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Can PIOs approach Indian courts against verdict in U.S. ?
May, 31st 2008

The Supreme Court on Tuesday decided to examine an important question, whether Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs), who had dual citizenship could approach Indian courts against an order passed by a family court in the United States.

A vacation Bench comprising Justices C.K. Thakker and L.S. Panta issued notice to Rana Roy on a special leave petition from his divorced wife Nandini Chowdhuri against an order passed by the Calcutta High Court declining to interfere with a U.S. court order.

According to Ms. Chowdhuri, she was married to Mr. Roy and they have a seven-year-old daughter. All of them are PIOs and U.S. citizens. The U.S. court granted divorce to the couple and the daughter stayed with the mother.

Ms. Chowdhuri got remarried and in the new wedlock a child was born to her. She visited India to see her ailing father in Kolkata, where she admitted the daughter in school.

As per the directions of the U.S. court, she was to send her daughter to Mr. Roy during vacation.

Ms. Chowdhuri filed a petition in a court in Kolkata to restrain Mr. Roy from enforcing his visiting rights and taking the child to the United States.

After the trial court refused to pass an interim order, she filed an appeal in the High Court.

Initially, the High Court restrained the father from enforcing his rights.

However, a Division Bench of the High Court, by its order dated April 30, said: We do not propose to enter into the question whether an Indian court can interfere with the order passed by a competent American court in the facts of the present case.

It is not a case where the appellant or the child will suffer irreparable loss and injury if the ad interim injunction is not granted nor is it a case, where the childs interest will be jeopardised.

It is apparent that the appellant suppressed the fact that a competent American court had passed orders for the betterment of the child and also for sending the child to America during vacation. We vacate the interim order passed by another Bench of this court, the Bench said. It directed the trial court to dispose of the matter as early as possible. The SLP is directed against this order.

Ms. Chowdhuri contended that since she was a PIO the Indian court was competent to pass a restraint order against Mr. Roy. The vacation Bench issued notice to Mr. Roy and posted the case for further hearing in July.

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