Permit meeting of father and infant son at coffee shop, Bombay high court asks mother
The Bombay high court (HC) recently directed a woman to allow her husband, who is a green card holder and has come to India, to meet their son for one-two hours a day at a coffee shop till the next date of hearing of the petition. The court also directed the couple to maintain proper decorum to ensure the mental wellbeing of the child.
The man approached the HC after the woman returned to India with their infant son, who was born through IVF (in vitro fertilisation) and is a citizen of the United States (US). She refused to go to the marital house, thus refusing the husband and his family the opportunity to derive the pleasure of having a son.
The division bench of justice Nitin Jamdar and justice Sarang Kotwal, while hearing the petition filed by a US citizen (green card holder) of Indian origin, was informed by advocates Prabhjit Jauhar and Jai Vaidya that the man had been living in the US since 2002 and had been granted a green card by the US government. The advocates submitted that their client got married to the respondent wife in 2010 and in 2019 the couple managed to have a child through IVF.
The advocates submitted that their client’s wife along with her parents, who had come to stay with them in the US for delivery of the child returned to India in December 2020. Their client also came to India to ensure that the couple celebrated the first birthday of their child together and in the company of their respective families on December 25. However, the wife and her parents left their home in Mumbai without informing their client.
The bench was further informed that as the infant was a US citizen and the mother had taken away the child without informing the father of his whereabouts the HC should direct the mother to produce the child before the court and allow him access to the child. The bench was also informed that a county court in the US, which was hearing a parental abduction case filed by the husband, had also ordered the mother to produce the child before it and hand over custody to the father.
On the part of the wife, advocate Ajinkya Udane for the respondent assured the court that they were willing to give physical access of the child to the father at a coffee shop mutually agreed upon by both parties on two dates before the next hearing on October 28. Further, the court also sought to know from the additional public prosecutor for the state Sangeeta Shinde the standard operating procedure for permitting infants to travel abroad during the pandemic.