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Activists: Make shared parenting mandatory

Activists fighting for shared parenting in case of divorce or separation on Friday demanded a law to make shared parenting mandatory seeking punishment for parents who disobey the court orders regarding child visitation.

Ahead of Father s Day we are demanding implementation of the Law Commission of India 2015 report that provides equal legal status and joint custody of the children to both parents Kumar V. Jahgirdar founder and president of the Child Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP) told IANS.

He said the joint custody of a child has to be made mandatory by reforming family laws.

Bengaluru-based CRISP -- whose activists from its regional chapters in Chandigarh New Delhi Chennai Hyderabad Mumbai and Lucknow will observe silent protests and awareness campaigns on International Father s Day that falls on every third Sunday of June (June 18 this year) -- is pushing for reforms in family laws.

Jahgirdar who is seeking adequate paternity leave just like women said these days when both parents are working the role of the father in nurturing a child has become all the more important.

The central government has to introduce a bill in the ensuing session of Parliament on shared parenting with necessary amendments in guardianship and custody laws as recommended by the Law Commission irrespective of the child s gender he said.

The two laws -- the Guardians and Wards Act of 1890 and the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act of 1956 -- at present decide the custody of children in divorce cases.

According CRISP estimates more than 25 000 divorce cases are pending in family courts in Bangalore alone. In the country the figure totals over 500 000.

The parents of the estranged couples have their own woes.

Sudha Rajashekar who heads the grandparents wing of CRISP said separate visitation rights have to be provided to the senior citizens as they are deprived of seeing their grandchildren.

She told IANS there is need for change in the existing laws on rights of grandparents along with the fathers.

Jahgirdar s NGO has also been demanding a separate union ministry for children and to de-link from the existing Ministry of Women and Child Development since the objectives of both women and children are different.

It is seeking an end to discrimination between maternal grandparents and paternal grandparents and has demanded that family courts treat both equally.

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