KOCHI: The Kerala High Court has said that a parent denying a child’s love and affection to the other parent by alienating the child amounts to mental cruelty. “Nothing can be more painful than one’s own flesh and blood rejecting him/her. The acts of the mother of the child wilfully alienating the child from the father, no doubt, constitute mental cruelty,” the court said.
A division bench comprising Justice A Muhamed Mustaque and Justice Kauser Edappagath issued the order while allowing a petition filed by Prabin Gopan of Thrissur against his wife for divorce on the ground of cruelty. The Family Court in Thrissur had dismissed his plea. Their marriage was solemnised in 2009 and a daughter was born after two years. There were regular instances of outrage and resentment, causing him serious mental agony and pain, Prabin argued.
He alleged that he was informed about the delivery of his own child through his family friends. Though he rushed to the hospital, he was not permitted to see the child and was obstructed from entering the hospital by the relatives of the wife. It was also alleged that he and his parents were completely isolated from the child and the wife even refused to send a photo of the child.
It was only after the intervention of the District Legal Services Authority that they could see the child. He was deprived of his parental right to be loved by the child, Prabin submitted.
‘Getting love, affection of both parents child’s right’
The court said it found some force in the argument and that physical violence is not essential to constitute cruelty.“A child has the right to the love and affection of both parents. Similarly, the parents have the right to receive the love and affection of the child. Any act on the part of the one parent calculated to deny the love and affection of the child to the other parent by alienating the child from him/her amounts to mental cruelty,” HC observed.
The court held that the opposite party, as a mother, breached every duty she owed as the custodial parent to the non-custodial parent of instilling love, respect and feeling in the child for its father. The Division Bench observed that the couple was at loggerheads right from the inception of their marriage.