The family court has granted a man, who was divorced in 2011, access to his 15-year-old son, allowing them to spend ten days during the summer vacation together, beginning May 31.
Judge IM Bohari, who was hearing an application by the man seeking access to his child, said father and son will spend time together from May 31 to June 9. The boy appeared for his class 10 exams recently.
The judge took into account the report of the marriage counsellor, DA Lohot, who, after interviewing the child said, "to keep the bond alive between father and son, access may be given to the petitioner father."
The judge also allowed the father regular access to his son on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays of the month, for four hours between 2pm to 6pm.
"It is further worth noting that the time factor is running against the petitioner as within three years the son would become major. In case during this period the child is removed out of India, then it may cause irreparable loss to the petitioner," the judge said. "Therefore, the passport of the child needs to be produced in court, which shall be kept in safe custody till the child attaining age of majority."
The couple had obtained divorce by mutual consent in March 2011 and the woman got the custody of their son. She subsequently married again.
According to the consent terms, the father was granted regular access to the child, but there was nothing specific about the number of times they would be allowed to meet.
Pankaj Jain, advocate of the father, argued that in order to frustrate the access terms, his former wife unilaterally gave the child in adoption to her second husband. However, this was thwarted by the family court after a challenge by the father.
He then filed a petition seeking to be appointed as guardian of the child and for directing his former wife to deposit the child's passport with the court.
The woman filed an affidavit stating that she had not restrained the father from meeting their son. Also, she said that according to the consent terms she was the sole guardian.
Last week, after she failed to appear for the hearing, the court granted vacation access to the father. The judge also imposed a cost of Rs10 and asked her to deposit the amount with the Mumbai Suburban District Legal Services Authority.
The judge also directed the woman to hand over the custody of the child to father at Inorbit Mall, Malad, on May 31. The father has been directed to return the custody of the child to his former wife at the same place on June 9.