Bengaluru: Madhu Sundar applied for custody of his 8 year old daughter in 2011 after his wife separated from him due to a marital conflict. During the last 4 years, he has met his daughter just two times for not more than 10 minutes each and still hasn’t got any hearing from the family court in his visitation petition despite paying Rs. 7000/- per month towards maintenance diligently.
Niranjan (name changed) from Chennai filed a similar petition 1 year back, however no order has been passed till date to allow him visitation for his 5 year old daughter despite paying Rs. 15000/- per month as her maintenance.
According to, Save Indian Family Foundation – Fathers’ Rights Wing (SIFF-FRW), ‘there are numerous such stories where separated fathers are made to pay hefty maintenance amounts for their children without being able to see or meet them, thanks to the indifferent attitude of Indian judiciary towards fathers in case of matrimonial disputes.’
In order to mark protest against this ‘injustice meted out to Fathers’, the members of SIFF-FRW had sent a memorandum to the Governor of Karnataka State requesting to direct judiciary to grant immediate visitation rights to Fathers in all matrimonial cases (wherever applicable) by March 2nd 2015, failing which SIFF-FRW will call for a ‘Hunger Strike’ at Freedom Park in Bangalore on 7th & 8th Mar’15. As the deadline for the same has lapsed, members of SIFF-FRW have decided to sit in Hunger Strike for two days with the below demands:
- Visitation Orders: Fathers should be given Child Visitation orders in all matrimonial cases within 15 days of the petition.
- Maintenance: Courts must immediately deny maintenance/alimony to any woman who opposes or indirectly attempts to prevent her separated husband from accessing and parenting the children and also to working/highly educated mothers.
- Contempt Proceedings: Courts must initiate contempt proceedings suo-motu against those mothers who do not respect visitation orders.
- Child Abuse: Children must not be allowed to be used as pawns in custody disputes.
- Child Exploitation: Children must not be allowed to be used as money earning tools by women in custody disputes.
- Grandparents: Under no circumstances the grandparents of the child must be denied access to the children.
- Research: must allocate funds for conducting research on the adverse impacts on fatherless children.
- Counselling to Single Mothers: Single mothers should be given mandatory counselling to increase involvement of biological Father in children’s lives
- Shared Parenting: Reforms in the existing child visitation/custody laws – ‘Shared parenting’ must be the default arrangement if case of separation or divorce between spouses.
- Technology: Fathers’ use of technology like Skype and video conferencing to get in touch with children should not be curtailed by judiciary.