This is an open letter to Ms. Neeta Lal in reply to her article published in Gulf News titled
A new American Bill causes unease in India
A new bill introduced by the United States Congress has created a kerfuffle in India because India does not consider parental abduction as crime and parent alienation as child abuse. Majority of the developed Countries do consider parental abduction as crime and child abuse; and that is one of the reasons these developed Countries including Pakistan is signatory to The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, 1980.
Denying parental abduction will create an Indian society comprises of fatherless children and motherless children. This raises question for you Ms. Lal and for the entire India ‘what kind of society are we building?’ Are we paving the path to fatherless and motherless society?
India is a leading participant in a global village today and seeks to have good relationships with all the countries. Given that, it is imperative for India to recognize the challenges that come with it like International Parental Child Abduction (IPCA) and address them proactively to remain relevant in international affairs. “Bindu Philips and Devon Davenport International Child Abduction Return Act of 2017” is result of India and other countries non-compliance in returning American children to their habitual residence.
Ms. Lal, you wrote “The eponymous “Bindu Philips and Devon Davenport International Child Abduction Return Act of 2017” refers to two parents both of whom allege that their kids were abducted by their spouses and taken to India and Brazil respectively and their custodies not handed back to them despite US court’s orders”. First, when there is court order then it is no more allegations. Second, India’s denial to parental abduction does not mean the crime has not been committed. It is indeed committed in the Law of the Land. For example, ‘sati pratha’ was not a crime in India but as per British Laws it was cold blooded murder. When British intervened and threatened ‘you follow your culture we will follow our law’ during their rule and that caused decline in ‘sati’ tradition; and later law was introduced in India to stop it.
The statistics of last three years, according to the Department of State (USA), shows India is ranked number 2 where maximum USA born-citizen kids of Indian origin are abducted and retained illegally. India has become safe haven for IPCA.
India is already a United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) signatory. Hence, India is under obligation to respect the rights of the child and make sure the child enjoys healthy relationship with both parents. The Hague Abduction Convention facilitates this by expediting the return of the child from the place it was uprooted thus ensuring the continued parental care for the child. India is in violation of many articles of UNCRC. Reference: https://fightipca.files.wordpress.com/2017/05/un-crc-and-india.pdf
Law Commission of India objection to the very use of the term “child abduction” is DISAGREED. Yes, one parent can abduct a child or children to settle the scores with spouse by keeping child/children away from him/her. The Abducting Parent is committing a child abuse to his/her own child/children by depriving love and affection of other parent. Please note, a child or children has no argument with his/her parents. All they want is their love, affection, care, and warm company. Abducting parent is a wall between left-behind-parent and children, Indian laws reinforces this wall. Parental abduction is a crime, Law Commission of India has to accept it at one point sooner or later. “such an abduction … is out of overwhelming love and affection and not to harm the child or achieve any other ulterior purpose”. Is “Overwhelming love and affection” which deprives love and affection of other parent worth it, justified? The ulterior purpose of abducting parent is to settle scores with spouse and forum-shopping of gender-biased laws.
Ministry of Women and Child Development and Ministry of External Affairs refusal to sign The Hague Convention is one of the reasons for “Bindu Phillip and Devon Davenport International Child Abduction Return Act of 2017”.
Signing The Hague Convention will also mean India is with rest of the developing countries.
Indian courts cannot decide what’s best for the child when Indian court orders are not even executed properly in India itself. There is no provision of joint custody in Indian court orders and visitation of other parent is life threatening business.
“Adhering to the Convention would be calamitous for Indian women trying to escape abusive marriages abroad with their children and returning to the safety of their homes in India.” This is a propaganda and false narrative build by lawyers who make money in dollars and pounds out of this business. Please visit USA, UK, and Europe and find out how women of any nation is well protected and supported by the Government and social organizations.
Violent relationship is to be decided by the courts. Please note that the rate of conviction under Domestic Violence Act 2005 and 498a is the least in all form of criminal cases in India. Spouse who is in violent relationship can also get out of relationship in foreign country then why that person has to flee to India? One wears GUCCI, Chanel, Armani, vacations, upscale living, but for divorce and child custody matters flee to India. What’s there in India? It is the judicial system of India which is a magnet to child abductors to take advantage.
Very recently on July 8, 2017, the Chief Justice of India, Hon’ble Shri Jagdish Singh Khehar, addressed the issue of India’s failure to sign the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and called upon the government to make a comprehensive law as children are the future of the nation and protection of their physical, mental and moral health cannot be compromised due to matrimonial disputes. Therefore, it is the Government’s duty to come up with a comprehensive law at international level.
Team Fight IPCA