HC notice to US woman on plea of estranged S African spouse
New Delhi: The city government and a US national of Indian origin were on Monday issued notices by the Delhi High Court on her estranged South African husband's plea for the custody of their six-year-old daughter, allegedly brought illegally to India by his wife.
A bench of justices Sanjiv Khanna and S P Garg asked the Delhi Government and the woman to respond to her husband Philip David Dexter's petition and fixed it for hearing on December 13.
The court, meanwhile, allowed Dexter, who has come all the way from South Africa to file a case here, to meet his daughter today at the US embassy here.
It also said from November 6 to 10, Dexter would be allowed to meet his kid from 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm everyday at the Delhi High Court mediation centre and later, the father can remain in touch with her through "phone, email and skype."
Dexter, in his plea filed through lawyers Anil Malhotra and Rajat Bhalla, said their daughter was holding a South African Passport and she has been brought "illegally" by his estranged wife to India.
Dexter had married the US citizen in 2004 at a church in South Africa where she was conducting "research at University of Cape Town in South Africa", the petition said.
The girl, born on June 19, 2006 at Panaji, Goa here, also had an Indian Passport, which was valid upto September 14, 2011, has not been renewed, it said, adding that it was agreed by the spouses that they would abide by the decisions by the African courts and authorities.
"On September 23, 2010, petitioner (husband) and respondent no.2 (wife) executed consent paper to terminate marriage by irretrievable break down as per South African laws. Parties consented to divorce, joint custody and joint decision rights of (the child). None of the parties was authorised to remove (the child) from South Africa without each other's consent," it said.
The woman had "unequivocally and unconditionally"
submitted to the jurisdiction of the South African law and its courts for this settlement, the petition said.
"Respondent no.2 (woman) moved Western Cape High Court under Children's Act 38 of 2005 to take ... (child) to London for a holiday from September 27, 2011 to October 2, 2011 to enable her to meet her sister..," it said, adding she illegally brought the kid to India.
Later, the mother got an ex-parte order from a family court here which have her the "exclusive custody" of the child, the petition said.