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SC allows father to take four-year-old son back to US | India News

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SC allows father to take four-year-old son back to US | India News 2

NEW DELHI: In a rare instance, the Supreme Court granted custody of a four-year-old child to a US-based NRI father and allowed him to take the child to New Jersey while setting aside an unworkable condition put by the Karnataka HC – child would be allowed to travel only after India as well as New Jersey are declared Covid free.
Allowing the appeal filed by the man through advocate Prabhjit Jauhar, a bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud, Indu Malhotra and K M Joseph said that these two conditions were not in the interest of justice. The bench also recorded Jauhar’s argument that his client would provide separate accommodation for the mother near his residence if she desired to shift back to the US.
The man got custody of the child as he showed to the SC as well as the US court, which had last year granted him temporary custody of the couple’s son, that on numerous occasions he had single handedly taken care of the child. Jauhar said that if his client’s estranged wife did not plan to return to the US, he would make sure that she had access to the child through video conference calls at least thrice a week.
The bench said, “The Court has come to the conclusion that the welfare of the child would best be served by accompanying the appellant to the US. The child was born in the US and is a citizen of the US by birth. The appellant (husband) has taken the responsibility for shared parenting while the child was in the US. The respondent (wife) left US shores for a brief sojourn but has unilaterally resolved not to return.”
“Both the appellant and the respondent are qualified professionals who have been employed in the US and the appellant continues to be employed there. Faced with the departure of his spouse and child, the appellant moved the court of jurisdiction in New Jersey for orders of temporary custody. He has followed their tracks to India and invoked judicial remedies here. The child has remained here for a short period and it would not be contrary to his interest to allow the appellant to take him back,” it said.
The couple married in 2012 and moved to the US in 2015. The child was born in December 2016. In March 2019, the wife planned to travel to India for a short period with the child. After reaching India, she informed the husband of her plans not to return to the US and to continue to reside in India together with the child.
The husband came to Bengaluru and met her on April 13, 2019 to explore an amicable resolution of the issues which the couple had faced in the marriage. Efforts to persuade her to return to the US failed. On April 16, 2019, the man filed for custody and for the return of the minor child before the Superior Court of New Jersey, Hudson County, Chancery Division Family Part. On May 21, 2019, the Superior Court of New Jersey granted legal and temporary custody of the child to the father, who two weeks later filed for divorce before the court in New Jersey.

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