Upgrade Children Complex Room at Tis Hazari Family Court #HappyParenting

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The Preamble of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child says, “Recalling that, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations has proclaimed that childhood is entitled to special care and assistance.”

Bearing in mind that, as indicated in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, “the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth”,

Clutching my hand tightly, my daughter stepped into the tiny room for her first visit to the ‘Children Complex Room.’ The room was small, compact and gives an unfamiliar ground for the children to spend that quality time with the parents. It was suffocating. 

There are another 10-12 children in the room, along with the custodial and non-custodial parents and grandparents, who are often seen yelling and accusing each other in front of the children. A lady is seated at the centre of the room, merely observing the chaos of the unfriendly and stuffy room.

This was my 6-year-old daughter and my first encounter with the ‘Children’s Complex Room’ of 12ft x 12 ft. at the Tis Hazari Family Court when my husband was granted access to the visitation rights.

My husband filed for Custody and Guardianship of our daughter at the Tis Hazari Court in March 2017. I cannot deny the visitation as my husband has an equal right to meet our daughter. 

The Children Complex Room is specially designed to have the Parentingtime of the child with the non-custodial parents and grandparents.

What leaves me feeling helpless for my daughter is seeing the scenario of the courts and the condition of the children room. That one hour neither the child nor the non-custodial parent is able to utilise to the maximum. Children struggle both emotionally and psychologically, and are often not able to express what they feel. I can easily recall and stance from the difficulties that my daughter faced from the first encounter till date, as perhaps the situation has been grim for her to cope up.

Courts are stressful not only for the parents but mentally exhausting for the children as well. The Children Complex Room in the Family Courts were set up as a concept where the parents going through the trial of separation or divorce, seeks custody/guardianship of the child. But do we really care about it or are we putting our child’s happiness at stake?

Th children complex rooms are located in the premises of the court, where children are exposed directly to the court area. The children complex rooms already exist but the challenge is the space, friendly environment and the lack of basic amenities. The need is for an open and conducive environment and we need space adjacent to the court building. Parenting time shall be treated like a special outing for the child. The Family Courts are working against the concept of ‘Child Welfare’ rather it is more psychologically challenging for them. 

This is why I am asking the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, Ministry of Law and Justice and President of Delhi Bar Association Tis Hazari, to upgrade the children complex rooms and give space adjacent to the court building entirely for the Family Court providing an open space for Parenting time to the children and the Non-Custodial Parents to avoid child’s direct contact with the court and help in better welfare of the children.

According to UN Charter Child Right Convention of Article -3

1. In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration.

2. States Parties undertake to ensure the child such protection and care as is necessary for his or her well-being, taking into account the rights and duties of his or her parents, legal guardians, or other individuals legally responsible for him or her, and, to this end, shall take all appropriate legislative and administrative measures.

3. States Parties shall ensure that the institutions, services and facilities responsible for the care or protection of children shall conform with the standards established by competent authorities, particularly in the areas of safety, health, in the number and suitability of their staff, as well as competent supervision.

According to the Ministry of Law and Justice,

“These rooms are well furnished and well equipped considering the needs of the children, particularly, small children. There are toys for children to play and they are also provided with snacks.”

The Government and the Family Courts are not providing the basic facilities, foresaid mentioned in the guidelines of the Ministry of Law and Justice.

The budget provided to the Family courts challenges to the open- end current situation and makes me question to the authorities like the Government and the Tis Hazari courts of the utilisation of the funds are not done in the appropriate manner. 

The funds released under Plan for meeting recurring expenditure on Family courts of Delhi in 2002-03 was an estimate of 130 Lakhs. The figures are a clear indication that funds are being initiate but the question arises, where are these utilised and for what purpose?

The data shows the real reflection of the funds released under the Family Court Budget and the inappropriate provision of the resources

Sign my petition and join me asking Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, the Ministry of Law and Justice and President of Delhi Bar Association Tis Hazari,  to upgrade the area for the ParentingTime and provide friendly space and environment to the child in order to have a leisure time with the non-custodial parent.

The battle is to protect the integrity of the Act and to continually innovate with practices keeping in mind the welfare of the child. I believe this petition will help our children face the challenge with a foundation for a stronger future and support of both the parents.

Let’s give our children a #HappyParenting and make this as easy an experience for them.

References

http://doj.gov.in/sites/default/files/Family%20Courts%20pdf.pdf

https://delhicourts.nic.in/Citizen_Charter_January_2017.pdf


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