Draft model legislation to safeguard interests of child and parents: Maneka

New Delhi [India], Feb. 03 : Expressing concern at the difficulties being faced by the affected parents and their children as a result of breakdown of marriages abroad, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi, the Minister of Women and Child Development, has asked to create an effective mechanism and a model legislation to safeguard the interests of the child and the parents, especially women.

She was addressing a National Consultation to discuss issues related to India's accession to Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction on Friday.

Maneka Gandhi said that a large number of women married to Indians abroad are compelled to return to India with their children when they undergo violence in their marriages.

However, the women who have suffered violence in marriages abroad far exceed men, she added. The consultation was attended by Justice Mukta Gupta and Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva of Delhi High Court, Justice Inderjit Singh and Justice Anita Chaudhury of Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice (Retd.) Rakesh Kumar Garg, Chairman of Punjab NRI Commission; Justice Ravi R.

Tripathi, Member of Law Commission, Pinki Anand, Additional Solicitor General of India, Stuti Kacker, Chairperson, NCPCR, members of legal fraternity as well as parents who have been affected.

Representatives of MEA, MHA, NHRC and NCW were also present. The Minister has asked to draft model legislation to safeguard the interests of parents and children within four months.

The Chandigarh Judicial Academy, Chandigarh along with NRI Commission of Punjab has been asked to examine in detail the legal issues involved by taking all viewpoints into account including those of suffering women and give recommendations as to how the problems of parents and children involved in such situations can be addressed.

They will also study the draft Protection of Children (Inter-Country Removal and Retention) Bill, 2016.

Currently, there is no specific Indian legislation addressing issues related to abduction of children from and into India.

However, Law Commission of India had submitted the 218th report titled 'Need to accede to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction 1980' on March 30, 2009.

In view of this report, before acceding to the Convention, the Ministry of Women and Child Development prepared a draft Bill titled 'The Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction Bill, 2016'.

The draft Bill was placed on the Ministry's website for comments and suggestions from various stakeholders.

The Law Commission of India has recently suggested some modifications in the above mentioned Bill and re-named it as 'The Protection of Children (Inter-country Removal and Retention) Bill, 2016'.

Hague Convention is a multilateral treaty which came into existence on 1st December, 1983. The convention seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of abduction and retention across international boundaries by providing a procedure to bring about their prompt return.

The convention is intended to enhance the international recognition of rights of custody and access arising in place of habitual residence and to ensure prompt return of the child who is wrongfully removed or retained from the place of habitual residence.

It seeks to return children abducted or retained overseas by a parent to their country of habitual residence for the courts of that country to decide on matters of residence and contact.

The convention shall apply to any child up to the age of 16 years, who is a habitual resident of any of the contacting states.

Source: ANI