HC grants temporary access of minor boy to separated mother

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Mumbai, Jan 3: A child should never be used as a pawn in a matrimonial dispute between the parents, and should be shielded from legal battle, the Bombay High Court observed while granting temporary access of a 12-year-old boy to his mother.

Justice Gautam Patel was hearing a petition filed by the boy's father challenging an order dated December 24, 2013 passed by the family court, granting temporary access of the boy to his mother. The 12-year-old boy's parents have been separated since 2010.

Since the separation, the boy has been living with his father in Lucknow while the mother moved to Mumbai. The son has been talking with his mother for a few minutes everyday over Skype video calling on the internet.

The High Court refused to interfere with the family court's order and granted the mother temporary access of the son from January 4 to January 12, 2014. "A child should never be allowed to become a pawn in a legal battle between his parents. If anything, the child should be carefully sequestered and kept away from exposure to the bitterness and hostilities between the adults in these litigations," Justice Patel said.

"Child is caught in the middle of a long, chequered, and truly unfortunate dispute between his parents. What lies at the heart of this dispute is this, and only this: the interest and welfare of the minor. This must at all times be held paramount," the High Court said.

The court further observed that a child must develop personal relations with both parents. "How is this to be achieved, except by a process of close interaction, on a regular basis? A few moments stolen from each day for a video call over the Internet are a poor substitute for a personal interaction. I very seriously doubt that they can ever lead to the fostering and growth of a mother-child bond of the value, profundity and depth that is the prerogative of every child everywhere," Justice Patel said.


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