HC modifies family court order on man meeting 16-year-old son

Judges consider the hurt father’s words caused at last meeting

The Bombay High Court recently modified a family court order that made it mandatory for a 16-year-old boy to meet his father following a traumatising experience in the last meeting.

A Division Bench of Justices Akil Kureshi and Sarang Kotwal was hearing an application filed by the mother. She sought to stay an order passed by the family court that allowed her former husband to meet their son every Saturday in the court’s children’s complex.

On March 3, the father met the teenager and insisted on inspecting his bag. It is during this time that the father uttered words that “deeply hurt” his son. His mother has said in the application that her ex-husband passed some discouraging remarks regarding their son’s academic progress and intelligence, due to which the child was demoralised. She said the words deeply hurt him and he refused to meet his father thereafter.

The father, however, said he is concerned about his son’s welfare and wants him to attain his full potential in school and extra-curricular activities. He said he had observed a sudden change in his son’s behaviour and therefore became apprehensive. He thought his ex-wife may have inserted a recording device in his bag. He also said his son happily showed the bag and was not bitter as described by his ex-wife.

The judges interviewed the teenager in their chamber and said, “We found that the child was quite intelligent. He had brought various certificates earned by him in different subjects. He is being educated in a reputed school. We found him to be mature enough to understand the situation and form his own opinion.”

The judges also found him to be sensitive. “During our interaction, he clearly expressed his strong displeasure about the events that took place on the last occasion. He has developed a strong unwillingness to meet his father and has repeatedly requested us not to force him to meet him.” The court said it was giving “prime importance to the welfare of the child and his desire”.

Cooling-off period

It is necessary to allow some time to pass as a ‘cooling-off period’ before the father is allowed to meet the child, and it will be detrimental to the child if he is forced to meet the father against his wish in the immediate future, the court said.

“Such a period of denial of access will help the boy to get over his hurt and resentment.” This in turn will also be in the father’s interest as he will be in a better position to interact with his son when the hurt is diluted to some extent, the court said.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 11:18:21 AM |

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