“ CRISP”, CHILD RIGHT INITIATIVE SHARED PARENTING a non-funded, non-profit registered charitable trust under the aegis of Save Indian Family Movement, dedicated to welfare of children, shared parenting, Women & Men’s Rights, Family Harmony and Gender Equality is submitting this memorandum on a eve before children dayNovember 14, 2011 for the cause and welfare of millions of children like “SHIVDAAT”, who are caught in matrimonial disputes as these children are deprived of love and affection of one parent (mostly fathers).
While most NGOs/Trusts pertaining to children deal with issues related to child labor, health, SANSAKAR Education etc whereas “CRISP Foundation” deals with issues related to unquestionable right of children to be cared for by both biological parents.
“CRISP Foundation” aims and objectives are based on research findings worldwide which indicate that children do best when both parents are actively involved in their lives, even after separation or divorce. “CRISP Foundation”believes that conflict between parents will be reduced and the mental and emotional health of children will be improved when divorcing parents can be assured of equal and meaningful contact with their children.
Hundreds of Fathers, their family members and several like minded people will be coming forward. We believe that the Children day is the best day to submit this memorandum to your kind authority as a true tribute to first prime minister of India who only once said that “One Father is better than 100 teachers”. The objective of this memorandum is to highlight the issues of children millions of like “SHIVDAAT”, who are caught in matrimonial disputes as they are suffering most as they are deprived of love and affection of one parent mostly fathers.
Neither these children are “Fatherless” nor their fathers are “Childless” and if they are not united it is because of misuse of skewed gender biased laws and delayed child custody matters and biased judicial process who considers fathers as a sperm donors and ATM machine.
Judicial and Law making machinery in our country is biased against fathers and does not recognize the need of children that a child needs love and affection of both parents in all circumstances.
Similar things started happening in and around 1960 in United States of America, where the number of American children without fathers in their lives has quadrupled, from 6 million to more than 24 million. Children without fathers in their lives are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime, nine times more likely to drop out of school, and 20 times more likely to end up in prison.
American statistics reports revels some more shocking facts about the children from fatherless homes are:
· 5 times more likely to commit suicide
· 32 times more likely to run away from home.
· 20 times more likely to have behavioral 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.
CRISP Foundation demands and appeals to intellectual judicial officers to save our country from becoming another America on such issues and save childhood of millions of children of like “SHIVDAAT”, who are caught in matrimonial dispute.
“Studies have proved now that children who go through their parents’ divorce have
· more conduct problems,
· symptoms of psychological maladjustment,
· lower academic achievement,
· Social difficulties and problematic relationships with both parents.
To make matters worse, many parents often influence their children to choose one parent over the other and this adds to their trauma.
On Children Day the demands of OURS ALL NGO are as follows:
1. Child custody issues to be disposed off within 6 months of the date of application, or at least visitation be granted to the non – custodian parent (fathers generally) in two hearings or three months whichever is earlier from the date of application and the granted visitation be of such nature so that it can build a sustainable parent – child relationship between the child (ren) and the non – custodian parent.
2. Judicial process must decide First Child Custody issues before allowing any other relief to any party. The Child shall not suffer in any case because he/she is a child.
3. Give due consideration to the presence of a father in a child’s upbringing not only as a name but also as the natural guardian and also give fathers a fair chance to win custody cases without any prejudice, Fathers are for life, not just for sperms and ATM machine operations.
4. Judicial process must enhance the role of child psychologists and panel of experts to clarify issues such as custody, finance, education and children’s upbringing before proceeding with the divorce/separation.
5. Child interviews should be conducted for complex cases only after the child has been allowed to spend nearly equal and quality time with both the parents and such interviews be limited to adolescents only and then too the interview be viewed as a guiding evidence only and not a primary one.
6. Children below the age of seven years should not be exposed to choice making between the parents as the process itself is cruelty to child (ren).
7. The “Parental Alienation” shall be considered as a serious crime and parents indulging in parental alienation shall not be given primary custody in any case as it brings in a lot mental distress to the child and the alienated parent. That “Parental alienation” occurs when one parent disallows the other parent from communicating with their children. The dominant parent then brainwashes the child against the other parent, assuring the child that it is all right to ignore the other parent.
8. Orientation programs for judges of family courts to be conducted by psychologists to sensitize them to child related issues,
9. The courts should have a liberal view on men accused of allegations under section 498a of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) while deciding their child custody cases. An allegedly bad husband need not be a bad father and as the father is the natural guardian of the child, the misfortune of the incompatibility between his / her parents should be prevented from tricking as an impediment into the child’s welfare. Moreover the misuse of 498a by women being a known fact coupled with its low conviction rate, the mere presence of the allegations under section 498a of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) should not act as a deterrent towards passing custody (interim or full) / visitation orders in favor of the fathers if the situation so warrants.
When Indian economy was opened for multinationals no body would have thought the divorce rate of the country will go up exponentially high with size of their pocket. As a result such children of divorcing/divorced parents are suffering most if caught in matrimonial disputes of parents.
Bhavya Foundation appeals to all interested parties to practice and propose joint custody in judicial processes for the best interest and welfare of child as we believe that when two parents are involved:
Child Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP), demands the following immediate Family Law reforms:
Grant immediate and equal (child) access to separated parents who are keen to take care of their children as a practice. Legislate law to make this mandatory.
Conduct compulsory counseling on SHARED PARENTING to educate parents of its benefits for the welfare of the child, before family courts grant the decree of divorce.
Punish people who misuse laws, particularly 498A (Dowry Act) and Domestic Violence Act as a tool to deprive the father & his family members of child access.
Set up special courts to deal with child custody cases and address problems faced by parents deprived of any visitation/joint custody as top priority.
All custody/ visitation cases should be disposed off, within 3 months of application in the family courts in the best interest of children.
Ban child interviews when the children are of tender age, which have not had adequate access with the non-custodial parent.
Parents who don’t follow court orders pertaining to children should be punished as per law and also declared unfit to be a guardian for the child.
CRISP urges a separate Union Ministry for Children and to de-link the same from the present Women and Child Development ministry, since the objectives are different.
Employ psychologists / child psychologists as Mediators in mediation centers & discourage lawyers acting as mediators.
Create a Family Court website and make available all the information on this (emulate the High Court example) the case list in the previous day.
AS THERE IS A ANIMAL WELFARE MINISTERY WHY NOT A CHILD WELFARE MINISTERY ?????? ALL JAILS IN INDIA IS OVER BURDERN AND IF GOVT IS NOT SERIOUSE THAN IN COMMEINGS DAYS THERE WILL ALSO SCARCITY OF SPACE IN GOVERNMENT JUVENILE HOME ACROSS INDIA ???
In light of the above facts and figures, the concept of Shared Parenting needs to be given paramount importance in Child custody matters and wherever possible the judges should emphasize on Shared Parenting or Joint Custody after working out the practical and logistical constraints.
We hope the above recommendations get urgent attention as it is in the best interest of child welfare. We also hope the above recommendations will be taken in the right and positive spirit and truth based justice shall prevail upon the children and their fundamental right to have meaningful and positive access to both the biological parents must be maintained.
Thanks and Regards
President Central India