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Father can seek visitation rights under Domestic Violence Act: Bombay HC

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The Bombay HC has ruled that a father can seek visitation rights to his child under the Domestic Violence Act if such child is in mother’s custody. An application was filed by the woman challenging the order of sessions court which was dismissed by the HC last Friday while granting visiting rights to her estranged husband.

The wife has claimed in her plea that only an aggrieved woman can seek custody or visitation rights of her child under the Act and has stated that the sessions court made an error while passing such an order under section 21 of the Protection of Woman from Domestic Violence Act.

In her plea, she has claimed that a man has no independent rights to prefer an application under this section. A man can only seek custody of his child under the Hindu Marriage Act.

The husband of the woman, while opposing the plea, has stated that he does not want to seek permanent custody of his child at the current stage but only visiting rights to his child.

In this regard, the HC has stated that if the plea of the woman is accepted then it would defeat the whole purpose of the act. Further, the Court has observed that the purpose of the act is to prevent domestic violence in the society and while keeping this in mind, has stated that an order for protection for the welfare of the aggrieved person, including children, will have to be passed in the instant case.

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