Child Visitation, Maintenance Shall Be Ensured: HC

SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has directed compliance of child visitation rights amid Supreme Courts’ suggestion of substituting electronic contacts instead of physical visits in these times.

Hearing a Public Interest Litigation on its motion, a division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajnesh Oswal also directed compliance to the orders of payment of maintenance by the trial courts amid the Covid-19 lockdown.

The court, however, left it open for the trial courts to adopt any mode of communication to ensure the maintenance to the dependents.

“All trial courts shall ensure that they evolve appropriate mechanisms to ensure that the orders of payment of maintenance are complied with despite lockdown,” the court said.

“It shall be open for the Trial Courts to use any mode of communication including Mobile Phones; emails; landline phones and e-modes of payment to ensure that the dependents in whose favour maintenance orders have been passed, actually receive the maintenance.”

Similarly, the court said, compliance of directions regarding the child visitation shall be ensured in the manner as observed by the Supreme Court.

The top court on April 30 last while disposing of a petition, alleging that because of the lockdown the children are unable to interact with their parents even though they have visitation rights, had suggested that electronic contacts instead of physical visits can be substituted in these times.

“The Member Secretary of the Jammu and Kashmir State Legal Services Authority shall place a report as to whether the arrangements directed …by the Supreme Court of India are being applied by the Courts in Jammu and Kashmir and litigants regarding ensuring visitation of the children with their parents,” the court said, adding, “This exercise may require ascertaining the details of the cases where orders for visitation have been passed.”

The court directed the Member Secretary, J&KSLSA, to place the report before the next date of hearing on June 2. “Secretaries, District Legal Services Authorities and paralegal volunteers may be utilized to facilitate the above compliances,” the court added.

Meanwhile, the court granted T. M. Shamshi, Assistant Solicitor General of India, time till June 2 to submit the report regarding the mechanism in Ladakh to meet the needs of victims of domestic violence, elderly abuse, child violence and violence against transgenders. (GNS)

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