Gujarat High Court allows Indian-American mother to withdraw habeas corpus plea seeking custody of her daughters

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The Gujarat High Court recently allowed an American citizen of Indian origin, who had filed a habeas corpus petition seeking custody of her daughters from her husband, to withdraw her plea while observing that each party has the “right” to withdraw the procedure.

He hopes, however, that since the case involves two minor children, the parties will act in their best interests.

“While allowing withdrawal, which is the right of each party, this Court is of the view that both parties must act in the best interests of their children and that it is therefore desirable that they attempt a settlement at the ‘amicable’, Judge Sonia Gokani and Judge Mauna Bhatt observed.

The petition was filed by the mother who was harmed by the alleged violation of the New Jersey Superior Court’s order that granted the petitioner in-person parenting time beginning on 30and from January 27, 2022 to 27and February 2022. Accordingly, the Petitioner also sought an order of mandamus ordering Defendants 1-3 to return custody of Defendants 3.1 and 3.2 (the girls) in the interests of justice.

The Chamber, while noting that arrangements had been made for the mother to meet the children at the weekend, expressed the wish that the parties venture into an amicable settlement of their differences for the well-being children. However, the mediation conducted between the parties did not yield any results.

Subsequently, the Respondent alleged that the Applicant was not cooperating with the process of obtaining the Overseas Indian Citizenship Card and this may become the reason why the process of issuing the OCI Card is not proceeding. smooth.

Given all of these issues, the bench had scheduled the case for a final hearing, but the petitioner requested that the motion be withdrawn and wanted to pursue legal proceedings in the United States. This was strongly contested by the defendant alleging that it was done to derail the OCI card process and to ensure that the children do not remain in India.

The bench however observed that custody of the two girls by way of temporary restraint was denied by the New Jersey Superior Court, Chancery Division, Middlesex County, on 06.10.2021. Even though the Applicant withdrew the plea of ​​habeas corpus, the Chamber emphasized that the parties settle the dispute amicably in the best interests of the child.

Accordingly, the Family Court was ordered to expedite the proceedings taking into account the ages of the children, while the parties would be free to request and inform the relevant authorities issuing the OCI card of the expectation. of the dispute between them. The applicant was ordered to cooperate in the process of issuing the OCI card.

Case Title: Vaishali Nishit Patel v State of GujaratVaishali Nishit Patel v State of Gujara

Case No.: R/SCR.A/1717/2022

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