When a child does not speak to the father due to a strained relationship between the parents, despite staying under the same roof, it is an undesirable state of affairs, the Bombay high court observed.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Prakash Shah (name changed), a senior vice-president of a multi-national bank, seeking access to his 11-year-old daughter. Prakash stays in the same house with his wife, Anjali.
Noting that the mother had refused to allow her child even to speak to the father, justice Roshan Dalvi said: “Children of such strained relationships are tutored and even indoctrinated into refusal and self-denial”.
“This is one stark case of a child being made an unfortunate victim of a bitter family dispute,” the court said.
Deeming it fit to unite the two, the child was called to the judge’s chamber. However, she again refused to speak to her father. In fact, the girl “parrot-like repeated the incidents which the mother herself had stated to the court”.
“Despite the court's initial attempt to help the child see reason in the pristine relationship of a father and child, she only showed vengeance and revenge for the incidents, which are stated to have transpired,” Dalvi said.
The child even refused to answer questions of the court and to hear what the father may want to say, the court observed.
“The child is obviously tutored and advised into refusal,” Dalvi held.
“It appears that she has been instructed to refuse to do whatever the court requested on the premise that it was her desire. The entire exercise is misconceived and ill-advised,” the judge added.
Even though Anjali was opposed to it, the court directed the girl attend sessions with a child counsellor at the family court in the city.
“It would be impossible for the court to go any further in making the child see reason in the face of total and complete denial and disobedience of entreaties of the court,” Dalvi said.
A report has been sought before the next hearing on January 8.