Apex court to decide custody of NRI child abducted by mother


New Delhi: The Supreme Court Tuesday decided to take a call next Wednesday on the question of the custody of a US-born minor child, abducted by his Indian mother from New York and brought here after she divorced her estranged husband.

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A bench of Justice Tarun Chatterjee and Justice G.S. Singhvi decided to take a call on the issue of the child’s custody after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), acting on the court’s Aug 29 order, traced seven-year-old Adithya, who was in the custody of his mother Vijayashree Voora, in Chennai Oct 25.

Voora had been on the run all over the country to keep the child in her custody.

The bench told the CBI to keep the child in its custody at the government’s guest house till next Wednesday.

The bench earlier had ordered the CBI to trace the child on a plea by his father V. Ravi Chandran, who had moved the apex court in September 2007 after his divorced wife brought the child to India violating the New York Supreme Court’s order, granting him and his divorced wife joint custody of the child.

The bench ordered the CBI to intervene after the police of various states failed to trace the minor child, with his mother consistently on the move from one state to another for the last two years to dodge the police.

The apex court’s order had come on the plea by Ravi Chandran, a New York-based medical practitioner, who had got married to Voora in Tirupathi in December 2000. The couple had a son on July 1, 2002 in the US.

But shortly thereafter, relations between the couple turned sour and Voora moved New York’s apex court in July 2003 for divorce. While adjudicating on the divorce plea, the New York court on April 18, 2005, granted the couple joint custody of the child, stipulating that both the parties would keep the other informed about the whereabouts of the child.

The New York family court had eventually also passed the divorce decree in September 2005, incorporating its order on the child’s custody in the decree, and stipulated that both the parties will have alternative physical custody of the minor child on a weekly basis.

But as per Chandran’s plea, Voora had brought the minor child to India and informed him that she would be living with the child in Chennai.

Chandran had first approached a New York family court, pointing out the violation of the state’s Supreme Court order by Voora.

The New York court granted exclusive custody of the child to Chandran, but for the enforcement of the New York court’s order, Chandran moved the Indian Supreme Court September 2007.

During adjudication of Chandran’s plea, the apex court found that despite efforts made by police officers and officials of different states, such as senior superintendent of police (SSP), Agra, SSP Chandigarh, director general of police (DGP), Tamil Nadu, DGP, Karnataka, and commissioner of police, Bangalore City, Adithya and his mother could not be traced.

Accordingly, the apex court asked CBI to trace the child.