Bangalore : 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.
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. Fathers are running from pillar to post around the courts seeking relief and justice, however, with no one listening many of them even take the extreme step of committing suicide.
The conservative nature of the Indian society has always endorsed the mother to be a better parent – someone who can make best decisions in the interest of the child. However, with the feminists demanding Fathers to play larger roles in raising children like changing diapers, getting them ready to school etc. and modern day Fathers supporting their cause, they have become indispensable for a child.
While the Fathers have gleefully accepted this change for good, the entire contrivance goes for a toss whenever there is a divorce or separation and women start exploiting conservatism to their gain to obtain complete authority over the child by playing the victim card. They are further supported by the judiciary which is still running as per 16th century traditional school of thoughts and considers Father to be just a ‘Financial Provider’ for the child. It is a perfect example of how women are manipulating the system for their own selfish good and how men continue to be at the receiving end
Depriving Father’s love to a child is also a matter of child abuse. The feeling of incompleteness of family develops inherent insecurity in children as a result of which they develop complex personality imbalances and the result is already present before us in the form of statistics from the United States. Due to a large number of fatherless children there, studies have shown that such children are:
- 5 times more likely to commit suicide.
- 32 times more likely to run away from home.
- 20 times more likely to have behavioural disorders.
- 14 times more likely to commit rape.
- 9 times more likely to drop out of high school.
- 10 times more likely to abuse chemical substances (become drug addicts).
- 9 times more likely to end up in a state-operated institution.
- 20 times more likely to end up in prison.
- 3 million teenage girls have sexually transmitted diseases
- At least 1 out of 4 teenagers (between 14years to 19years) suffers from sexually transmitted diseases
It is up to the civil society, the media and the government to decide whether they want a similar situation in India or they want to take a cue from the mistakes of other societies and take steps to avoid it.
One of the positive steps towards this is to understand and emphasize the need for joint custody/shared parenting so that the catastrophic effects of parental divorce/separation are minimized if not trivialized and not only the Father but the paternal grandparents of the children can also enjoy the company of their grandchildren.
Save Indian Family Foundation – Fathers’ Rights Wing (SIFF-FRW) is part of Save Indian Family Foundation. SIFF-FRW recognizes the serious effects of “parental alienation” on children due to single parent families on account of divorce or separation.
- SIFF-FRW works to create awareness in the society about father’s rights.
- Thousands of aggrieved fathers approach SIFF-FRW every year which reflects the despicable state of Indian fathers.
- Rights of Indian fathers are trampled under cute names like “best interest of child” which actually translate to “best interest of mother”.
- Even while there could be some cases where the courts have granted visitation to fathers, yet mothers refuse to respect the orders and do not allow the father to meet the child. Such errant, cruel and insensitive mothers go unpunished in an anti-father gynocentric family court system.
- Apart from the family court system, fathers are also subjected to systematic bias within the society as well. Most often abusive women play upon the fatherly feelings of a man and alienate him from his children. Many men are threatened with false dowry and false domestic violence cases if they try to get close to the children.
- Nowadays, many disgruntled women are also framing fathers in false rape, molestation and sexual abuse cases of their own children. These attacks on fathers are dastardly acts and many men break down due to such abuse resulting in suicides and sometimes murders (of women) followed by suicides.
- Fathers are routinely treated as SPERM DONORS and ATM MACHINES and any other attempt by the father to get involved in the life of his kids results in emotional and sometimes physical abuse of the father. Many fathers are also threatened with kidnapping cases if they try to meet their children. In fact, there are many such fathers who have approached SIFF-FRW for help and guidance when they have been framed in the kidnapping cases for their own kids.
- There are instances wherein fathers are told to write-off property in wife or child’s name as a precondition to spend quality time with their children.
- In most of the cases, the grandparents of the child from the paternal side are deprived of the bonding with their grandchildren and they cannot spend time with their own grandchildren for the fear of further abuse of their son.
- Such gross injustice against fathers is a clear reflection of the lack of father’s rights in the society. Hence, SIFF-FRW seeks to create awareness in the society about father’s rights and educate the society about the paramount importance of fathers and a sustainable parent-child relationship with fathers.
SIFF-FRW had also approached His Excellency, The Honorable Governor of Karnataka in order to raise the issue of high-handedness and insensitivity of the judges of family court when it comes to matters of child custody and visitation to fathers. However, their woes falling on deaf ears, aggrieved fathers have decided to come down to streets with a cry of “Enough is Enough” under the umbrella of SIFF-FRW.
In order to mark protest against the 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.