Kids bear brunt of divorce
February 3rd, 2011
Court orders tests on Vanitha son
Feb. 2: Playing a proactive role in a child custody case, the Madras High Court on Wednesday directed actress Vanitha’s former husband Akash to take their son Vijay Sri Hari to a doctor at Government Children’s Hospital, Egmore, to determine if the child has any deep-rooted problems or is acting under external influences.
Posting to February 15 further hearing of a petition filed by Akash seeking custody of his son, Justice V. Ramasubramanian directed him to take his son to Dr V. Jayanthini on or before February 6 for an examination. After the assessment, the doctor will send her report to the Registrar General of the court on or before February 14.
“Akash and Vanitha should not cause any kind of interference with the process and if the specialists direct, they must subject themselves to examination. Till a report is filed, they are directed to maintain status quo and not to precipitate matters,” the judge added.
“The case has posed the greatest challenge that I have ever encountered in a child custody case,” the judge said. “For once I found myself at my wit’s end on how to deal with a nine-year old boy.”
“The total aversion he now exhibits towards his biological mother could be the result of either of two extreme situations,” he added. “Either the child suffered some kind of abuse (not in the sense that we normally understand the term child abuse, but in a broader sense) when he was with his biological mother and stepfather or his biological father tutored the child so well that he is refusing to go with his mother.”
“Truth appears to be the worst casualty these days in all family disputes and it appears to lie somewhere between two extremes,” the judge observed.
“To find out where it lies, to the extent that it is humanly possible, I am of the view that the child could be subjected to an assessment by an expert in the field. The object is to help the child overcome the internal struggle and trauma that he has been undergoing for the past few months.”
Victims of tug-of-war
Feb. 1: While growing up in the middle of a bad marriage is trauma, living through a divorce battle is worse for children, especially in a country where the laws are insensitive, say members of the NGO Children’s Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP).
“Inter-parental child abduction is considered a crime in many of the countries that have signed the Hague Convention of Child Abduction. But, India is not a signatory to the convention and, hence, has become a haven for parents who turn into child abductors,” says Mr Suresh Ram of CRISP.
Most child custody battles that have are splashed in the media have clearly exposed the inadequacy of the system that prevails in India in preventing child abduction.
“Our judiciary is already overburdened. We are of the strong view that child custody cases should be handled by a separate jury under the National Commission for Child Welfare (NCCW) so that such cases are dealt with sensitivity and are disposed of speedily,” CRISP members said.
The first-of-its-kind organisation was formed by Mr Kumar Jahagirdar, who has a decades-long custody battle with his former wife Chetana, who later married cricketer Anil Kumble. “CRISP was started to voice the concerns of the child who is the ultimate sufferer. Today, we have 30,000 members and receive hundreds of calls from across the country every week,” Mr Jahagirdar says.
“Our agenda is clear. We are only for shared parenting of the child and strongly believe that both biological parents should play an equal role in the growth of the child.” But, they claim that most cases that go to court receive one-sided verdicts. “Even that verdict does not get honoured. At least, parents should abide by the law and refrain from abducting their own children,” CRISP members said.