While upholding the Family Court order, Karnataka High Court noted that the visitation rights of the father can’t be taken away merely because he has remarried after divorce and bears another child.
The High Court bench comprising Justice Alok Aradhe and Justice Vijaykumar A. Patil, “The assertion of the appellant is that the respondent has married twice after getting divorce from the appellant and his second wife has a child out of her earlier wedlock and son is in custody of the respondent, the grant of any visitation rights would affect the health, well being of the minor daughter. The apprehension of the appellant has been taken care of by the Family Court, keeping in mind that the minor child being the female child of the appellant and respondent, the permanent custody is given to the appellant-mother.”
The bench added, “The Family Court has recorded a finding that the respondent cannot be declared as a natural guardian of the female child, however, the respondent being the father of the child, the child needs love, care and affection of the father, hence, proceeded to grant visitation rights as well as permitted the respondent to take the minor daughter to his residence during the vacations.”
The woman argued that her ex-husband, the respondent, has never visited their daughter at her residence nor provided any financial support for the child’s welfare and education. She further stated that she is solely responsible for their daughter’s education and care. Additionally, as their daughter is a school-going child, there is limited availability for the respondent to meet her, and the visitation rights granted to him are against the daughter’s wishes.
The judges observed that the Family Court had given a clear instruction to the respondent, stating that he must ensure the safety of the minor child when exercising his visitation rights. Furthermore, during any vacations when the child is in his custody, the respondent is not permitted to leave the child in the care of anyone else at any moment.
“The Family Court while granting the visitation rights has kept in mind the welfare and wellbeing of the minor daughter, there is no error in the said finding calling for interference in the present appeal,” the bench added.
Nevertheless, the court revised the order with respect to the duration of visitation and mandated that the father must be accompanied by the daughter’s elder brother when taking custody of the child. Additionally, the court directed the father to transfer the expenses and educational fees for the daughter directly to the appellant’s account.