Indian courts can’t decide NRI family disputes: high court

New Delhi, March 9 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Tuesday ruled that Indian courts have no jurisdiction to adjudicate family disputes of India-born foreign nationals.

Justice S.N. Dhingra quashed the order of a lower court that allowed an Indian-American wife to get custody of her child when she came to India to meet her parents, and said the court had exceeded its jurisdiction.

He said: ‘I consider that the district judge exceeded his jurisdiction when he entertained the application made by the respondent (mother) for custody of the child and appointment of guardian.’

The court passed the order on a petition of the father, challenging the jurisdiction of the court to hear a petition of his wife on the ground that both of them had taken US citizenship five years back and their son was also born American.

‘The US court or any other court will take into account the welfare of the child while passing orders regarding minor children, keep in mind the overall welfare of the children… while weighing the rights of the parties to have custody,’ the court said.

In this case, Sanjeev and Ruchi got married in Delhi in 1996 and then migrated to the US and took its citizenship in 2004. Their son was born in 2001.

Due to differences between them, Ruchi refused to get back to the US after they had come to India to meet their parents. She also filed a case in a court here seeking legal custody of their son living with her.

The court passed the order in her favour, taking into consideration the welfare of the child. Aggrieved by the order, the husband approached the high court, which set aside the order and said Indian courts have no jurisdiction to decide the case.

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