Expressing concern over the welfare children in custody battles, the Bombay high court (HC) has cautioned couples in matrimonial disputes against using their children as ‘tools to get at each other’.
The high court said such parents must keep in mind that ‘wholesome development is every child’s birth right’ and ensure that children do not bear the brunt of their tussle.
“In bitterly contested custody petitions, including the case in question, several allegations and counter allegations are made by the parties against each other. Various other proceedings are also pending between the parties in various courts adding to the acrimony between them. It is unfortunate that their only child, who would be naturally entitled to love, affection and support from both the parents, is at the centre of such proceedings,” said justice RP SondurBaldota.
The court was hearing a plea filed by a woman against a family court order that had granted overnight and vacation access of her minor daughter to her ex-husband. She had alleged that her husband was an alcoholic and was insensitive towards the needs of the child.
However, the court rejected the woman’s plea stating that she had failed to establish her claims. It ruled that an examination of the man’s finances and his credit card bills had revealed he had only bought one bottle of wine in a year. This did not prove that he was an alcoholic. Besides, when the court went through the marriage counsellor’s reports and spoke to the child, it realised that she had been ‘tutored to say she did not wish to be with her father’.
“The daughter is fairly comfortable in the company of her father for a while, and if granted greater access, she will get further acquainted with her father. It is obvious from the allegations and counter-allegations that the daughter is being used as a tool by both sides to get at each other. There is no real concern for the child. They must keep in mind that wholesome development is the child’s birth right,” said justice SondurBaldota.