In­dian wins girl child’s cus­tody from Pak mom

The Free Press Journal - - FRONT PAGE - NARSI BENWAL

Ob­serv­ing that the prin­ci­ple of ‘comity of courts’ can­not be given im­por­tance in de­cid­ing the cus­tody of a mi­nor, the Bom­bay High Court re­cently re­solved a cus­tody bat­tle be­tween an In­dian fa­ther and a Pak­istani mother. The HC, while con­sid­er­ing the ‘love and af­fec­tion’ the daugh­ter is re­ceiv­ing from her In­dian fa­ther, re­fused to hand over her in­terim cus­tody to the Pak­istani mother.

A sin­gle-judge bench of Jus­tice Bharati Dan­gre, while hand­ing over cus­tody to Ban­dra-based She­hzad He­mani, rapped the Fam­ily Court, which had asked him to hand over the mi­nor daugh­ter to his Pak­istani wife.

Jus­tice Dan­gre chided the Fam­ily Court for its ‘er­ro­neous’ or­der say­ing, “The im­pugned or­der com­pletely ig­nores the fact that the child is in In­dia for the last one-and-ahalf-years and has been ad­mit­ted in a school. Pho­tographs of the child show her in the com­pany of her grand­mother but the court failed to take into con­sid­er­a­tion that if the child at this stage is to be set­tled in a new en­vi­ron­ment, she would be ex­posed to phys­i­cal or psy­cho­log­i­cal harm, since the child has gained roots in In­dia.”

“The child is not con­ver­sant with the Dutch lan­guage and would feel com­pletely up­rooted if trans­ferred to the Nether­lands and is made to live in an at­mos­phere where the child is left only to the mother, whereas in In­dia, the child is in the com­pany of grand­par­ents with a lot of love and af­fec­tion be­ing show­ered on

the child. In the pe­cu­liar cir­cum­stances, the re­lief of repa­tri­a­tion of the child to the fa­ther is not in the in­ter­est of the child and would rather af­fect the phys­i­cal, psy­cho­log­i­cal, emo­tional and so­ci­o­log­i­cal well-be­ing and growth of the child at this stage,” Jus­tice Dan­gre ruled.

Jus­tice Dan­gre was seized with an ap­pli­ca­tion filed by She­hzad He­mani, who is en­gaged in a le­gal spat with his wife, Na­dia Rashid, a Pak­istani and Dutch na­tional.

The cou­ple had mar­ried in April 2011 in In­dia and af­ter that lived for a brief pe­riod in the Nether­lands where the daugh­ter was born. The cou­ple then re­turned to In­dia and bought a flat in Ban­dra.

How­ever, in De­cem­ber 2014, Na­dia, on the pre­text of get­ting her daugh­ter vac­ci­nated, took her to the Nether­lands and then re­fused to re­turn to In­dia. She even in­sti­tuted le­gal pro­ceed­ings against She­hzad seek­ing a di­vorce. How­ever, in 2016, She­hzad brought the mi­nor daugh­ter back to In­dia and since then has been liv­ing with his child.

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