The Supreme Court held that parents having visitation rights; may resort to electronic means to meet their children due to the nationwide lockdown. All such parents having visitation rights can now visit electronically through Video Calls etc. instead of visiting physically at this time. The bench consisting of Justice NV Ramana, Justice SK Kaul and Justice BR Gavai passed the order.
The PIL on Virtual Visitation Rights
Dr. Tanuj Dhawan, Assistant Professor with the University of Delhi filed the plea. He questioned the mental health of children regarding difficulties of maintaining contact with their parents having the visiting rights. “Many couples, either separated or divorced are having Visitation Rights for their children from court; but due to movement restrictions they are unable to exercise the same; which can cause serious concerns over the mental wellness of their child,” he expressed before the court. Adding, “The issue of mental health amid lockdown is very important in this unique situation and due to this many NGOs and Mental Health institutions have been acting round the clock; some psychological changes would be observed during and post pandemic period amongst people as this situation has created lot of anxiety and depression in the society, especially children.”
Taking note of the contentions, the Supreme Court approved of converting physical visitations into electronic visitations during these times.
The Court held, “The grievance of the petitioner is that because of lockdown, the children are unable to interact with their parents even though they have visitation rights for the purpose. If they have visitation rights, we suggest that electronic contact instead of physical visits can be substituted in these times. The parties can arrive at mutually acceptable arrangements in this behalf. If there is an aggrieved party, the same can approach the Family Court”. Accordingly, the bench disposed of the petition.