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Toddler taken away by father, HC orders issuance of LOC against man's family


Press Trust of India New Delhi
The custody battle of a toddler took an ugly turn on Wednesday as the Delhi High Court ordered Look Out Circulars (LOC) to be issued against the family of the father, who illegally took her away to Nepal, holding that they are mistaken that money can buy anything.
While the passport of the two-and-a half-year old girl was deposited in the court so that she could not be taken out of the country by either parent for the time being, a bench of Justices Manmohan and Sangita Dhingra Sehgal was informed by the Delhi Police that the man had taken her to West Bengal from where he took a taxi to Nepal.
The court was hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by the girl's mother, who was earlier granted her interim custody, seeking production of the child as she was not returned to her by the man on August 24. The father and grandparents were granted visitation rights.
A habeas corpus plea requires a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or a court.
Taking a stern view of the defiance, the court directed the Delhi Police to open LOC against the man's mother and sister to ensure that they do not travel abroad till they deposit their passports in the court.
Standing counsel (criminal) Rahul Mehra and advocate Chaitanya Gosain, appearing for the Delhi Police, filed a status report informing the court that an LOC has been opened against the man and the child to prevent them from travelling abroad and the man's mother, sister and servants were examined but they did not cooperate.
A Look Out Circular is issued to prevent persons who are required by law enforcement authorities from leaving the country.
The bench said it was of a prima facie view that it was a case of abduction by the child's father and directed the police to register an FIR forthwith and investigate the matter.
The court also impleaded the Ministry of External Affairs as a party in the case, saying it was inclined to issue an order for cancellation of the man's passport. It sought response of the ministry on the issue and listed the matter for further hearing on September 5.
It has also ordered initiation of contempt proceedings against the man, a resident of South Delhi's posh Vasant Vihar area, for wilfully violating the court orders.
"This is a matter where people think money can buy anything. They are sadly mistaken. This message should reach them," the bench said, adding that it was losing its cool and the man has to be found for which his financial routes have to be stopped.
It added, "This is a case where someone has breached the undertaking given to the court. You must understand no one can mock at the court. It is the financial assistance which is helping him."

The child's mother and the police informed the court that the man has taken their daughter along with two others to Bagdogra in West Bengal and from there they boarded a taxi for Kakarvitta, Nepal border.
The woman has told the court that in 2017, her father-in-law had taken the baby to Bangkok for a trip and from there, he took her to Dubai where he has a residence.
When she went to Dubai, she was not allowed to meet the child after which she approached the court and the minor was brought back to Delhi.
The court had earlier made it clear that both the parents shall strictly abide by the interim custody and visitation arrangement and other conditions, and if it is reported that either of the two parties have not complied with this condition, or have resisted its compliance, the court shall reconsider the arrangement.

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First Published: Aug 28 2019 | 6:55 PM IST

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