The Bandra family court has been offering estranged couples, options such as Skype for non-custodian parents to meet their children. In a recent order, a judge has directed the custodian mother to even feed the child before a Skype video chat session with the father, so as to avoid “tantrums” during the access period.
The court had directed a mother to regularly provide the child’s access to the father via Skype and observed that the wife “must understand that the access is for the benefit of the child and it could not be used as a weapon to irritate the respondent (husband)”.
The estranged wife had admitted in court that “till date, access through Skype has only been 60 per cent satisfactory” and that the email exchange and chat history also revealed that the child gets “distracted” during Skype sessions.
The court, however, observed that the respondent would not get benefited by such “meaningless access, with no benefit to the child and it will also be a futile exercise for the petitioner, leading to multiple applications, delayed trial and protracted trial”.
The court also directed both the parties to make a chart about each Skype access sessions which would include details regarding the duration of access, the mental condition of the child and also rate the entire session between one to 10, one being unsatisfactory and 10 being excellent.
“To keep it simple, both parties shall prepare the table date- wise, with columns for date of access, duration of the Skype access and immediate mental condition of the child (if the child was throwing tantrums or was happy during the entire session),” the court order read.
“Skype is another good way for the non-custodian parent to have contact with the child specially if he or she is in another city,” family court lawyer Mridula Kadam said.
Kadam, however, cited instances of problems that have arisen out of these Skype sessions in the past.
“The child is often not able to freely communicate with the non-custodian parent due to the presence of the custodian parent in the room,” she said.
In a similar case, Kadam claimed that her client was “tutoring” the child while the father was on Skype.
They come in the way of the child having a healthy conversation with the other parent and often influence them to be rude and non-cooperative, she said.
“This child was barely 8 years old she had started telling lies about being busy with work when the father desired to fix another time for Skype She would hurry up the conversation by saying I am tired or just not talk,” Kadam said.