Supreme Court allows US citizen to meet daughter in Kolkata


New Delhi : The Supreme Court Wednesday allowed a US citizen of Indian origin to meet his seven-year-old daughter in Kolkata where she is staying with his estranged wife.

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A vacation bench of Justice C.K. Thakkar and Justice L.S. Panta issued the order after meeting the child and her mother Nandini Choudhuri separately in their private chamber.

Though they did not record the child’s wishes in their order, they recorded the stand of the mother, who was opposed to flying the child to the US to meet her father Rana Roy as per a New Jersey court order.

Choudhuri, however, did not object to Roy flying down to Kolkata and meeting his daughter.

While passing order on lawsuits on the question of custody of a child to one of the two parents, judges generally take the wishes of the child as well into account.

The bench said Roy could fly down to Kolkata and meet his daughter at a mutually acceptable and convenient place in the city.

It also allowed him to talk to his daughter on phone between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. (India Time).

It said the father and daughter could also utilise webcam to see each other while talking over telephone.

Choudhuri, who has dual citizenship of India and the US, had moved the apex court challenging a New Jersey court’s order that asked her to allow her ex-husband to meet their daughter.

The US court’s order had also been endorsed by the Calcutta High Court, which asked Choudhuri to fly down to the US along with her daughter at her former husband’s expense and let him meet his daughter there.

Choudhuri and Roy were married a decade back while staying in the US and their daughter was born over seven years ago.

But eventually the marriage went sour and the couple got divorced as per a New Jersey court’s order, which granted the child’s custody to the mother. It, however, vested Roy the right to visit his daughter.

Meanwhile, Choudhuri left New Jersey and came back to Kolkata to meet her ailing father last year. She got the child admitted to a school in that city and continues to live there.

This prompted her ex-husband Roy to move the New Jersey court seeking enforcement of his right to visit his daughter. The court, then, heard Choudhuri as well on the issue and eventually ordered her to fly their daughter to New Jersey at Roy’s cost and let him meet her.

But Choudhuri again came back to India and challenged the New Jersey court’s order in the Calcutta High Court.