Karnataka HC's decision to grant joint custody of adolescent hailed by activists
Payal Gwalani, TNN | Oct 1, 2013, 12.11 AM IST
NAGPUR: While giving joint custody of kids to separated parents is a norm in most countries, India only has a few such examples. Karnataka high court asked a divorced couple to take custody of their 12-year-old son for six months each, the first time this has happened in the state. The decision, taken earlier this month by a divisional bench consisting of Justices NK Patil and B Manohar, is being hailed as a landmark judgment by activists working towards the shared parenting movement in India.
Both the parents were given visitation rights during the weekends. The expenses towards the child's education and other needs also have to equally shared by both the parents. While making the judgment, the jury noted that in his age, the child needs the love and care of his mother as well as the guidance of his father. The jury also said that the boy can take his own decision about whom to stay with once he attains adulthood.
"It is a very practical and appreciable decision. This judgment will go a long way in solving thousands of cases in our family courts all over the country," said Kumar Jahgirdar, president of Bengaluru-based NGO Children's Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP).
He also suggested that a counseling session in the mediation centre of family courts be made compulsory for explaining the advantages of shared parenting and how it benefits children. Before the decree of divorce is allowed to the couples, the issue of shared parenting must be made mandatory, he added. CRISP has also demanded the creation of a separate Union Ministry for Children and to de-link the same from the present Women and Child Development (WCD) ministry, since their objectives are different.
Rosini Periaria, founder of NGO Voice of Women, also supports the cause of shared parenting. She suggests that interviews of children, especially when they are of tender age and in a hostile environment, must be banned. "Documents like passports, school admission forms, bank accounts details, medical reports etc should be always with the consent and signature of both biological parents," she said.
CRISP also believes that due consideration should be given to both sets of grandparents to have equal access to their grandchild.
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