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Bombay HC directs mother to allow physical meeting of father and infant US citizen son in coffee shop

The HC was told that a county court in the US, which was hearing a parental abduction case filed by the husband, had ordered the mother to produce the child before it and hand over custody to the father of the child.

Written by Omkar Gokhale | Mumbai |
Updated: October 18, 2021 1:51:08 am
A division bench of Justice Nitin M Jamdar and Justice Sarang V Kotwal on October 12 was hearing a plea by the man argued through advocates Prabhjit Jauhar and Jai Vaidya.

The Bombay High Court recently directed a woman to allow her husband, a US green card holder, who has come to India, to meet their nearly two-year-old son physically for 1-2 hours a day till the next date of hearing of the custody plea.

The man moved the HC after the woman returned to India with their son who was born in December 2019 through In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and is a citizen of the US and refused to go to the matrimonial house, thus refusing the husband and his kin the opportunity to have access to the child.

A division bench of Justice Nitin M Jamdar and Justice Sarang V Kotwal on October 12 was hearing a plea by the man argued through advocates Prabhjit Jauhar and Jai Vaidya.

The HC was told that a county court in the US, which was hearing a parental abduction case filed by the husband, had ordered the mother to produce the child before it and hand over custody to the father of the child.

“The petitioner is unaware about the whereabouts of his minor son and respondent has removed the minor son from petitioner’s custody and guardianship without his consent and information,” the plea stated and sought the physical custody of the child.

The bench also sought to know from the Additional Public Prosecutor Sangeeta D Shinde, representing the state government, as to whether infants can travel to the US and other countries during a pandemic and what were the SOPs for the same.

The bench noted in the order, “…While we defer the hearing of this petition, since the petitioner, who is a resident of the United States, has travelled to India, we are of the opinion that physical access of the child would be given to the petitioner, also looking at the welfare of the child.”

Advocate Ajinkya Udane for the respondent mother submitted that earlier visitation rights through videoconferencing were given to the husband and on instructions from his client, who was present in court, added that physical access to the child will be given to the petitioner on two days before the next date for a period of 1 to 2 hours.

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