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IIT Professor Runs From Pillar to Post to Get Son's Custody From Chinese Wife

The professor, who had moved the Delhi High Court for remedy, yet again suffered a setback when he was asked by the judges to pursue legal remedies available to him in China.

PTI

Updated:July 9, 2018, 11:16 PM IST
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IIT Professor Runs From Pillar to Post to Get Son's Custody From Chinese Wife
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New Delhi: When he married Chinese national Huan Liu in 2013, IIT Madras professor Joe Thomas K would not have thought that three years down the line he would be running from pillar to post for getting custody of his newborn son after his wife refused to come back to India with their child.

The professor, who had moved the Delhi High Court for remedy, yet again suffered a setback when he was asked by the judges to pursue legal remedies available to him in China.

The couple had gone to China in December 2015, eight months after their son was born, for Christmas vacation. While he had to come back in January 2016 as classes in IIT would resume by then, she had stayed back to attend the Chinese Lunar New Year festivities.

On February 14, 2016, when the wife was to board the flight to India she sent him a message, saying she was not returning and their son would remain with her.

When more than two years of correspondence with the Ministry of External Affairs here, the Indian Embassy in China and the Chinese Embassy here as well as his visit to his wife's permanent residence in China yielded no results, he moved the Delhi High Court seeking custody of his son.

The habeas corpus plea by Thomas came up for hearing before a bench of Justices S Muralidhar and Vinod Goel who asked him to first pursue the legal remedies available to him in that country.

As the court did not appear inclined to entertain the plea, advocate Sanyam Khetarpal, appearing for Thomas, withdrew the petition.

Central government standing counsel Anurag Ahluwali, appearing for the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), told the court that the Indian government had taken up the matter with their counterparts in China who had replied that the husband should try and settle the dispute via negotiation or through legal channels.

The Hague Convention protects children under 16 years of age from wrongful removal by one of the parents from the custody of the other. However, India is not yet a signatory to it and therefore, this option is not available to Thomas.

In his plea, Thomas had claimed that there were no marital disputes and it was his wife's family who were preventing her from returning to India or giving him the custody of their child.

He had also alleged that when he visited his wife's native place in Guizhou province of the People's Republic of China in May this year, he found that she had moved from there.

Thereafter, he managed to track her down and see his son after more than two years. The last time he had seen his son, he was just eight-nine months old.

Saddened by the conditions in which his son was being kept there, he urged his wife to return with him, but she refused, his petition said.

According to his plea, his son, born at Chennai, had an Indian passport when they had travelled to China in 2015.

However, a new identification document has been created for his son now by the wife in which the father's name is absent and the place of birth is shown as China, the plea alleged. The name of the boy has also been changed, it said.

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| Edited by: Huma Tabassum
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