the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights to sensitise Indian judiciary regarding court cases involving children on behalf of 12 NRI fathers. Three of them are from Delhi, two from Chennai, two from Bangalore and one from Orissa.
Sandhya Bajaj, member of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, said the panel would write to Chief Justice of the high courts. “For a child, both the parents are important. The law cannot favour one parent. Access to fathers should be provided within the limited time frame,” she said.
Kode, whose wife left with their son in October 2006, said the group is only asking for access to father to meet the child. “The child needs both the parents. We don’t want to take the kids away from the mother,” he said. The NRI fathers have also pleaded that marital discord does not mean that the person would turn out to be a bad father.