Kerala High Court pulled up for exceeding jurisdiction

Friday, July 16, 2010

NEW DELHI - The Supreme Court Friday wondered how Kerala High Court could pass an order, on visitation rights for a father over his daughter, that was beyond its jurisdiction.

“How could it be enforced as the mother who is having the custody of the child is residing in Dubai?” asked the apex court bench of Justice Aftab Alam and Justice R.M. Lodha.

“It is beyond the competence of the Kerala High Court to pass such an order”.

The high court, while reviewing its earlier order, said that the father, Muhammed Ashraf - who lives in Abu Dhabi - would have the custody of the child for 15 days during summer vacations and would be allowed to meet the child twice a month. It directed the Indian consulate in Dubai to enforce its orders.

Appearing for Ashraf, counsel P.N. Noor Mohammad told the apex court that in compliance with the high court’s order, the Indian mission could be asked to enforce the order.

At this, Justice Lodha said: “How could the Indian embassy forcibly take away the child from the mother. It just can’t be done. It would land the Indian embassy in criminal breach of their (Dubai’s) laws”.

Noor Mohammad said that the high court pronounced its order after a consent decree between the estranged couple. Justice Alam said that then they could file a contempt case against the child’s mother Febin as and when she visits India.

Appearing for the mother, M.P. Raju said that in 2009, the high court revised its earlier order that was passed in the wake of consent decree without affording an opportunity to his client to present her case.

Raju told the court that the high court’s interim order was stayed Aug 28, 2009 but Sep 11, 2009, the apex court held that interim order of the high court would continue.

Febin and Ashraf were married Nov 11, 1997 and their daughter was born Feb 26, 2000. On Nov 6, 2007, the Sharia Court in Dubai decreed divorce between the two.

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