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SC dazed as US court nullifies its order

A US court did not allow the great grandchildren of NT Rama Rao to be taken to India as per the SC order.

india Updated: Oct 23, 2005 21:51 IST

Shocked over a decision of a US Court virtually nullifying its order, the Supreme Court has asked the Solicitor General GE Vahanvati to explore whether it is possible through diplomatic channels to ensure that orders of the apex court are not disregarded by courts of another country.

The apex court sought the assistance of the solicitor general on the issue as a US Family court did not allow the great grandchildren of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister NT Rama Rao to be taken to India as per its order.

"It needs no emphasis that the effect of the court's order, more particularly of a superior court, and its enforceability should not be left to be decided by the perception of the court of another country," a Bench headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat observed on Friday asking Vahanvati to look into the matter personally.

Vahanvati said he would very soon send a letter to Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran on the concern of the court.

The apex court had directed that the children be produced before it to ascertain their views on the custody but a Family Court in New York refused to send them to India.

NTR's son Nandamuri Jaykrishna and his wife Padmaja are seeking custody of their grandchildren, sons of their daughter Kumudini who had committed suicide in October 2000.

A court in Chennai had convicted her NRI husband Srinath Prasad for abetting the death and had sentenced him to 10 years imprisonment. He has appealed against the verdict.

Kumudini's parents, after losing the custody battle in the apex court in 2001, approached the lower court alleging that their grandsons were not safe with the persons who allegedly forced their mother to commit suicide.

Srinath has challenged before the SC the Andhra Pradesh High Court order asking the lower court to adjudicate the matter. The apex court had on March 28 directed the father of the children to produce them in judge's chamber.

Srinath had moved the Family Court in New York for permission to take his two minor sons to India but his plea was opposed by the law guardian of the children.

After scrutinising the apex court order in this regard, the Family Court had directed Srinath not to produce the minor children before the Supreme Court.

The US Court had said it was not in the best interest of the children that "they not be thrust into a lawsuit commenced for their custody by maternal relatives in India and that to do so would place the children's stability and emotional health at risk".

Though the apex court has initiated contempt proceedings for not producing the children, it has expressed serious concern over such development.

"If such a situation is permitted to continue, it would have large ramifications not only so far as this case is concerned but also other cases," the Bench observed and said "in essence, what transpires is that the court in US has virtually rendered our order inoperative".

First Published: Oct 23, 2005 19:55 IST