Delhi High Court has stayed a Family Court’s order granting visitation rights to a putative father while noting that competing rights of parents are subservient to the interest of the child. The family court has granted 2 hours visitation rights of a 2½ year old girl child to the putative father.
“The order ultimately passed requires the minor child of 2½ years to be moved out of the residence and be taken by the respondent for a period of 2 hours on a daily basis. The Principal Judge has clearly failed to weigh or consider the disruptive and deleterious impact that this may have,” noted Justice Yashwant Varma.
Justice Varma added, “It is apparent that the court proceeded on the incorrect path of seeking to consider and evaluate the competing rights of parents to be accorded custody and/or granted rights of visitation. The above claims which are raised by competing parents must necessarily be recognized as being subservient to the interest of the child which has always and consistently been recognized as being paramount.”
The mother of the child has raised an objection against the Family court’s order permitting the putative father to take the child out of her care from 6 pm to 8pm everyday. The Family court had given the verdict considering the fact that both of them live in the same building.
The petitioner-mother had approached the High Court submitting that the respondent is not living there since many months. She also submitted that the respondent is now taking the 2 year old girl child to various unknown and undisclosed locations on the strength of the impugned order which is creating havoc on the schedule of the minor child.
The putative father is not akin to a biological father under the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956 and that the routine of the mother and the child cannot be subjected to such a strict, onerous, and unreasonable regime.
The mother of the child had submitted her contention before the Family Court that since the respondent-father has denied the marriage, therefore the child is illegitimate and according to Section 6 of the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956 he is not entitled for the custody of the child and therefore, visitation rights also cannot be granted to the respondent.
However, the respondent submitted that though no valid marriage between him and the petitioner took place, he is not denying the paternity. In the application, he had admitted that the child belongs to him.
The bench has listed the matter for hearing on January 7, 2022. “Till the next date of hearing, there shall be stay of the order dated 28th October, 2021,” said the High Court bench.