Separation in a marriage is never easy, especially when it comes to custody of children. Unfortunately, the Indian judicial system is extremely biased towards mothers in such cases, and most often reduce fathers to becoming a Santa Claus, meeting their children with gifts on selected days of the month.
One such high profile case from Delhi has come to light, where the father has gone against the order of the High Court, due to which the matter has now been handed over to CBI.
- Aman Lohia, son of a noted businessman Ajay Prakash Lohia, having family relations with a London-based global steel tycoon, was fighting a custody battle for his daughter Raina with his separated wife Kiran Kaur Lohia
- The wife is a well-known dermatologist having a clinic in an upscale locality of South Delhi
- The Delhi High Court had handed over the custody to the mother with a parenting plan according to which Aman could meet Raina for some hours on three days every week
- The court has also asked him to deposit his passport, which he did
- But, Aman did not accept the order in it’s spirit and considered it as “gender bias of Indian courts towards women”
- With his passport deposited in the court, Aman allegedly decided to flee to Dubai using a passport acquired from Caribbean country the Commonwealth of Dominica
- The High Court had noted in one of the proceedings that Aman chose to land in Dubai since “personal laws enjoin exclusive custody upon the father” in that country
- On August 24 this year, when Raina had come to meet Aman as per the parenting plan, he took her along with family confidant Pawan Kumar and maid Shiuratia Debi Mahato to board a flight to Bagdogra with the Delhi Police on their trail
- From Bagdogra, they took a taxi to Kathmandu from where they went to Dubai via a circuitous route to gulf cities including Doha
- Considering “international ramifications”, the Delhi High Court then handed over the probe to the CBI which registered a case and started the process for a Red Corner Notice against Aman and Mahato
- The agency arrested Pawan Kumar, upon his return from Dubai and he has been sent to judicial court
- The court has termed Lohia’s escape with his daughter on a Dominican Passport and refusal to subject himself to the jurisdiction of the Indian legal system as a “contempt of court”
- The global agency has issued a Yellow Notice for the two and a half year-old baby, Raina, on the CBI request, while the process for a Red Corner Notice against Aman Lohia, the father, has been initiated by the agency
- The External Affairs Ministry also issued a note verbale on September 9 to authorities in the UAE to not let Aman leave the country
- Yellow Notices are issued by the Interpol on the request of member countries to locate missing persons, while Red Corner Notices are a global request to arrest an absconder
In response to the notice issued by the High Court, Aman, through his lawyers, filed an affidavit on September 4, stating that he was a “victim of gender bias” of the courts and that it was the “love for his daughter” which made him do what he did
Rejecting the arguments, the High Court noted :
After having taken the law into his own hands” and having decided “to become a judge, jury and an executioner rolled into one…Aman Lohia…is now trying to adorn the role of a victim/martyr!
Nothing can be further from the truth.
The High Court further said:
This compounds the contempt. In fact, the present matter ‘is a textbook case of a rich and haughty man mocking at the system.
Last week, the CBI has carried out searches at the residence of the businessman and the agency which is frantically looking for the father-daughter, also reached residences of Aman and his father Ajay Prakash Lohia in upscale Vasant Vihar locality in Delhi and their offices in Kolkata as well. The officers collected hard drives, travel documents and other incriminating details of the premises.
- At the outset, any citizen not abiding by the law or court order will have to face the consequences, if guilty
- However, the crux of the problem here is deeply rooted in our biased system, which one cannot deny
- India does not have a Shared Parenting Custody plan yet
- In case of divorce battles, the custody of children until the age of 5-years, is handed over to mothers by default
- Most often by the time the child begins to understand people and situations around him/her, they have been completely alienated from the fathers
- There are several cases, where fathers have ended up spending decades in courts, almost begging for custody, however, they merely end up getting access for a few hours pre decided by courts and of course Mothers
- Even after court orders, most disgruntled women, choose not to allow access on 50% of the occasions by giving some excuse to the fathers
- Do our courts expect the Men to go and keep begging each time the child is not allowed to meet father?
- The courts do not spare the Fathers from paying up every single penny towards the maintenance of children
- However, when it comes to custody, many a times Men are looked upon as monsters and criminals
- Overnight access is something fathers cannot even think of
- While in no way, we are justifying what Aman has done in his case, however, the courts need to access and comprehend the bitter truth behind several suffering fathers, who live a lonely life craving only to meet their children
Story Updated as on March 07, 2020
A Dubai court has upheld an Indian court’s ruling on granting full custody of a child to the mother after the father brought their two-year-old daughter to the UAE without her mother’s knowledge.
The Indian court’s verdict was approved by the Dubai Civil Court a few days after the father, a Dubai resident, filed for divorce and custody of the child.
The Indian court passed its judgement in favour of the mother in September 2019.