- The Ministry of Women and Child Development held a National Consultation to discuss issues related to India’s accession to Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, in New Delhi.
- Addressing the participants, Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi said that a large number of women married to Indians abroad are compelled to return to India with their children when they undergo violence in their marriages.
- Accordingly, based on the discussions and guidance given there, it was decided that the Chandigarh Judicial Academy Chandigarh along with NRI Commission of Punjab to examine in detail the legal issues involved by taking all viewpoints into account including those of suffering women. They will give recommendations as to how the problems of parents and children involved in such situations can be addressed. They will also study the draft Protection of Children (Inter-Country Removal and Retention) Bill, 2016 .
- It was also decided that if a model legislation is required to safeguard the interests of parents and children, the same will be drafted. It was decided that this exercise will be completed in four months.
- Hague Convention is a multilateral treaty which came into existence on 1st December, 1983. The convention seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of abduction and retention across international boundaries by providing a procedure to bring about their prompt return.
- The convention is intended to enhance the international recognition of rights of custody and access arising in place of habitual residence, and to ensure prompt return of the child who is wrongfully removed or retained from the place of habitual residence.
- It seeks to return children abducted or retained overseas by a parent to their country of habitual residence for the courts of that country to decide on matters of residence and contact.
- The convention shall apply to any child, up to the age of 16 years who is a habitual resident of any of the contacting states.
Status in India:
- Currently, there is no specific Indian legislation addressing issues related to abduction of children from and into India. However Law Commission of India had submitted the 218th Report titled “Need to accede to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980” on 30th March, 2009.
- In view of this report, before acceding to the Convention, the Ministry of Women and Child Development prepared a draft Bill titled “The Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Bill, 2016”.
- The draft Bill was placed on the Ministry’s website for comments and suggestions from various stakeholders.
- The Law Commission of India has recently suggested some modifications in the above mentioned Bill and re-named it as the “The Protection of Children (Inter-country Removal and Retention) Bill, 2016”.