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Thursday, 31 December 2009

Foreign court's writ upheld again in custody battle (Canada and India)

Foreign court's writ upheld again in custody battle (Canada and India)
A Subramani, TNN 14 December 2009, 04:18am IST
CHENNAI: Less than a month after an NRI couple’s bitter legal battle over the custody of their minor son, an identical case has come to light. Like Vijayshree Voora, who was directed by the Supreme Court to return to the US with her son and submit herself before the New York family court, in this one too, Nandini Venkatesh has been asked to return to Canada, with her two children — Dhruv Bardwaj, 15, and Meghna Bardwaj, 11.

In both cases, the courts have thus underlined the emotional as well as legal rights of the biological father on foreign soil. And both courts have said that when a consent order of a foreign court is there, it can’t be brushed aside lightly.

The present case came to light after a civil suit was filed in Madras High Court for A Sethuraman (75), the grandfather of the children.

He wanted the parents —Nandini Venkatesh and Tirupathi Srinivasa Venkatesh — to be restrained from harassing him or taking the children to Canada. Moved by his plea, justice S Rajasuria passed an interim order on September 3, allowing the children to remain with their grandfather. At that stage it appeared as if the litigation was between the maternal grandfather on one side and the parents on the other.

A clearer picture emerged when the father, Venkatesh, appealed in court, stating that the provincial court of Ontario in Canada had already declared that the couple as well as the children were Canadian citizens and that they all came under the jurisdiction of that court.

Based on the couple’s consent on July 10, the Ontario court permitted Nandini to bring the children to India for a vacation and return to the Ontario court's jurisdiction and their father's care on or before September 6.
Venkatesh claimed that the present civil suit was filed to avoid returning the children to Canada. A court inquiry revealed that Nandini worked in Delhi and that the children were studying in a school there.

Justice Rajasuria took exception to the maternal grandfather's decision to shift the children to Delhi without the prior permission of the court.

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