An Ahmedabad man, living in Minnesota (US) has sought repatriation of his daughter from her mother’s custody in the city.
The Gujarat high court issued notice to the state government and the woman, after her husband filed a petition for repatriation of their three-year-old daughter to the US.
The HC sought replies in this case after the husband instituted a divorce and child custody suit in a Minnesota court. The wife has approached a family court here, seeking a divorce and permanent custody of her daughter.
According to submissions before the HC, the petitioner was employed in the US and the woman went there on a tourist visa.
They met in the US for the first time, fell in love and married in 2018. They lived in New Jersey initially and after a while moved to Minnesota. The woman also took up a job there.
In February, the couple came to Ahmedabad with the child and were to return in March. The woman chose to stay back and postponed her return, while the husband returned. The woman later told her husband that she would remain in India with her daughter. He insisted that she at least send the child to Minnesota, so her education could begin.
The woman remained adamant on not joining the husband in the US. This led him to approach a court in Minnesota for a divorce and custody, as the child is a US citizen.
The man’s advocate told the HC here that the US court, in two orders passed in June, had issued notice to the wife but she chose not to appear before it.
In July, the US court issued directions to the mother to repatriate the daughter to the US and return her to her father’s custody. On the other hand, the woman instituted a family suit seeking a divorce and permanent custody of the child here.
The petitioner’s counsel submitted before the HC that from the US court’s order, the mother is in illegal custody of the child.
He cited various orders from child custody battles by which children were ordered to be sent to the US because they were US citizens.
The bench of Justice AY Kogje and Justice Mauna Bhatt asked the lawyer about how much the US court’s order is binding on the HC in a habeas corpus petition. A further hearing has been posted for October 3.