RAIPUR: Shushila Sahu, 35, a mother of a five-year-old daughter has been in and out of court to attend her divorce trial since January this year. Many like her can understand how inconvenient and irritating it can be to repeatedly visit the court with a child and wait for long hours and even an entire day.
The children are vulnerable to various psychological issues when it comes to attending the court proceedings. A family court in Chhattisgarh's Dhamtari, about 80 km south of Raipur has come up with a plan keeping in mind the needs and circumstances of women who have to visit trial of courts to resolve cases related to divorce, maintenance, family disputes and issues and settlement on marriages.
The concept has led to the execution of the programme — ‘Kilkari’, which was launched in the family court premises, the first of its kind in Chhattisgarh, focussing on what best the women and the children, mostly below 10 years of age, can do during their day-long stay attending the court on every date of scheduled proceedings.
“Most of the women or petitioners come in early and have to wait for long hours. So how can they spend their free time instead of inconveniently waiting around and doing nothing. An idea to have a facility where the children are left to play and their mothers can wait without fearing for safety. Even women visiting the courts can sit around and relax in the crèche room earmarked under Kilkari,” said Sirajuddin Qureshi, judge of the Dhamtari family court.
A 40 ft x 25 ft room working as a creche unit opens at 10 in the morning and stays open till the 6 pm. The timing was fixed taking into account the working hours of the court from 11am to 5 pm. So the creche also serves as the relaxation zone for those coming from far-off places to attend their cases in the family court.
“The move proves a boon on eliminating the anxiety and psycho-social problems the children might face as they are present during the trials. There is a decline in such cases noticed among the kids,” said a Dhamtari based psychiatrist Suchitra Goyal.
Two female guards who also assist in looking after the kids are employed at the creche. They provide the kids with toys, milk, snacks, water and even food without any charge.
“It’s a pleasant experience. Our worries for the children accompanying us vanish. The kids are safe and in a comfort zone where they get entertained, play and relax. The ayaas (attendant) even teach them good habits of life,” said Pooja Kashyap, a mother of two children, who came from Kurud some 30 km away from the court.