NEW DELHI: Every child has a fundamental right to get the "love and affection" from both the parents engaged in a marital discord, the Delhi High Court has said while giving the father the right to meet his minor son.
"Depriving a child of the love and affection of both the parents is not in the interest of the child. The custodial parent who tries to alienate the child from the other parent does not realise the serious consequences caused in the later part of the child's life.
"It is the fundamental right of children to get the love and affection from both the parents. If efforts made by a court to make the parties mutually agree upon a visitation schedule and interim custody period fail, the court has to step in and pass suitable orders in the best interest of the child," a bench of Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Yogesh Khanna observed.
The court allowed the father, who lives in Kenya, to meet his minor son, living here with his mother, whenever he visits India.
The bench observed the issue of custody, including interim custody and visitation right of either parents to a child, has become a source of continuous litigation when the couple adopt hard postures.
"Often the innocent children are used as tools of vengeance by vindictive litigants who inflict severe emotional and psychological abuse on the child thereby seriously affecting the child in his/her later part of life," it said.
The court's observation came on a plea filed by the father who sought meeting right with his son and overnight custody, which was earlier curtailed by a judicial order.
Restoring the father's visitation right, the bench noted the kid was also not opposed to it and was happy to meet his father and paternal grandparents.
The high court said that besides the couple meeting their kids, "overnight access at home of the non-custodial parent needs to be encouraged at an early stage so that the child has a close and a continuing relationship and gets the love and affection of not only both the parents but also the extended family comprising grandparents, cousins, uncles and aunts".
"The healthy emotional development of children depends upon their early experience of a continuous, emotionally available care-giving relationship, through which relationship the child forms an organised attachment and develops human capabilities for thought and relationship building.
"A child has a right to a childhood free from neglect. A child needs consistent support system as also love, hope and encouragement. A child should be so nurtured that he/she is fully prepared to live life in a society, in the spirit of dignity, tolerance, freedom and solidarity," the bench added.