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“Fatherless” kids more likely to end life, flee homes: NGO

Mumbai: Strongly advocating for shared parenting of children in cases of marital discord or breakdown of marriages, an NGO today claimed “fatherless” kids were at greater risk of committing suicide or running away from homes.

Child Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting (CRISP) said lakhs of child custody matters were pending in various courts, leading to children “being deprived of fathers’ love and affection” in more than 98 per cent of such cases.

Addressing a press conference here, President of CRISP Kumar Jahgirdar said a series of research has been conducted on the subject globally and it has been found that a father’s absence in a child’s life casts negative impact on him/her.

According to the NGO, which has compiled 6 to 7 studies conducted in India by domestic and global researchers, children without fathers were five times more likely to commit suicide, nine times more likely to drop out of high school, 14 times more likely to end up becoming rapist and 32 times more likely to run away from homes.

Currently, there are 1.86 lakh children in the country who are caught in legal battle between their mothers and fathers over their custody, Jahgirdar said.

In Maharashtra alone there are some 12,000 such cases pending in different Family Courts, he said.

Jahgirdar said the Centre should take immediate steps to prepare a Bill on shared parenting with necessary amendments in guardianship and custody laws as recommended by the Law Commission.

At the press meet, estranged fathers shared their ordeal on not being allowed to meet their children despite court orders.

Jahgirdar said action should be taken against those who misuse laws, particularly Section 498 (A) of IPC related to dowry harassment and domestic violence.