SC: don’t just go by foreign court order in custody cases
In an important ruling, the Supreme Court has held that Indian courts have jurisdiction to deal with custody disputes over minor children even if a foreign court has passed an order in favour of either of the parents.delhi Updated: May 17, 2011 01:33 IST
In an important ruling, the Supreme Court has held that Indian courts have jurisdiction to deal with custody disputes over minor children even if a foreign court has passed an order in favour of either of the parents.
Deciding a custody battle involving a US-based NRI couple, the bench of justice VS Sirpurkar and justice TS Thakur said Indian courts cannot “abjectly surrender” to and shirk its duty of adjudicating a dispute simply because a foreign court has passed an order.
“Simply because a foreign court has taken a particular view on any aspect concerning the welfare of the minor is not enough for the courts in this country to shut out an independent consideration of the matter. Objectivity, and not abject surrender, is the mantra in such cases,” justice Thakur said while writing the verdict.The ruling assumes significance in the wake of growing number of litigation involving NRI couples over child custody and matrimonial disputes.
Additional solicitor general Indira Jaising, who represented the mother, said: “The whole issue about Indian women being abandoned by their husbands settled in US come back after a bitter matrimonial experience. Their only option is to return and life with their parents. Their only recourse is the Indian courts that cannot shut the doors to such women.”
The judgment came on an appeal by Ruchi Majoo challenging the Delhi high court order holding Indian courts could not entertain any petition under the doctrine of “comity of courts,” if any foreign court had passed a decree.