A division bench of the Bombay High Court, comprising Justice SS Shinde and Justice Manish Pitale, has refused to grant custody of two daughters to their US-based mother since they want to continue to stay in India with their father. In its decision, the bench said that although the desire of the daughters cannot be a deciding factor in this matter, it is of great relevance since the girls are nearing the majority, being 15 and 18 years old respectively.
This was expressed by the bench as, “The daughters clearly expressed their desire before us to continue to stay with their father in India, even though they have lived for a substantial part of their lives in the USA.”
The court also pointed out the fact that the daughters were studying in India, and stated that there were no doubts over the father’s financial capacity to take care of their requirements.
The estranged father had brought the two daughters to India for a trip, after which they did not return to the US. The mother thus took recourse to the high court for their custody, contending that this was in complete breach of consent shared-custody order of US court.
It was pointed out in her plea that the US court had granted the sole custody of both the daughters to the mother and also initiated contempt of court proceedings against the father, who had scant respect for the law, and the continuance of the daughters’ custody
with him is not in their best interests.