The Bombay High Court last week ordered the Mumbai police to ensure that a man is allowed to meet his minor son on the occasion of Diwali. The HC has ordered the man’s wife to drop the son at her estranged husband’s house, failing which the police would step in.
The HC was hearing a plea filed by the husband seeking implementation of a family court order, confirmed by the Supreme Court, to grant custody of their four-year-old son to him at least thrice a week.
The couple had agreed to a shared custody, wherein their son would be with either parent for three and a half days a week. However, the wife didn’t allow the husband to meet the son despite repeated orders.
Noting the same, a bench of Justices Amjad Sayed and Shivkumar Dige said, “We have been very slow in our approach and counselled the wife and have made all possible efforts to convince her to make a start by giving exclusive access/custody of the child to the husband for at least three-four hours in the day, notwithstanding our earlier orders granting even overnight access/custody.”
The judges said that the wife, however, has been adamant. “The only reason given by her for not complying with the orders is that the husband would ‘run away’ with the son,” the bench said, adding that prima facie this reason is merely a ruse to somehow not give the husband even limited exclusive access/custody.
The bench noted that the husband did not ‘run away’ with the son when he enjoyed shared custody and the fact that his passport has been deposited in the HC. “We are of the prima facie view that the son is being used by the wife to get back at the husband in some way by denying him the love and affection of the child,” the bench led by Justice Sayed said, adding that this could hamper the child’s overall growth and development.
The judges, accordingly, ordered the wife to drop the son by 2 pm on November 4 at her husband’s house and to pick him up back by 6 pm in the evening. “If the wife does not comply with these directions, a senior inspector along with a lady police personnel would visit the wife’s house and implement the same. “We make it clear that no force shall be used to implement these directions of the court,” the bench said.
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