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Bombay High Court- Absent dad can’t get access to child

 

By Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Jan 21, 2013, 03.59 AM IST

MUMBAI: A who is absent cannot get the same rights as a who
is available, said theBombay high court even as it recalled its order
allowing a man electronic access to his 12-year-old son.

On January 11, Justice Roshan Dalvi reviewed and set aside her October 2012
order allowing access to the child through video conference. The judge
noted that despite the video conference arrangement, the father remained
absent. Further, his whereabouts are not known except that he lives in the
Middle East. Justice Dalvi said he does not attend court, conducts
litigation through his constituted attorney and has not given his personal
address. “The father who refuses to show his presence cannot get the same
rights as a father who presents himself,” she said.

The couple married in September 1991. Their son was born in November 2000.
Subsequently, the man abandoned his wife and in Saudi Arabia. In
August 2009, the husband filed for divorce through his constituted attorney
before the Pune family court. His application that his mother and
constituted attorney get access to the child was rejected by the FC in
March 2012.

On October 15, 2012, Justice Dalvi said access can be granted only to the
father who is the legal guardian and none other. She then directed that the
child will communicate with his father through video conference. Since the
Pune FC did not have video conference facility, it was arranged at the HC
on December 7, 2012. On that day, Justice Dalvi was informed that the
father’s advocate was absent as a relative was in hospital. The judge said
even if the advocate was absent, the father could have been told to remain
present at the video conference. His Skype identity was also not provided.
The wife’s advocate Flavia Agnes said the entire exercise was to harass the
wife and child who live in .

She said the father has been abusive towards the child who is medically
fragile. “The wife’s contention that the exercise was only for the
harassment of the child is seen to be correct,” said Justice Dalvi. She
said the husband failed to avail of the opportunity granted by the court
and his conduct has proved his wife’s contention.

“The prejudice in respect of the access by video conference is seen from
the fact that it is too cumbersome to afford the father the luxury and
facility of electronic access when he is not available for personal access
and has not claimed any such access in the light of the fact that for an
unjustifiable excuse, the father remained absent and the child was made to
undergo the agony,” concluded Justice Dalvi.

 

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