Mumbai: Court asks entire family to seek counselling

  • Charul Shah, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Apr 11, 2015 21:23 IST

A couple has been asked to consult a psychologist together with their nine-year-old son, after the family court noted the child was traumatised and was failing to recognise his mother or father.

The child believes his mother to be his sister, and refers to his maternal grandfather as his father. The matter came to light when the court consulted the child’s counsellor, as part of a custody battle between the estranged couple.

The parents received a divorce through mutual consent in 2006. The father had then agreed to give permanent custody of the boy to his former wife. However, later, the woman gave the child in adoption to her father.

The man challenged the adoption, alleging a fraud. The case was contested in the Supreme Court, which dismissed the father’s claim. After the court battle, in 2012, the father approached the family court seeking access to his son.

“This is a case where the biological father wants access to the child. The petitioner remained a stranger to child for years,” the court said. “It is clearly not known whether the child understands that he was adopted by his grandfather and that the petitioner is his father. In such a situation, it would be traumatic for the child to be forced into meeting his biological father all of a sudden.”

The court directed the family members to send the child for counselling. “It [sudden meeting] will affect his psyche, and compel him to compare his grandfather and father, who are now in the role of father and stranger respectively. A child of nine years may not sustain this stress. Therefore, it is not advisable to grant access at this stage. The access can be granted in a phase-wise manner, as suggested by the child’s counsellor.”

The court also asked the parents to undergo psychiatric counselling, ‘to prepare their minds to reallocate roles to themselves with reference to the child.’

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