The Bombay High Court has permitted a filmmaker to meet his three-month-old daughter who was allegedly stolen by his estranged wife, an Uzbekistan national, and her parents, every alternate day for an hour till an appropriate order is passed by the Family Court on visitation rights and/ or custody.
Based on the filmmaker’s complaint, the Versova police had arrested the wife and her parents from Amritsar for allegedly trying to take the child to Uzbekistan based on fake documents. They were subsequently released on bail by the magistrate court at Andheri.
Details of case
The man’s advocates, Jitendra Tiwari and Kunickaa Sadanand, assured the court that they will file appropriate proceedings before the Family Court at Mumbai for visitation rights to and custody of his daughter, who at present is in the wife’s custody.
The court was hearing a habeas corpus (produce person in court) petition seeking direction to his estranged wife and in-laws to produce the infant. The couple married in India as per the Muslim Personal Law and the child was born in Mumbai, therefore she is an Indian citizen.
The court noted that, on three occasions, it had tried to persuade the couple to try to amicably settle the matter "taking into consideration the paramount interest of the child".
“However, our efforts could not yield positive results. At this stage, we do not want to discuss the non-cooperation by either of the parties, as it is not an issue to be decided in the present petition,” a division bench of Justices Ajey Gadkari and Shyam Chadak noted on February 5.
Apart from the case filed by the man for allegedly abducting the child, another case was registered by Azad maidan police station against the wife and her parents for allegedly trying to manipulate certain documents to leave India with an Emergency Travel document for travelling to Uzbekistan. The investigation of both crimes is in progress and police have not yet filed final reports.
The bench granted liberty to the woman to file appropriate proceedings before the Family Court/ Civil Court, if so advised, for appropriate reliefs of accommodation and maintenance.
Earlier, the HC expressed concern about the “casual manner” in which the police maintain case diaries and directed the Maharashtra Director General of Police (DGP) to personally look into the issue. The court noted that it regularly came across matters wherein case diaries were not being maintained by the police as mandated in law.
In the present case, the police had arrested the woman and her mother from Amritsar without serving a notice as required by law. The HC has kept the matter for hearing on February 13 checking compliance with the directions to the DGP.