Vivek Singh Vs Romani Singh - CIVIL APPEAL NO. 3962 OF 2016 - SC Feb 2017
Above SC judgment recognized the phenomenon of Parental Alienation Syndrome which children undergoing situation of separated/divorced parents can go through.
Excerpt from judgment below:
Psychologist term it as 'The Parental Alienation Syndrome' . It has at least two psychological 4 destructive effects:
(i) First, it puts the child squarely in the middle of a contest of loyalty, a contest which cannot possibly be won. The child is asked to choose who is the preferred parent. No matter whatever is the choice, the child is very likely to end up feeling painfully guilty and confused. This is because in the overwhelming majority of cases, what the child wants and needs is to continue a relationship with each parent, as independent as possible from their own conflicts.
(ii) Second, the child is required to make a shift in assessing reality. One parent is presented as being totally to blame for all problems, and as someone who is devoid of any positive characteristics. Both of these assertions represent one parent's distortions of reality.
In above case, it was the father who had custody of child. However, Supreme Court ruled that the mother had been trying for custody as well as regularly meeting child during visitations, and was awarded custody of 8 years old daughter for 1 year.
Above judgment can be used in cases where father has been involved with child by meeting regularly during visitations etc, even though he does not have any more meaningful custody of child like overnight or few days custody.
The logic is that while the parental roles of custodial and non-custodial parent are reversed in above SC judgment, similar logic can very well apply in case where father is the non-custodial parent, but he has been regularly meeting the child and it can be clearly shown on record that he has shown interest in custody proceedings throughout.
It would be desirable that father files custody case without much delay after separation from child. In above judgment too, this factor was seen to be important that the mother who was non-custodial parent had filed for child custody immediately after separation from child.