New Delhi: The Supreme Court has ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to trace a US-born minor who was abducted by his Indian mother from New York and brought here after she divorced her estranged husband.
A bench of Justice Tarun Chatterjee and Justice R.M. Lodha ordered the CBI director to trace the child on a plea by his father V. Ravi Chandran, who moved the apex court for its help in September 2007 after his divorced wife brought the child to India violating a New York supreme court's order, granting him and his divorced wife joint custody of the child.
The bench ordered the CBI to intervene after the police of various states failed to trace the minor child, with his mother Vijayashree Voora consistently on the move from one state to another, dodging the police for the last two years.
'We direct the registry of this court to write a letter to the director, CBI, requesting him to trace minor Adithya Chandran,' said the apex court in a ruling, delivered on Friday, but released on Saturday.
To facilitate the CBI's task, the apex court also gave special powers to the CBI director, extending the jurisdiction of the officer all over India and directed state police not to impede his work of searching for the minor boy.
'For the said purpose, he (CBI director) and the officer nominated by him will enjoy all the powers of police officer for carrying out search and issue non-bailable warrants, if necessary, and pick up minor Adithya Chandran wherever he is found without interference from any one and to produce him before this Court with his report,' the court said.
The apex court's order came on the plea by New York-based medical practitioner, Ravi Chandran, who got married to Vijayashree Voora in Tirupathi in December 2000. The couple had a son on July 1, 2002 in the US.
Women come to rule south block
But shortly thereafter, relations between the couple turned sour and Voora moved New York's apex court in July 2003 for divorce. While adjudicating the divorce plea, the court on April 18, 2005, granted the couple joint custody of the child, stipulating that both the parties would keep the other informed about the whereabouts of the child.
The court eventually also passed the divorce decree in September 2005, incorporating its order on the child's custody in the decree, and stipulated that both the parties will have alternative physical custody of the minor child on a weekly basis.
But as per Chandran's plea, Voora brought the minor child to India and informed him that she would be living with the child in Chennai. Chandran first approached a New York family court, pointing out the violation of the state's Supreme Court order by Voora.
The New York court granted exclusive custody of the child to Chandran, but for the enforcement of the New York court's order, Chandran moved the Indian Supreme Court September 2007.
During adjudication of Chandran's plea, the apex court found that despite efforts made by police officers and officials of different states, such as senior superintendent of police (SSP), Agra, SSP Chandigarh, director general of police (DGP), Tamil Nadu, DGP, Karnataka, and commissioner of police, Bangalore City, the minor child Adithya and his mother Voora could not be traced.
''It is almost two years since the notice was issued by this court but the child could not be produced. Voora is also said to be mentally unstable and running around with the child from one state to another. In the peculiar and extraordinary circumstances such as the present one, we are of the view that central investigating agency, i.e. CBI, may be assigned the task of tracing minor Adithya Chandran,'' ruled the court.
''This has become all the more necessary for the protection of health and safety of the minor,'' the court said.