A 10-year-old boy has filed a petition against his father in a Pune court under the Protection to Women from Domestic Violence Act, making it perhaps the first instance a male has used this legislation since it was enacted in 2005.
The boy has alleged in the landmark petition that his father, who is divorced from his mother, is not bearing his educational expenses. The next hearing is to be held on Monday.
It was a myth that only girls or women could take shelter under PWDVA when seeking justice on any domestic matters, said lawyer and human rights activist Assem Sarode, who is representing the boy, Chinmay (name changed).
“Section 2 of PWDVA specifically mentions the word child, which is used in a (gender) neutral way,” he said, explaining that any person below the age of 18—including stepchildren, adopted or foster children of any gender could take recourse to the legislation.
Chinmay’s parents, according to the petition, were married in July 1999 and their son was born the next year. The couple got a divorce in May 2005.
The court granted Chinmay’s permanent custody to his mother, while the father was allowed to meet him. He was also asked to pay Rs 500 per month for his son’s education. But he has not kept his word, Chinmay has alleged. He also said that paternal negligence caused emotional and psychological trauma.
Chinmay said that he feels rejected and depressed because of insufficient support from his father. He also requested that since his mother has been taking care of his education until now, it was time his father pitched in.