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500 couples seek access to grandchildren PDF Print E-mail
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Written by DNA India   

NEW DELHI: This is one campaign that will touch many an emotional chord. Over 500 grandparents have launched a unique campaign seeking judicial access to their grandchildren, caught in a bitter custody battle between their warring parents.

Making an emotional plea that “divorce can be between wife and a husband, but not between grandparents and grandchildren. Children need love and care of grandparents too,” these grandparents are petitioning supreme court to issue guidelines to subordinate courts to keep bonding between children and grandparents in mind while determining child custody and visitation rights.

The grandparents have sought adequate visiting rights so that they too can spend time with grandchildren. They also want cases involving children to be disposed off faster .
“Grandparents often sacrifice their desires to meet the children since visitation rights are given very miserly. Besides, the visitation usually takes place in a court complex making it more difficult for an old grandparent,” said Niloy Dasgupta, a Delhi high court advocate.

“If their son and daughter-in-law or vice versa are not able to sustain their marriage, why should grandparents bear the brunt and be deprived of their right to spend quality time with their grandchildren? It is high time the judiciary took notice of the emotional bonding children have with their grandparents,” said Ekta Singh, an aggrieved grandmother and child psychologist.

“Going by the norm of custody battles, in 99% of cases, the child’s custody is given to the mother while fathers get meagre visitation rights. Custody battles drag on for years and no one actually thinks about the child’s right. Why should a child suffer in a fight between husband and wife,” said Kumar Jahgirdar, president of Children’s Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP), an NGO that is commandeering the cause of joint custody for children of warring couples.

Statistics show that on an average 40% of marriages in cities like Mumbai and Delhi end in bitter divorces. Where the warring couples have children, the litigants are caught in long drawn custody battle for the children.

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