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Child custody: High court to consider counsellors PDF Print E-mail
(1 Vote)
Written by Rosy Sequeira   

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Tuesday said it will consider a suggestion for evaluation of a child by a trained counsellor before granting custody in matrimonial disputes.

The suggestion was made to a division bench of Justices P B Majmudar and Anoop Mohta by advocate Meena Doshi. She said the practice of calling children to the judges' chamber to ascertain their wish is insufficient.

Doshi said a trained counsellor can consider a child's willingness or not to go with either parent. "Have trained child counsellors find out the psychological makeup of the child before granting custody. That element cannot be considered by judges, as they are not experts," Doshi said. She said the court can consider taking the help of trained counsellors from institutes such as Tata Institute of Social Sciences. The judges welcomed her suggestion and said they will consider it in future. "We'll keep it in mind," said Justice Majmudar.

Doshi, who said she usually doesn't appear in matrimonial cases, made the suggestion in a case where the mother of a teenager was opposing his father who wanted to take him for vacation. The family court had granted the wife a divorce last year and allowed husband access to their son once a week. The husband appealed in high court against the order and after it was filed, the father was allowed overnight access.

The wife's advocate argued that the boy does not want to go with his father. She also alleged that in his earlier marriage, he has a daughter but is not bothered about her.

"Nowadays everyone wants boys. Even TV serials are showing this discrimination," said Justice Majmudar. The boy, who had accompanied his mother, was called before the entire courtroom. The judges then decided to ask him in their chamber if he is willing to go with his father. After interviewing him, they allowed the father to take him outside Mumbai from May 14 to 21. The wife also gave her consent.

 



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