In the run-up to Father's Day, the All India Men's Welfare Association (AIMWA), Hyderabad, has called for a nationwide boycott of the family courts on Friday as a sign of protest against the poor performance of family courts in India.

The agitation — being organised by groups in Hyderabad, Lucknow, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore — is aimed at creating awareness of what they allege is the discrimination against fathers in custody cases.

Boycotting courts

Said P. Suresh, president, National Family Harmony Society (NFHS): “We want to boycott the courts to protest against the injustice done to fathers on a regular basis. Most divorce cases are prolonged, and judgments delivered years later.”

Speaking of his own situation, Mr. Suresh said his case, which began in 2006, hasn't reached the cross examination stage even after four years.

“I'm allowed to see my child every alternate Saturday for two hours: this is not a meaningful relationship with your child,” he said.

Child custody

The AIMWA and the NFHS and other organisations across the country are also submitting a petition to amend the procedure by which child custody cases are dealt with in family courts and members will not pay maintenance till their demands are met.

When asked to elaborate, Mr. Suresh said: “We will pay all expenses — including school fees and books — but we won't pay child support as this is a monetary provision that is consistently misused.”

Fast track courts

The NFHS is demanding that fast track courts be instituted to deal with custody cases, that a separate Divisional Bench be set up in the High Courts and Supreme Court to address appeals on custody matters, that the shared parenting concept be incorporated in judgments, and counsellors appointed in all child custody matters.