In June this year, Bombay High Court ordered a woman to allow visitation access of her two children to her estranged husband. As per court order the woman should permit them to meet him through video calls during the lockdown.
The matter was addressed when the man filed a contempt petition alleging that his ex-wife was refusing him (the father) visitation rights of their two children, aged 5 and 2 years, even after the magistrate’s court ordered her to do so.
The man had to file subsequent petition because he was denied visitation previously on one basis or another. This was prior to the lockdown. However, after the restrictions were imposed during COVID, he was once again refused visitation on the excuse of the pandemic.
The man had to this approach court to almost plead to be allowed to meet his children through video conferencing.
The contempt petition was filed by a Pune-based man, in which the bench of Justice SC Gupte heard an interim application, that was presented by his counsel advocate Aditi Bhat. According to the matter, the wife was granted custody and was residing at her parents’ place along with couple’s two minor children.
The woman has been ordered by the judicial magistrate first class in the Pune Cantonment, that the man must get visitation rights twice a week for two hours each and three hours on festive days. Nevertheless, even after a proper court order, she denied visitation rights to the father on one pretext or the other.
The contempt petition was hence filed for not obeying the magistrate’s order.
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Advocate Bhat further herself submitted that as Pune city was gravely affected by Covid-19, so it was not possible for the man and his children to meet physically. However, they were only requesting the court to direct the woman to allow the father to meet with his children, at least virtually.
Bhawan Jayant, the wife’s advocate, while submitting her side, argued that the man was abusive and that the mother did not allow him to meet the children keeping in mind their safety.
After submissions from both sides, the court observed:
Be that as it may, it is a matter of fact that today there is an order of a competent court giving visitation rights to petitioner. It is also a matter of fact that due to the difficult situation prevailing in the state and particularly in Pune which is seriously affected by the present Covid-19 pandemic, physical access cannot be had as of now.
Lastly, the bench of Justice Gupte ordered the woman to allow the man to meet with his children twice a week through video internet/phone access and disposed of the interim application.
- There are several people in society who pass lose judgements on a separated father how he is the one who has failed in his duties or establishing contact with his children
- These are the same people who have never visited a family court to understand how despite court orders, men have to almost beg and run pillar to post for just seeing and speaking with their own children