Thursday, August 23, 2018

India’s ‘Bindal’ Committee Promotes International Child Abduction

My article, India’s ‘Bindal’ Committee promotes international child abduction has been published in the current (9/18) edition of the International Family Law Journal
In the article, I explain that the debate in India concerning the prevention of international child abduction to India, and India’ s potential accession to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, took a major turn for the worse with the publication in May 2018 of a report by a committee headed by Justice Rajesh Bindal and appointed by India’ s Ministry of Women and Child Development.
The Committee rejected the fundamental thesis of the Hague Convention, which is that abducted children should normally be promptly returned to their habitual residence, without a determination of the custody issues concerning the children, unless one of six very narrow exceptions is established. 
Instead, the Committee insisted that abducted children should not be returned to the country from which a parent has abducted them unless it is in their best interest to do so and unless any one of several other broadly-described exceptions is shown to exist.
The Committee’ s report includes a proposed statute which would establish a quasi-judicial “Inter-Country Parental Child Removal Disputes Resolution Authority” in India to handle international child abduction cases. 
In my opinion, the proposed legislation would provide a green light to parents to snatch their children away from their other parents and from their places of habitual residence outside India, would further cement India’ s status as a proven safe haven for international child abduction, and would further encourage international child abduction to India. 
In the meantime, the Committee’ s report makes it clear that left-behind parents should not normally expect that the courts in India will ever cause an abducted child to be returned, if the abducting parent claims that it would be unconducive or unbeneficial to do so.