Children Are Seen Standing In Jam Packed Corridors - Kerala HC Suggests Introducing Child Friendly Rooms In Family Courts
Asserting that congested roads and the over-crowded premises stare at young minds, who develop negative notions regarding the justice delivery system in the country, the Kerala High Court has suggested introducing child friendly rooms in Family Courts.
The Division Bench of Justice A. Muhamed Mustaque and Justice C.S. Dias also noted that the children and parties are seen standing in jam packed corridors and even on the roads for the whole day and there is not even a waiting room for the children who are brought to the Courts for providing access, visitation rights and interim custody to the parents.
Advocate R. Leela an active practitioner before the Family Courts had pointed out the pathetic condition prevailing in the Family Courts functioning in the State.
The Bench observed –
"It is a known matter that most of the Family Courts are functioning in leased premises without adequate infrastructure and facilities. There is not even a waiting room for the children who are brought to the Courts for providing access, visitation rights and interim custody to their parents. In a few Family Courts, the children and the parties are seen standing in jam-packed corridors and even on the roads for the whole day. The congested Courts and the over-crowded premises, in fact, stares at the young minds, who develop negative notions regarding the justice delivery system in the Country."
The Court further continued to note that there are dedicated places in the POCSO Courts in the State, where the surroundings are made conducive in the best interest of children.
Thus, the Bench deemed it appropriate to call for a report from the Registrar (District Judiciary) as to the number of POCSO Courts functioning in the near vicinity of the Family Courts in the State and to explore the possibility of dedicating a separate room in all the Family Courts with a child friendly atmosphere somewhat akin to the POCSO Courts, to facilitate the handing over of the children, and for the parents to exercise their interim custody and visitation rights.
The Court further also expressed its displeasure over the way Family Courts not following the directions passed in the case of Shiju Joy v. Nisha [2021 (2) KLT 607] especially pertaining to the speedy disposal of the Interlocutory Applications in a time-bound manner.
In this context, the Court held –
"The Registrar (District Judiciary) is directed to inform all the Presiding Officers of the Family Courts to strictly follow the directions issued by this Court, and to dispose of the Interlocutory Applications filed in all cases in a time bound manner."
The matter will next be heard on July 29th, 2022.
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