Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

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By admin February 21, 2019 10:43

Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

Hague Convention is a multilateral treaty developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH) that provides an expeditious method to return a child internationally abducted by a parent from one member country to another. The Convention was concluded October 1980 and entered into force between the signatories on 1 December 1983.

Why is it important for India?

  • There are over three crore Indians living abroad having cross-border marriages. When such diverse marriage breaks down, their children suffer as they are dragged into international legal battle between their parents over their custody. In this battle children are abducted by one parent and taken to country with different culture.
  • There has been a steady rise in parental abductions as more and more Indians go abroad to work or study. Children bear the brunt of parents’ marital disputes and are often forced to return to India by one of the quarrelling parents.

Mandate of the Act

  1. Enhance international recognition of rights of custody and access arising in place of habitual residence.
  2. Ensure prompt return of child who is wrongfully removed or retained from place of habitual residence.
  3. Return children abducted or retained overseas by parent to their country of habitual residence for courts of that country to decide on matters of residence.

Present Status

  • 96 states are party to it.
  • India is not signatory to it (as country has to have domestic law in place before it can become signatory).
  • The convention is applicable to any child, up to age of 16 years who is habitual resident of any of contacting states.

Requirements of the Act

The Hague Adoption Convention has several requirements.

  1. The adoption process includes establishing a “Central Authority” to serve as the country’s primary contact in adoption processes;
  2. Satisfying several checks for a child eligible for adoption, including verifying the propriety of the adoption under the laws of both countries; and
  3. Making a reasonable prior effort to facilitate a domestic adoption agreeing to use only certified adoption agencies.

Why India is not signing Hague Convention?

  1. India needs to have a domestic law in place before joining the treaty. Currently, there is no specific legislation in India addressing issues related to abduction of children from and into India.
  2. It makes inter-country abduction of children by parents a punishable offence.
  3. Signing the Hague convention on civil aspects of international child abduction would be against the interest of women who flee bad marriages
  4. Domestic Mechanism Plan – India is setting up a panel headed by the chairperson of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) to handle such cases.

Rajesh Bindal Committee

Last year, the ministry set up a committee under Justice Rajesh Bindal of the Chandigarh Judicial Academy to examine the issue of international child abduction. In its report, the panel suggested against joining the Hague convention.

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By admin February 21, 2019 10:43