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Get psychiatric help, court tell parents

The Supreme Court has directed an NRI couple to take psychiatric help in the UK to settle their matrimonial dispute and custody battle for their three-and-half-year-old daughter, upholding the principle of comity of courts.

delhi Updated: Feb 04, 2010 23:36 IST
Bhadra Sinha

The Supreme Court has directed an NRI couple to take psychiatric help in the UK to settle their matrimonial dispute and custody battle for their three-and-half-year-old daughter, upholding the principle of comity of courts.

The bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir told the couple to simultaneously undergo psychiatric evaluation and treatment within 15 days of landing in London.

Regarding the wife’s stay in London, the bench asked the couple to take the help of a marriage counselor chosen with mutual consent. The directive came after the wife, Seema (name changed) said she would share the London premises with her husband, Arvind (name changed), if he underwent psychiatric evaluation.

Although Arvind agreed to the condition, the court felt that both should be sent for treatment. Arvind's counsel Prabhjot Jauhar said, “The expenses for the treatment would be borne by my client who had also proposed to spend money if the wife desired to live in a hotel in London until the case was over.”

According to the court order, arrangements to send the daughter to a child nursery during her stay in the UK will have to be made by the husband.

This is a rare case in which the Supreme Court has departed from the trend of pronouncing judgments contrary to those passed by foreign courts. The order came on Arvind’s petition urging the court to direct his wife to give him custody of their daughter in accordance with a UK court order.

The bench upheld a Delhi High Court judgment, relying on principle of comity of courts, and said the UK court was entitled to adjudicate the couple’s dispute as it was closest to the issue.

It was alleged that in violation of the UK order, Seema fled to India with the child. The couple then approached the Delhi High Court.