The Hague treaty on inter-country abduction of children:India not yet ready to sign
The government is not yet ready to sign the Hague treaty on
inter-country abduction of children by parents fleeing a bad marriage.
There has been immense pressure from the U.S. on the
government to sign the treaty though the government has long held the view that
the decision could lead to harassment of women escaping marital discord or
The government is not yet ready to sign the Hague treaty. If
at all we do, we will follow the Japan example and put safeguards in place
before acceding to the Hague treaty.
This is not a unilateral decision my Ministry can take.
It has to be a political decision this government needs to
take. We have sent the report to the Ministry of External Affairs and other
Ministries, and we are waiting for a reaction from them.
The Hague Convention is a multi-national treaty that seeks
to protect children wrongfully removed by one of the parents from the custody
of the other parent.
A committee constituted by the Centre to examine legal
issues involved in international parental abduction submitted its report in
April, opposing a central provision of the Hague Convention.
The criterion of habitual residence of the child, which is
used to determine whether the child was wrongfully removed by a parent as well
as to seek the return of the child to the country of habitual residence, was
not in the best interest of the child.
It also recommended setting up of a Child Removal Disputes
Resolution Authority to act as a nodal body to decide on the custody of the
child as well as a model law to deal with such disputes.
However, the government is contemplating assigning the
National Commission for Protection of Children the responsibility to adjudicate
on such cases along with a judicial expert.
While the government had decided in late 2016 that it will
not sign the Hague treaty, later it appointed a panel to prepare a report
indicating that there was some rethinking within the government on the matter.