Supreme Court judgment on Child repatriation

7/12/2017 277 Indian Polity | Judiciary | View Recent Current Affairs

  • A Supreme Court judgement on Child repatriation has given courts in India unlimited discretion to determine which parent should have the custody of minor children involved in international parental child abduction.
  • The verdict holds that Indian courts can decline the relief of repatriation of a child to the parent living abroad even if a foreign court, located in the country from where the child was removed, has already passed orders for the child's repatriation.
  • Welfare of the child came first over the repatriation order of the foreign court as India was not a signatory to the Hague Convention of “The Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction”.
  • The judgment came in a case where the father took the younger of the two sons from his wife’s custody in the United States and came to India. The mother’s version was that he had taken the boy on the pretext of visiting the neighbourhood mall. A U.S. Court upheld her lawful custody and ordered the man to return his son to his wife.
  • The Supreme Court concluded that the boy, who is five-and-a-half years old, has settled in India, studying in a reputed school here and enjoys his extended family. The apex court allowed the father to retain his son in India, while noting that the parents are frequently in touch over e-mail. Uprooting the boy from his present situation may be counter-productive, the apex court held.

About Hague Abduction Convention:

  • The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction or Hague Abduction Convention is a multilateral treaty developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) that provides an expeditious method to return a child internationally abducted by a parent from one member country to another. The Convention entered into force between the signatories on 1 December 1983.
  • The Convention was drafted to ensure the prompt return of children who have been abducted from their country of habitual residence or wrongfully retained in a contracting state not their country of habitual residence.
  • The primary intention of the Convention is to preserve whatever status quo child custody arrangement existed immediately before an alleged wrongful removal or retention thereby deterring a parent from crossing international boundaries in search of a more sympathetic court.
  • The Convention applies only to children under the age of 16.

 


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