Tripura High Court Advocates for Enhanced Visitation Rights of parent in Custody Matters

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Published on: October 22, 2023 at 11:02 IST

The Tripura High Court recently emphasized that parents should not be treated as mere guests in their children’s lives. The court highlighted the importance of extending visitation rights beyond limited hours and encouraged overnight custody arrangements in custody matters. These observations were made by Justice T. Amarnath Goud.

The court expressed concern that a considerable gap between parents and their child could weaken the parent-child bond and leave the child in a state of confusion.

It stressed that actions by one parent that separate a child from the other parent should be prevented, as such actions can relegate the separated parent to the status of a “guest” in the child’s life.

These observations came in the context of a Section 482 CrPC plea filed by a father, Rakesh Chandra Saha, and paternal grandparents challenging an order granting interim custody of a 6-year-old girl to her mother. The order had been issued by the Additional Sessions Judge, Gomati Judicial District, Udaipur, under the Domestic Violence Act.

The petitioners argued that the court had not considered the material provided to grant them temporary custody of the child. They also questioned how the child’s custody would be better taken care of by the mother, who had no source of income for her own maintenance and had shown little concern for the child.

The court, while emphasizing the paramount consideration of the child’s welfare in custody matters, noted that the views of both spouses should be considered. It stressed that children, especially young ones, need the love, affection, and protection of both parents.

The court underlined that the parents’ conflicts should not result in the child being deprived of care, affection, love, or protection from one of the parents.

In the context of visitation rights in custody disputes, the court stated that when parents live in the same area, the non-custodial parent is typically granted visitation rights over weekends. However, in cases where parents live at a distance from each other, long weekends, breaks, and holidays should be considered for visitation.

The court also highlighted the importance of “contact rights,” suggesting that non-custodial parents should have daily brief conversations with their child to maintain their bond. This practice can help the child transition between homes during vacations or holidays, providing the child with the benefit of two loving homes.

In conclusion, the court modified the lower court’s order and granted shared custody of the child to both parents, with specific arrangements for weekdays, weekends, holidays, and birthdays. The court stressed that no parent should be treated as a mere guest in their child’s life.

Case title: RCS vs. PDS

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