Less than a month after the Bandra family court directed a Mumbai couple to share the custody of their minor child equally, the Bombay high court stayed the order, saying it needs "more deliberation."
The family court, in line with the recommendations of the law commission, had set out a parenting plan for the estranged couple and granted both parents six months each with their daughter.
"After listening to both sides, it appears the issue requires more consideration and hence, the family court order is stayed. The mother is granted an interim access of four days," said justice Mridula Bhatkar.
The stay followed an appeal filed by the father of the six-year-old child. The man, a doctor who lives in Chembur, had pleaded that the family court's order was "hasty and erroneous."
The couple has been living separately since February this year, and the child lives with her father and her paternal grandparents. Before its order, the family court had her interviewed by its counsellors, who submitted she was attached to both her parents. The court then ordered that the child would stay with her mother between July 1 and December 31 each year and with the father for the rest of the six months.
The father pleaded in the HC that the family court failed to consider his consent and the child's welfare in its May 27 order, which came after both parties submitted their suggestions on the parenting plan. The man claimed the court was guided solely by the mother's suggestions. He said the order would result in dislocating their daughter every six months. "It would also impede her schooling and cause her emotional strain," he said in his plea.
His advocate said while they are not against the concept of a parenting plan, the family court was mistaken in holding that merely because both parties submitted a plan, they indirectly consented for shared parenting.
The wife's counsel denied this. "The parenting plan was set out because the court felt the child required the love and attention of both her parents," she said.
The matter is likely to be heard next on July 2.