Mumbai: The Bombay High Court on Monday directed Bollywood filmmaker Mushtaq Nadiadwala to issue a private notice via courier to his estranged Pakistani wife in his plea seeking the return of their two minor children from Pakistan. The filmmaker has alleged that they have been taken by his Pakistani wife to the neighbouring country.
Advocate Kuldeep Patil, appearing for Interpol, informed the HC that they have established contact with the authorities in Islamabad. A report submitted by the Interpol stated that the children are attending school and are happy with their mother. It also mentioned that she had obtained a divorce from the filmmaker through court proceedings.
Beni Chatterji, appearing for Nadiadwala, contended that the wife should allow him to interact with their children. However, the bench, after going through the Interpol report, remarked that the wife was granting access and it was the petitioner who had not been in contact. The judges stressed on the importance of considering the best interests of the children.
To this, Chatterji contended that the children were Indian citizens and should be brought back to their father. He claimed that Nadiadwala frequently calls and sends gifts to them on their birthdays. He alleged that the children speak for a few seconds on the phone and are under the influence of the mother. Both the children are minors and cannot apply for passports or opt for citizenship as well, argued Chatterji.
Advocate for the Ministry of External Affairs informed the court that they have sent seven communications to their counterparts in Pakistan, but have not received any reply. He explained that under the Vienna Convention, their hands were tied without reciprocity.
According to Nadiadwala’s plea, his wife, a Pakistani national, was residing in India. However, during the Covid-19 lockdown, she went to Pakistan with their children and reportedly approached a local court to be declared the guardian of the children.