Court Tells NRI Mother to Develop Bond with Child before Seeking Guardianship

The 9-year-old child has been living in India with his uncle and aunt for the last seven years.


The Bombay High Court has told a Non Resident Indian woman to develop a bond with her son, who has been living in India for seven years, before seeking custody. The court granted guardianship to the paternal aunt and uncle of the 9-year-old boy.

The biological mother is a resident of Nashville, Tennessee, the Hindustan Times reported. She sent the child to India when he was two years old so that he could understand his roots until he attained school-going age. The practice is reportedly common among some communities such as the Patels.

The judge told the paternal uncle and aunt to facilitate Skype calls and other electronic communication between the child and the mother after school hours, on weekends and vacations. Justice SC Gupte said that the mother can apply for guardianship of the child when they bonded and if the child is willing. He also said that both parties can decide about the frequency of the calls.

The father of the child was an NRI. He was diagnosed with cancer, and passed away in April 2014. The biological parents had decided that the child should continue living with the relatives when the father was diagnosed with cancer.

After the father’s death, the mother continued to live in the United States. In 2015, the uncle and aunt sought guardianship, in order to facilitate the child’s admission to a school. The high court allowed it and the child was admitted to a school in Goregaon, a suburb of Mumbai.

Even though the mother opposed the plea, she was not given guardianship of the child last year, since the court was unwilling to let the child go through “an alien environment overnight.”

Instances in which a child is given to relatives who have not been able to conceive are not uncommon in the Asian community, whether in India or outside. Many such cases have been reported in the United Kingdom, according to the BBC. The child has been told only later that it was adopted by an uncle and aunt, and their biological parents had actually become their relatives.

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