news Sunday, March 08, 2015 - 05:30
Anisha Sheth | The News Minute | March 8, 2015 | 09:59 am IST Follow @anisha_w Men’s rights group Save the Indian Family are at present on a two-day hunger strike against the “system which corners fathers” and prevents them from seeing their children. B.Narshing Kumar, who heads the Father’s Rights Wing of the group says the group has been forced to take the step after numerous petitions and pleas to elected representatives and other authorities went unheard. The protest, which began on March 7 and will continue on March 8 at Freedom Park in Bengaluru, would be continued in other cities, he said. Narshing, who has been with the group for the last four years, says that their protest is against the judicial system, which acted as agents of the “wives”. He said that the courts denied fathers the right to visit their children and made them run from pillar to post in order to obtain visitation rights, and also unfairly granted automatic custody to the mother. We are fighting for our right. And will continue till get justice says father's in Bangalore pic.twitter.com/92stgtNEXo — narshing (@chitrakshi_nars) March 7, 2015 “The judiciary acts as the agents of the wives. They do not consider the perspective of the child or the fathers. The courts say that the decision is in the best interest of the child, but how is it in the best interest of the child to separate the child from its father?,” Narshing said. Lawyer with Bengaluru-based group Alternative Law Forum Gowthaman Ranganathan however, says that the guiding principle for deciding on custody and visitation rights was the best interest of the child. To achieve this, when a child is above the age of six, the courts take into consideration the views of the child. “Often, the judge will have the child come into the chamber, where she or he will talk to the child after taking off the robes, in a friendly atmosphere. There have been many occasions in which the child will say it wants both the mother and the father. Then the courts act accordingly by giving rights that are then mutually worked out between the mother and father based on the child’s wishes,” he said. He said that when a couple approaches the courts for divorce, either side can file what are called Interim Applications for the custody of the child, visitation rights, maintenance alimony etc. “The only interim application you can file at any point in time until the child becomes a major is for visitation rights. The law allows that, and visitation rights can be altered at any point of time by filing an application,” Ranganathan says. Narshing says that men are forced to wait for seven or eight years before they are granted visitation rights and until then, because the child would be with the mother, the child’s views would have been influenced by the mother. Ranganathan says that this is possible, given the generally acrimonious nature of quarrels and relations between couples who no longer want to continue with the relationship. “This is aggravated by lawyers, who may misguide their client. Women don’t come with a list of things that they want done. It is the lawyers who give them options. “Sometimes when the husband makes certain the claims, the wife is up in arms after reading the petition, or vice versa. But what they don’t realize is that the lawyer would have drafted the petition keeping in mind certain legal procedures and the outcome of the case. Often, the husband may have said just one thing, and the lawyers would have added 10 more. It all depends on the lawyer,” he says. Ranganathan also says that the majority of cases in which couples want to separate from each other are decided through mediation. Irrespective of the act under which a marriage may be registered, the procedure for divorce or separation is the same. “Around 60 percent of cases in which couples file for divorce are sorted out through mediation, which can take a couple of years. Again, if the mediator is good, she or he will ensure that the man, woman and children are given are fair deal,” he says. It is the rest of the cases that are problematic if they go to court, because then the trial would take far longer than mediation. Father's in Bangalore sitting in hunger strike supported by grand patents --- --- Sent by WhatsApp pic.twitter.com/fwKsYGmvEd — narshing (@chitrakshi_nars) March 7, 2015 On divorce cases where domestic violence is involved, Narshing says that “over 95 percent cases are false”. He says: “We are not doing any study on the abuse inflicted by wives. The government is not bothered about the violence faced by men. If women are abused they can use the domestic violence act, but there is nothing for men, no law for men.” Asked about sections under the Indian Penal Code which dealt with assault, he said, “No, there is no law.” Ranganathan says that all laws are abused. He says that the major demand of their protest will be to demand that visitation rights applications are granted within 15 days. Narshing, who is a software engineer living in the city for the last four years, said that they would continue start the fast in Bengaluru, and continue it in other cities such as Chennai, Pune and Hyderabad. Tweet Follow @thenewsminute

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