Child has right to love and affection of both parents

Child has right to love and affection of both parents

Himanshu Chordia Vs Arushi Jain

Supreme Court

20/05/2022

Petition(s) for Special Leave to Appeal (C) No(s). 19072/2021

About/from the judgment:

The Supreme Court recently reiterated that a child has the right to love and affection of both parents and to have access to both their parents.

The Court noted that children are happiest when they have both their parents.

"We have no doubt that the child needs both parents and the child would be equally happy, if not happier, in the company of the mother as well. The child would perhaps be happiest if he could have both his parents. Unfortunately, the parents are unable to resolve their differences and stay together. Be that as it may, the child has a right to access both parents, and get the love and affection of both parents. Whatever be the differences between the spouses, the child cannot be denied company of his father" the Court said.

The Court was hearing an appeal filed by a father against a decision of the Rajasthan High Court rejecting a plea for interim custody of his minor son.

A family court had in July 2021 rejected the father's plea, which was upheld by the Rajasthan High Court on October 28, 2021.

The plea was declined having regard to the Covid-19 pandemic situation that was prevailing then.

This led to the present appeal before the Supreme Court.

By an order dated March 4, 2022, the top court referred the parties to the Supreme Court Mediation Centre. The Court also permitted the petitioner to go to Udaipur during the Holi holidays and stay in a hotel. On the day of Holi, he was permitted to take the child out for a few hours in the afternoon, and then return the child to his mother after dinner.

The Court also directed that, if the child was agreeable, the petitioner might spend the week end, i.e., March 19 and 20, 2022, with the child, and return the child to the respondent-mother by the evening of March 20, 2022. Pursuant to that, the petitioner took the child out, and also spent two days with the child.

When the matter came up for hearing on May 20, the petitioner relied on some photographs to show that the child was happy in his company.

Counsel for the respondent-mother also submitted that similar photographs can be produced by the respondent.

The Court observed that the child needs care of both parents but unfortunately, the parents are unable to resolve their differences and stay together

The Bench allowed the petitioner-father to meet and spend time with the child on their birthday, as well as visitation rights during the summer vacation provided the child is agreeable to the same.

"No pressure should be put on the child. As the COVID-19 situation in the country has improved and life has more or less normalised, the parties may in future approach the Family Court concerned for requisite directions with regard to custody of/access to the child," the Court added.

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