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HC tries to help feuding Canadian couple

Out on vacation for 40 days in India, an Indian origin couple, residents of Canada, are battling over the custody of their two children. While a Canadian Court has restrained the mother from meeting the child and handing over their custody to the father, the Punjab and Haryana High Court is trying to reconcile the differences between the couple.

So much so that a Judge of the High Court has spent a few hours acting as mediator with the family members inside his chamber. So that disgruntled family members do not come in the way of the couple, a fortnight ago the High Court had asked the couple to stay in a city hotel with the children. The couple appeared before the Court again. However, owing to some differences, the Court has yet again given the couple and the two children (six-year-old boy and 11-year-old girl) one week’s time to spend time together. The couple will first spend some days in the UT where the husband owns a flat, and then in Patiala, where the wife’s father lives.

The couple (names withheld) with their two children had come from Canada to India for a 40-day vacation. from June 22 to August 3. The couple was putting up in the house of the husband in Sector 38, Chandigarh.

The husband, a senior chief engineer with British Columbia Ferries at British Columbia, Canada, in his petition filed through Advocate Anil Malhotra, has alleged that a few days after he came to Chandigarh, his wife’s father took away the children to Patiala without informing him. The couple reportedly had some differences owing to which the wife and her father took away the two children to Patiala. Aggrieved, the husband flew back to Canada on July 17 and moved the Canadian Court. Taking immediate cognisance of the matter and terming it prima facie a case of abduction, the Court restrained the wife and her father from keeping the custody of the children.

Armed with a Court order, the husband returned to Chandigarh. As per rules, the husband filed a habeas corpus in the Punjab and Haryana High Court. Advocate Anil Malhotra, appearing on behalf of the husband, contended that the couple should enter into a compromise and mutually solve their differences so that the family can return to Canada. After a habeas corpus was filed, the High Court appointed a warrant officer to get the custody of the two children from the mother in Patiala.

The warrant officer, in the first week of August, produced the children in Court. The HC Judge passed the order, “I have heard the parties again in chamber and find that there is a possibility of an amicable settlement. Therefore, the parties will reside without interference of the family either of the husband or the wife, together at an independent place. But they are liberty to check in at any hotel available in the city.”The Court had also issued notice to the Consulate General of Canada for assistance.

Shekhar Gupta
Capt. Shekhar Gupta [ Pilot, DIAM, M.Ae.S.I., MAOPA [USA] ] 
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