HYDERABAD: When the entire country celebrates Children’s Day on Saturday, hundreds of fathers will take to the streets demanding equal rights over parenting their kids, in the tragic event of a divorce.
While doctors warn that parental alienation due to divorce or separation has an adverse effect on a child’s psychology, divorced fathers say the law is lopsided towards the mother, and have called for sweeping reforms in existing laws.
Court officials say number of divorce applications have shot up significantly with more than 1,000 such applications filed by couples at various family courts in Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy every month.
“Nearly 40% cases are from IT sector employees as the rate of divorce is higher due to different nature of work and working hours,” said Gopala Kalanidhi, a high court advocate, who carried out an independent study on divorce cases in the city.
While an estimated 20,000 such cases are pending in the family courts of Hyderabad alone, experts said family laws in the country were depriving children of broken families their rights to stay connected with both parents.
“Children are dragged to court and asked with whom he or she wants to live. This adversely impacts the child’s psychology at a very young age,” said Rockey Sabarwall, national counsellor of Children’s Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP).
At a time when in 90% cases women eventually gets the custody of the child, several studies done by multiple research organisations indicates that children deprived of equal care from both the parents are more likely to commit suicide, drop out of high school and become drug addicts, said Suresh Upadhayay, secretary of Save Indian Family (AP and Telangana chapter).
“I haven’t met my children for past two years. I fear that they may just forget who their father is. The existing law is biased towards women. Being physically-challenged, I can’t do much to even meet my children,” said T Babu, a government school teacher, who will joins hundreds of others in the protest march to Indira Park on Saturday.
To stop children from being a victim to custody matters, fathers in the city are demanding that a new law safeguarding rights of both parents be implemented soon.