A man has filed a contempt petition in the Bombay High Court alleging that his wife, who had been told by the court to hand over the custody of their two children to him, went to the school of her daughter and took her to an unknown place. Hearing the petition Thursday, the court gave the woman 24 hours to comply with its order and hand over the custody of the daughter to the husband.
The Indian-origin couple and their children are citizens of Sweden. The mother had returned to India with the children when they were very young. In March 2008, a family court dismissed her plea for divorce but retained the custody of the children with her. The father had moved court saying the children wanted to stay with him in Sweden.
“We hope that wiser counsel would prevail on the wife and she would comply with the order passed by court. Since the son has been admitted in a school in Sweden, necessary formalities such as temporary passport be issued to him by the Swedish authority. We direct the wife to hand over custody of daughter to the husband within twenty four hours,” said Justice V M Kanade and Justice Shalini Phansalkar-Joshi.
The court also directed the Foreigner Regional Registration Office to issue exit visa to both the children. On September 29, the court had said it would normally not have passed an order transferring a minor’s custody but “extraordinary circumstances” had compelled the decision. The court had interviewed both the children on more than one occasion and after having been satisfied that it was in their interest to travel to Sweden along with the father had passed the orders.
“We are surprised to note the lack of cooperation of the wife and her family members, including the learned counsel, who is on record,” observed the court. The wife, her two sisters and her father are apparently “missing”, with their mobile phones blocked. “The husband is not in a position to contact them. It is stated that even the son’s calls are not answered by the wife,” said the court.
The wife had challenged the HC’s order in the Supreme Court but it was not entertained. Liberty, however, was granted to the wife to approach the HC for modification of the order.