Written by Omkar Gokhale
| Mumbai |

Published: April 29, 2020 7:54:42 pm

Coronavirus lockdown, Mumbai coronavirus lockdown, covid-19, Bombay high court, man access to children through video calls, Mumbai news, indian express Justice Kathawalla also said the man shall continue to pay monthly maintenance for the children as earlier directed by the court. (File)

Amid the nationwide lockdown, the Bombay High Court recently allowed a father to see his minor children, staying with his estranged wife, via video calls. The court held that the lockdown should not be a hindrance for the father to meet his children.

On April 24, Justice S J Kathawalla, while hearing a plea in the matrimonial dispute, directed the woman to make arrangements for her estranged husband to see their two minor children through video conference until the lockdown is lifted in Mumbai.

Advocate Prabha Badadare, for the woman, submitted that her client will make arrangements to enable her estranged husband to have access to the children, a 15-year-old daughter and 9-year-old son, through videoconference.

Justice Kathawalla said that the access should be given thrice a week, on Monday, Thursday and Sunday, between 5 pm and 6 pm. “If the children have any difficulty to come online at the time specified, the parties may mutually fix the time when the father can have access to the children,” the court added.

Justice Kathawalla also said the man shall continue to pay monthly maintenance for the children as earlier directed by the court. The bench said the order will be applicable until the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted in Mumbai, and thereafter, parties can move fresh pleas before the regular court.

The family court had granted custody of the children to the mother and directed the father to pay monthly maintenance for the children. However, the order was stayed after the woman filed a contempt plea citing breach of order.

The HC was informed that a counsellor had earlier interviewed the children, and stated that they seemed comfortable and willing to meet the father at the children complex in the Family Court.

However, on April 24, citing the lockdown, the father told the court that he was unable to meet the children in person and hence some other arrangement should be made for him.

After his wife showed willingness to give access to the children via videoconference, the court granted the same until the lockdown is lifted in Mumbai.

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