New Delhi: Indian courts have jurisdiction to deal with custodial disputes of minor children even if a foreign court has passed an order in favour of either of the parents, the Supreme Court has ruled in a matrimonial dispute of an NRI family.
A bench of justices VS Sirpurkar and TS Thakur said in a judgement said that simply because a foreign court has passed an order, Indian courts cannot "abjectly surrender" to it and shirk its duty of deciding the dispute.
"Simply because a foreign court has taken a particular view on any aspect concerning the welfare of the minor is not enough for the courts in this country to shut out an independent consideration of the matter. Objectivity, and not abject surrender, is the mantra in such cases," Justice
Thakur, writing the judgement, said.
The apex court passed the judgement while upholding an appeal filed by Ruchi Majoo challenging a Delhi High Court judgement that Indian courts have no jurisdiction under the doctrine of "comity of courts" to entertain any petition if a decree or order has already been passed by any foreign court.
A superior court in California had issued a red corner notice against Ruchi in a suit filed by her estranged US-based husband Sanjeev Majoo who had alleged his wife had fled with their minor son to India despite a decree by the US court granting him custody of the child.
The couple were living with the kid in the US before she returned to India in 2008. A Delhi court had on Ruchi`s application granted her custody of the child under the Guardians and Wards Act.
The Delhi High Court had, however, struck down the trial court`s order and asked the couple to submit themselves to the Californian court as all the three possessed US citizenship.
Aggrieved, the wife appealed through her counsel Ashish Bhan in the apex court where she accused her husband of being involved in pornography and adulterous relationship.
The husband, while denying the allegations, maintained that Indian courts had no jurisdiction since a decree had already been passed by the Californian court.