Child Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP), a Bangalore based first of its kind all India body (NGO) dealing with parents fighting for children’s custody disputes ongoing/over divorce battle today urged Government of India and all the concerned state governments to amend/make fresh laws to grant equal access to both parents who have been fighting for custody of their child/children. Further they appealed to make shared parenting mandatory. Requested Law Ministry to set up special courts to deal with Child Custody cases in order to speedily dispose the cases. In any eventuality, the matters must be deposed within three months of filing the case, the members of CRISP observed. They also demanded to punish persons who misuse IPC 498A and Domestic Violence Law.
CRISP has over 1000 active members across India and abroad. It has chapters all over India. Addressing a press conference in Hyderabad today Mr. Kumar V. Jahgirdar, Founder and President of CRISP who himself is fighting a legal battle for equal access to his daughter from his wife Chethana (currently married to Indian leg spinner Anil Kumble) along with some members said misuse of anti-dowry laws and other woman-protection laws has now become a well recognized problem in India. Increasing number of aged parents, sisters and children in the husband’s family are falsely accused and arrested under these inhumane laws, and find them defenseless against the harassment unleashed thereafter and multiple litigations for the same offence/allegations with violations of Article 20 and 21 of Indian constitution.
Adding further he stated that annually about 75,000 dowry harassment cases are filed across India. Approximately 1,20,000 women (related to husbands) were arrested in the 4 years (2004 to 2007) under the dowry laws. As per the National Crime Records Bureau data, more than 80% people arrested under dowry law cases have turned out to be innocent. (For example: In the year 2006, a total number of 1,37,180 persons were arrested under 498A and out of those 4,812 were not even charge sheeted. Out of the 62,746 persons who were charge sheeted – 50,895 i.e. approximately 81% were found innocent after the completion of the trial and the rest are still under trial). Every year 52,000 married men commit suicide in India as against 28,000 married women (Source: 2005 – NCR). Every year more than 1,00,000 men lose their job and become unemployed because of wrongful arrests under the dowry laws. World Health Organisation report on Elder Abuse finds misuse of dowry laws by the daughters-in-law as the main reason for the elder abuse in India. The Supreme Court of India has already termed the dowry law misuse as “Legal Terrorism”. BBC study indicates that more than 80% women under-trials (related to husbands) lodged in Tihar jail (Delhi) are booked under dowry related laws.
CRISP demands Government, Home Ministry, Chief Justice of India to act on its demand of granting equal rights to both the parents who have been fighting for the custody of the child. In many cases despite of the court orders, Fathers are not allowed to see children. Children should have equal access to both the parents in order to help the child lead a normal life. We must make shared parenting mandatory. Approximately Five Lakh parents especially fathers are suffering with this kind of cases where they don’t have access to their children. The mothers, in order to take revenge on the husband don’t allow fathers to see the child. They have been violating many court orders. The poor fathers can’t do anything. They have been suffering in silence. Now the time has come. Government must understand the pain of the father. It is not that just mothers alone have love and affection for the child. The fathers too have equal feelings towards their offspring. It is unfortunate that the laws are gender biased more towards women. According the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “All are equal before the law, and are entitled without any discrimination to equal protection of the law”. Hence, men should also be accorded protection from physical, verbal, emotional, sexual and financial abuse by women.
Gender Biased LAW should immediately be made crime based instead of any assumption that all women never lie and all the men are born as Criminals. “MEN/WOMEN” word to be replaced by word “PERSON” and word “wife/husband” to be replaced with the word “SPOUSE”.
CRISP believes in the concept of shared parenting i.e., wherein the child should have access to its natural parents, the father and the mother in the best interest of the child when both the parents are otherwise not disqualified. We take pride in the fact that National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), a Government of India undertaking recently has appreciated our initiative on child welfare and significance of love and care of both the parents in a child’s life.
In our society unfortunately 2 out of 5 marriages are ending up in divorce more so in the Metros and the educated classes of the society, especially the upper middle class and affluent class. CRISP receives various complaints in matters related to parental alienation including that of NRI’s pertaining to parental abduction of children. We are presenting to our media friends a typical case of an unfortunate father Dr. V. Ravi Chandran, a world renowned scientist who is deprived of the care and custody of his son Master Aditya aged about 6 years, from more than 670 days. Please also refer www.rescueaditya.org for further details. For more than 21 months the father doesn’t even know the whereabouts and the welfare of the child and obviously this great scientist and wonderful father is in a lot of distress due to the uncertainty of his loving child.
Dr. V. Ravi Chandran is Ph.D. & M.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of Florida. He has got the world patent for several important medicines… Liquid formulations of metformin, US patents 6890957, 6559187, Novel compounds with High Therapeutic Index, US & worldwide patents pending in USA, CANADA etc., and various others, to name a few. He is also the recipient of 2004 distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Florida in May 2004 for his lifetime contribution to Pharmaceutical Sciences. He has also performed as a consultant to Medical staff at Harvard Medical School.
His wife Vijayasree Voora had meticulously planned for illegal kidnapping of Aditya. She moved Aditya from place to place to avoid tracing. Past 21 months she subjected to Aditya to live in substandard motels which she changed often. She did not admit him to any school for a period of more than 21 months preventing him from having social contacts, schooling, or any stability in his life. All Aditya knows is cruelty from his mother. She had deprived Aditya of love and attention from his father, and also from all members of family from either side. Aditya was treated to mediocre schooling or no schooling, despicable apartment life, nomadic existence, and being moved all over India with his fugitive mother. Vijayasree Voora, with her reckless behavior due to severe mental illness is endangering the welfare of a child, with contempt of court orders, continues to abuse Aditya by holding him hostage. Recently Aditya was found to be suffering from bronchitis and typhoid due to the fugitive lifestyle he was subjected to.
The press conference was addressed by many members of the CRISP. To put pressure on the government for their rights, CRISP is planning to have roadshow across India, to mobilise public opinion on the same. It also urged media to highlight their righful request.
The whereabouts of Master Aditya can be informed to his father and his natural guardian Dr. V. Ravi Chandran on his mobile: 9704362000.
The parents suffering with similar problems may reach CRISP (Flat No. 3, Natasha Penta, Infantry Road Cross, Bangalore – 560001. Tel: 080 – 25593848, Fax: 080-41238847 www.crisp-india.org) to fight for the common cause to save our children to lead normal life.