The five-year-old son of an estranged couple — a South African man and an Indian woman — will for the second time tell the Bombay High Court who he wants to live with.
A division bench of acting Chief Justice J.N. Patel and Justice B.R. Gavai said they wanted to interview the child in their chamber before passing any order on the man’s petition seeking his deportation to South Africa (SA).
In September 2008, a division bench of the HC had handed over the boy’s custody, after interviewing him, to his mother and had given the father access to him.
C.K. Tripathi, the father’s advocate, argued that a court in SA had granted the boy’s custody to the civil engineer. He had moved the court in SA after the mother brought the child to India in 2006 and did not return.
“We have filed a contempt petition there and the court has issued warrant against the mother as she failed to appear,” said Tripathi.
The mother’s advocate, M.M. Vashi, said the HC had, in September 2008, handed over the child’s custody to her after taking into consideration the order of the SA court.
“The HC had even overruled their contention that the
Indian court does not have jurisdiction. The marriage had taken place in Mumbai in 2003, hence the HC had said that the Indian court has jurisdiction,” said Vashi.
The father has not challenged the HC order granting the boy’s custody to the mother, added Vashi.
The couple had tied the knot in 2003 in India after which they settled in South Africa. The boy, born on July 16, 2004, in Durban, South Africa, came to Mumbai with his mother in December 2006.
Eight days after their arrival, the mother filed a petition for divorce and this legal custody. The woman had alleged that she was tortured by her husband and his family and was not allowed to speak to her family in India.
While handing over the boy’s custody to his mother, the HC had directed the father to bear separate maintenance for the wife, in addition to paying for the educational expenses of the child. The man was also
asked to open a bank account in the boy’s name and make monthly deposits for unforeseen contingencies.