Plea seeking guidelines on International Parental Child Abduction: hearing progressing in Supreme Court

SC to decide Balwant Singh Rajoana's Mercy Plea by Jan 25

A Supreme Court Bench headed by Justice Rohinton Nariman on Tuesday continued the hearing of a petition seeking guidelines on the trend of international parental child abduction over custody disputes.

Thread of arguments in the Supreme Court

Advocate for the Petitioner while advancing arguments.

He refers to various international obligations that substantiate the framing of guidelines against abduction of children across borders.

Advocate for Petitioner refers to Vishakha vs. State of Rajhasthan to substantiate that the CEDAW guidelines laid down the requirement of setting up Sexual Harassment At Workplace Laws and that is why the SC acted on the same in 1997. 

Advocate asserts that there exists an obligation on India to act on International guidelines, especially since there is no contradictions in the Municipal laws and international conventions that India has ratified for effectuating Child Protection. 

We are seeking a time bound mechanism for actively working on the wrongful removal (or abduction) of a child in light of International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA) 

Adv. Farasat appearing for the Petitioner asserts that it is a huge emotional turmoil for the abducted child & for the other parent who is left behind. To depict this turmoil, he shows the Bench a poignant photograph painted by an abducted child “Ruchika”.

With this, he concludes. 

One of the Advocates touches upon the sensitive and growing problem of international parental child abductions – when a parent takes the child away from their home country without the knowledge of the other parent and sheds light on the plight of mothers. 

She insists that the primary issue is also “Gender” which needs to be looked at, which means that women are more disadvantaged.

“Women get married abroad and face abuse, they bring their child here and then issues begin”

She argues that a mechanism which encompasses trans-atlantic orders that are “mirrored” needs to be formulated to avoid harassment of women.

At this Juncture, Justice Nariman asks – “What if a father is facing abuse and he runs away with a child? What about them? How can we generalise?”

Advocate replies – “I’m sorry Milords, in all these cases, we only see the woman at the losing end”

“Often, by not granting a woman who has escaped an abusive marriage, we disallow the mother from acting as a primary caregiver. Without sounding millitant, i’d like to state that this is nothing but an “assertion of power” on the woman”, she adds.

Advocate arguing for the interest of women who have been at the receiving end of domestic violence & abuse contends that there is a need to counteract this and also protect the interest of children being brought up in such situations. At this juncture, ASG Pinky Anand interjects. “Habeas Corpus” Petitions were earlier frowned upon by this Court. The Bench rises. The arguments shall continue tomorrow.

International parental child abduction laws in India

Each state has its own laws representing parental rights and duties, yet for the most part, guardians are the people that have a legitimate care of a child. A child can’t have more than two legitimate guardians at any given moment. In re McGrath (Infants), Lindley LJ said: “The dominant matter for the consideration or the Court is the welfare of the child. But the welfare of a child is not to be measured by money only, nor by physical comfort only. The word welfare must be taken in its widest sense. The moral and religious welfare of the child must be considered as well as its physical well-being. Nor can the ties of affection be disregarded.”

Abduction’ is Defined under section 362 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 as an act compelling or taking away a person by deceitful means inducing him to go from any place. Abduction, all things considered, isn’t just an offence, rather is a helper demonstration not culpable in itself, but rather when it is joined by a goal to submit another offence, it as such ends up noticeably culpable as an offence. On account of ‘parental abduction’, these supposed ‘abductors’, are the vast majority of the circumstances, adoring guardians. The child is taken away by a parent to some other place as a result of the dread of losing his/her care i.e. such an abduction, as expressed prior, is out of overpowering adoration and friendship and not to hurt the child or accomplish some other ulterior reason. Despite the fact that many states don’t have a penal code entitled “Parental Abduction,” most have organized their general Abduction laws to accommodate a similar kind of offence

Ingredients of parental child abduction

Whether or not the taking of a child by a parent will constitute parental Abduction is controlled by three primary variables, including;

  • The legitimate status of the culpable parent,
  • The presence of any court orders with respect to care, and
  • The goal of the culpable parent.

Why Might a Parent Kidnap a child?

  • Disagreement With Custody Order
  • Fear of Harm To child
  • Revenge Against The Other Parent

The aim of the hague convention,1980

Essentially, The Hague Convention, 1980 looks to accomplish two factors in particular—to shield a child. from the destructive impact of such expulsion; and to secure incite return and re-reconciliation of the child in a domain of his or her ‘ongoing living arrangement’, and both these targets compare to the particular thought concerning what constitutes the ‘best enthusiasm of the child’.


“The Hague Convention, 1980, in spite of the fact that uses the word ‘Abduction’, it isn’t proposed as in a common instance of abduction under criminal law. Thusly, the word ‘abduction’ inside The Hague Convention, 1980, is to be considered as shorthand for a more proper phrasing, “wrongful evacuation or maintenance” which shows up all through in the content of The Hague Convention, 1980. Consequently, at the start, the Law Commission is of the Opinion that the word ‘abduction’ in the present Bill, be shed. In any case, wrongful expulsion and maintenance not just purpose genuine preference to the next parent yet may seriously affect the general improvement of the child. All the more along these lines, such wrongful evacuation and maintenance might be in absolute dismissal or infringing upon the 13 requests of the capable court with respect to authority of the child”

Advantages of the 1980 convention suggested by the law commission

  • The current circumstance plays under the control of the abducting custodian. The culpable parent now and again usurps the part of the able Court. Earlier India’s non-signatory status had the negative effect on an outside Judge who regularly decreases a parent from taking the child to India dreading non-return. The Convention stays away from the issues that may emerge in Courts of various nations which are similarly skilled to choose such issues
  • The ideal arrangement will turn it into a signatory to The Hague Convention and establish an Indian International child Abduction Law and make a Central Authority for contact and for looking for settling under the watchful eye of assigned existing Indian Courts to determine such question to choose outline return or to render choices on justifying. In light of a legitimate concern for the child, the stalemate must end.
  • Without a residential law on “between parental child abduction” in India, all the time offspring of such NRIs who have grown up abroad turned out to be noiseless casualties of their individual conjugal debate when they are coercively brought back by one of the guardians. Be that as it may, this is set to change.
  • Like 90 nations that are a signatory to the 1983 Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Parental Child Abduction, a persuasive expulsion of a child from a nation where they are constantly dwelling to India may soon turn into an offence.
  • The Hague Convention looks for “to shield to shield child universally from the unsafe impacts of their wrongful evacuation or maintenance and to set up methods to guarantee them to provoke come back to the State of their ongoing habitation, and in addition to secure insurance for the privileges of access.”
  • India is not currently a signatory to The Hague Convention. A nation needs to have a residential law set up before it can turn into a signatory.
  • The number of cases identified with between parental childcare clashes has gone up forcefully. The Hague Convention, a multilateral settlement created by The Hague Conference on Private International Law gives a quick technique for restoring child taken starting with the one-part country then onto the next.
  • The Convention was drafted to “guarantee the provoke return of the child who has been snatched from their nation of routine living arrangement or wrongfully held in a contracting state not their nation of ongoing home.”
  • The essential goal of the Convention is to safeguard whatever the present state of affairs child authority course of action existed instantly before an asserted wrongful evacuation or maintenance consequently preventing a parent from intersection worldwide limits looking for a more thoughtful court.

Edited by Pragash Boopal

Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje

I am Soma Singh from Sharda University School of Law, my interest areas are Corporate law, jurisprudence and ADR. I describe myself as an ambivert. Enjoys reading mythological tales