Two Australian minors allegedly kept against their wishes by their father were rescued by a warrant officer appointed by Punjab and Haryana high court from a house in Sector-19 and produced before the high court bench of justice AB Chaudhari on Tuesday.
As the children did not have their passports with them, the bench directed the Chandigarh Police to raid the house to recover their travel and identity documents and produce these in court on Thursday.
The HC had acted on the petition of Navjinder Kaur, an Australian citizen and the mother of the duo.
She had filed a Habeas Corpus (produce the body) petition, on Monday, seeking direction to the police to get Vansh Kumar Dhall, 12, her son and daughter, Bhumi, 11, released from the alleged detention of her ex-husband, Sham Sunder Dhall, of Sector-19.
As per Navjinder, Dhall had brought both the children to India in January, promising that after meeting the family members from both the sides he would send them back. However, he did not do so, claiming that their passports have been stolen. Later, he allegedly threatened her with dire consequences, if she launched any proceedings to get back the children, the court was told.
They got married in 2001 and in 2009 Navjinder went to Australia followed by Dhall in 2010. However, the duo divorced in 2011.
The children remained in Chandigarh till 2014 with maternal grandparents. In 2014, they got Australian citizenship. Both the children are now students at a Northern Territory, Darwin city school, in Australia, as per the petition.
“My ex-husband wanted to keep the children here in India to ensure that he may get a visa to travel to Australia, based on their citizenship of that country.”_Navjinder Kaur, mother of minors
Navjinder told the court that her children told her that their passports were not missing and were very much with them and also sent pictures of the same. They also expressed their wish to be with their mother.
“My ex-husband wanted to keep the children here in India to ensure that he may get a visa to travel to Australia, based on their citizenship of that country,” the woman had alleged in court. It was also brought to notice of the court that children are missing their school, being stuck here.
During the hearing, UT’s additional public prosecutor, Gautam Dutt had told court that the children were Australian citizens but their visa had expired on February 9, 2017.
The HC bench, taking note that father of the children had not appeared in court despite being put on notice, and both the children’s statement that they wanted to go with their mother, gave their custody to Navjinder.
The court also hoped that the UT and the Centre will extend all possible help to the children in extension or grant of visa to return to Australia.
FATHER CLAIMED CHILDREN HAD LOST PASSPORTS
■ As per submissions in court, Navjinder Kaur and Sham Sunder Dhall were married in 2001. The duo divorced in 2011. T
■ Their children remained in Chandigarh till 2014 with maternal grandparents. In 2014, they got Australian citizenship. Both are studying at a school in Northern Territory, Darwin city school, in Australia.
■ Navjinder claims that Dhall brought the children to India in January, promising that after meeting family members, he would send them back. Later he claimed that their passports had been stolen and allegedly threatened her with dire consequences, if she launched proceedings to get back the children.
■ Navjinder told the court that her children informed her their passports were not missing and also sent her pictures.