Court asks NRI couple to settle International child custody dispute (Aditya) in U.S.: Kumar Jahgirdar (CRISP) hails verdict
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed an NRI couple to settle their child custody dispute before a court in the United States.
A Bench of Justice Tarun Chatterjee, Justice R.M. Lodha and Justice B.S. Chauhan, in its judgment in a habeas corpus petition filed by the child’s father V. Ravi Chandran, directed his wife Vijayasree Voora to subject herself to the U.S. court, which gave joint custody of the child to the parents.
The matter relates to the alleged abduction of the minor, Aditya, by Ms. Voora, who brought the child from the U.S. in June, 2007 in violation of the orders of The Family Welfare Court of the State of New York. It granted joint physical custody of the child to his estranged parents, whose marriage was dissolved in 2005 under the orders of a court in the U.S.
Dr. Chandran came to India in search of the child and filed a habeas corpus petition. On the directions of the Supreme Court, the CBI traced the boy in Chennai on October 24 and produced him in the court. After hearing the parties, the Bench passed the final order on Tuesday.
Writing the judgment, Justice Lodha said this was a case of custody of a child removed by a parent from one country to another in contravention of the orders of the court where the parties had set up their matrimonial home. While the welfare and happiness of the child should be the paramount consideration, the order of a foreign court as to his custody might be given due weight.
The Bench noted that since both the father and the child being U.S. citizens, the Supreme Court “may leave the aspects relating to the welfare of the child to be investigated by the court in his own native country as that could be in the best interest of the child.”
The Bench directed Ms. Voora to act as per the consent order of the U.S. court dated June 18, 2007 and till such time any further order was passed on a petition that might be filed, she would take the child on her own to the U.S. within 15 days and report to that court. The petitioner would bear all the travelling expenses of the mother and the child and make arrangements for their stay in the U.S. till further orders were passed by the competent court.
In the event of the mother not taking the child to the U.S. within 15 days, the Bench directed the CBI to restore the custody of Adithya along with his passport to the father to be taken to the U.S. The Bench recorded the appreciation for the work done by the CBI in tracing the child in less than two months.
Verdict hailed by Kumar Jahgirdar (CRISP)
Welcoming the judgment, president of Child Rights Initiative For shared Parenting, Bangalore, Kumar Jahgirdar said, “This judgment will reduce the cases of international parental child abduction to India. Since the parents have a consent decree for joint custody this should continue as per original terms with the co-operation of both parents in the U.S. This is in the best interest of the child.”