Gujarat High Court Passes Interim Order Allowing Visitation of Applicant-Father With Daughter, Telephonically and Through Whatsapp

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After considering the impugned order and the report dated 9.3.2015 of the Mediator, Gujarat High Court Mediation Centre, Ahmedabad, the Court directed the Respondent mother to facilitate talk and interaction between father and daughter.

Applicant’s Submissions

The Learned Advocate for the Applicant submitted that the present matter was for visitation rights to Applicant’s daughter for the Applicant-father, however, given the present pandemic situation, her father’s visit to his daughter and meeting her by travelling from Goa to Vadodara would not be advisable. Hence the prayer for interacting on phone had been made.

It appeared that before, the Respondent-wife had applied under Section 7 of the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 before the Family Court, Vadodara, where the judgment and decree, dated 29.7.2017 were passed which allowed the visitation of the daughter to the mother.

Against that judgment and decree, the Applicant father had then filed the First Appeal, which was still pending. Since the appeal would take more time for culminating into a final decision, henceforth, the Applicant father had requested for visitation and interaction with his daughter.

The Learned Advocate for the Applicant had further, submitted that as the festival of Christmas was approaching near, it would be that the applicant father and daughter ought to be allowed to interact with each other during the Christmas days for the time being.

Applicant’s Prayers

In the present Civil Application, it had been prayed by the Applicant that the Respondent-wife be directed to make such arrangements and provide a mobile number and a WhatsApp number to the Respondent to interact with their minor child without any interruption.

Consideration by Court

The Court had considered the impugned order dated 9.12.2014 and had also read and considered the report dated 9.3.2015 of the Mediator, Gujarat High Court Mediation Centre, Ahmedabad. It was observed that in Civil Appeal No.9435 of 2016, the Apex Court after considering the facts of the case and report of the Mediator, was of the view that the appellant-father should be allowed visitation rights on every Sunday of the month.

The Court had also perused the report of the Mediator dated 9.3.2016, which was then referred to in the order of the Apex Court. It was observed that the learned Mediator, Mr B.Y. Mankad had stated in the report that he had seen that the child gave very cold responses to her father in the mediation sessions and when asked for, she used to unwillingly look at her father but with a frightened face as if she was under some threat or pressure from her mother or any other person.

Hence, it was stated in the report that Mr Francis had told the Mediator that while he had tried to meet and talk to his daughter at Vadodara, at that time also his wife, Shobha along with some other person remained present and because of their presence, his daughter was unable able to talk freely with him. The Mediator, after considering the meetings which he had with the parties, suggested that Mr Francis, father of the child may be given visitation rights in presence of some third-neutral person in whom both parties had trust. 

The Court considered that even irrespective of the above aspects of the order of the Apex Court as passed during the pendency of the present matter before the Family Court and even if the report of the mediator was overlooked, on independent consideration also, there would be no justification in denying the Applicant-father to interact with his sixteen years old daughter. The love and affection of a father could also be said as a contributing factor in the emotional well-being of a child.

Court’s Directions

The Court deemed it fit to allow the present application by directing the Respondent-mother to make available to the Applicant-father a telephone number and WhatsApp number on which he may talk with their child.

It was directed that the Applicant would be free to talk and interact with daughter anytime between 10:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. for fifteen minutes for up to four times a day, during three days in the week i.e., Friday, Saturday and Sunday starting from 25.12.2020 to 27.12.2020 and similarly, in the succeeding weeks.

Further, this application was to remain pending to ensure the workability of the visitation of the father telephonically and through WhatsApp mode with the daughter. The same was posted for further consideration on 10.2.2021.

Click here to read the interim order.


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