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Report No. 257

4. Insertion of new Chapter IIA: This chapter deals with custody, child support and visitation issues, covering a range of topics as discussed below.

a. Section 19A: Objectives of the chapter.

This section lays down the principal objectives of this chapter, by way of guidance to the court as to what the chapter seeks to achieve. Children are the most vulnerable persons in a matrimonial dispute, and the trauma that they face during and after the legal determination of such disputes is immeasurably harsh. Children often become pawns in such matters, and are used by their parents for their own purposes, to strike bargains that rarely take into consideration the emotional, social and mental upheavals that the children themselves may be facing.

The Commission believes this imbalanced situation can be addressed in some measure through legislative changes that will place a duty upon the court to uphold the child's welfare in each and every circumstance, regardless of the individual interests of the parties involved.

These objectives, therefore, embody the fundamental and most important recommendation of the Law Commission, regarding the welfare of the child being of utmost consideration. A court is bound to bear in mind these objectives in making an order under this chapter, and will therefore be required to comprehensively assess the consequences of any order it makes in light of these objectives.

The objectives require that the welfare of a child is met by ensuring various other aspects, such as recognising the changing emotional, intellectual and physical needs of the child; maintaining a healthy and continuing relationship with both parents, society and siblings; recognising the prior and future ability and commitment of the parents to participate in the growth of the child; protecting the child from violence of any kind, and so on.

Reforms in Guardianship and Custody Laws in India Back

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