Chandran Vs. Union of India & Ors.  INSC 1511 (28 August 2009)
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CRIMINAL ORIGINAL JURISDICTION CRL.M.P.NO. 3401 OF 2009
IN WRIT PETITION (CRL.) NO. 112/2007 V. Ravi Chandran ...Petitioner Versus
Union of India & Ors. ...Respondents
R.M.LODHA, J Should Central Bureau of Investigation be requested
to trace the minor child Master Adithya Chandran in the Habeas Corpus petition
filed by the father is the question presently before us?
Dr. Ravi Chandran -petitioner and Vijayashree Voora - respondent
no. 6 got married on December 14, 2000 at Tirupathi, Andhra Pradesh according
to Hindu rites. On July 1, 2002, a son - Adithya was born out of the wedlock in
United States of America.
matrimonial discord arose between the petitioner and respondent no. 6 soon
thereafter. Respondent no. 6 approached the State of New York Supreme Court in
the month of July, 2003 for divorce and 1 dissolution of marriage. On April 18,
2005, the State of New York Supreme Court passed a consent order governing the
issues of the custody and guardianship of the minor Adithya. The Court granted
joint custody to the petitioner and respondent no. 6 and it was also stipulated
in the order to keep the other party informed about the whereabouts of the
child. On July 28, 2005, a separation agreement was entered into between the
petitioner and respondent no. 6 relying on various provisions of Domestic
Relations Law for distribution of marital property, spouse maintenance and
child support. As regards custody of the minor son Adithya and parenting time,
the parties consented to the order dated April 18, 2005. On September 8, 2005,
the marriage between the petitioner and respondent no. 6 was dissolved by the
State of New York Supreme Court. Child Custody order dated April 18, 2005 was
incorporated in the order. Later on a consent order was passed by the Family
Court, State of New York on June 18, 2007 whereby the petitioner and respondent
no. 6 were to have legal and physical custody of the minor child jointly. The
consent order provided that parties shall have alternative physical custody of
the minor child on a weekly basis.
On June 28, 2007, respondent no. 6 brought minor Adithya to India
informing the petitioner that she will be residing with her parents in Chennai.
The petitioner approached Family Court, State of New York for violation of the
order by respondent no. 6 pertaining to visitation and custody of minor child.
He also filed a petition for modification of the custody order. By an order
dated August 16, 2007, the Family Court, State of New York granted sole legal
and physical custody of the minor Adithya to the petitioner temporarily and by
a further order dated August 8, 2007 ordered respondent no. 6 to hand over
custody of Master Adithya to the petitioner. It transpires that the Family
Court, State of New York has issued child abuse non-bailable warrants against
respondent no. 6.
In the month of September, 2007, the petitioner filed a writ
petition before this Court praying for a writ of Hebeas Corpus for the
production of minor son Adithya and for handing over the custody with his
passport to the petitioner. The petitioner has alleged that the child has been
illegally and unlawfully detained beyond his motherland, USA in blatant
violation of orders of US Courts.
In the Hebeas Corpus petition, the petitioner has impleaded Union
of India, States of Tamil Nadu and Andhra 3 Pradesh, Director General of Police
of these two States, wife - Vijayashree Voora and her parents as party
On September 17, 2007, notice was issued to the respondents. Subsequently
the petitioner informed the Court that on March 15, 2008, the respondent no. 6
abandoned her residence in Dehradun and traveled in a rented car towards New
Delhi and on the way redirected herself to Agra. The next day she was last seen
at the entrance of Agra Cantonment Railway Station. Based on that, this Court
issued directions on April 28, 2008 to Senior Superintendent of Police, Agra
and Senior Superintendent of Police, Union Territory of Chandigarh to trace the
child and produce him in this Court.
In the affidavit filed by the Senior Superintendent of Police,
Agra on September 16, 2008, it is stated that for tracing the minor child
Adithya and respondent no. 6, a massive search operation was carried through
out Agra and all hotels, guest houses and other similar areas were checked but
they could not be found residing anywhere in Agra. He also stated that through
District Crime Record Bureau and all SHOs and SOs of police stations of
District Agra efforts have been made to trace out minor child and her 4 mother
and their photographs have also been published along with their description in
newspapers having wide circulation all over the country but no clue of their
whereabouts could be found.
Shri S.S. Srivastava, Senior Superintendent of Police, Union
Territory, Chandigarh has filed his affidavit on August 13, 2008. He has
Station House Officers of Police Stations in Chandigarh have been issued
instructions vide letter No. 1057-5A/Crime Branch, U.T. Chandigarh dated 3.8.2008
in which the photographs and description of Smt. Vijayasree Voora and her son
Adithya have been mentioned and they have been directed to make efforts to
trace the whereabouts of the above mentioned persons and see if they are
residing in any residential area, hotel, guest house, sarai. Though beat system
all such places in Chandigarh have been got thoroughly checked and no such
persons has been found to be residing in Chandigarh.
look out notice alongwith the photographs Smt. Vijayasree Voora and her son
Aditya has been issued vide No. 17011- 17030/MOB/UT/A-III/dated, Chandigarh the
5.8.2008 in which directions were issued to all SDPO's and Station House
Officers to maintain a sharp look out to trace out the whereabouts of the above
mentioned woman and her son and to send their report on weekly basis about the
details of the efforts made to trace the above mentioned persons. A copy of the
lookout notice is annexed and marked ANNEXURE R-1 . All SHO's of Police Station
in Chandigarh have submitted their reports after having thoroughly checked the
area under their jurisdiction and the whereabouts of the above mentioned woman
and her child could not be traced out in Chandigarh.
8.8.2008 the photographs of Smt. Vijaysree Voora and her son Adithya alongwith
their description has been got published in Times of India, one of the leading
newspapers having wide circulation all over India.
photographs and description of Smt. Vijaysree Voora and her son Aditya have
also been got displayed in Bharat Sarkar Doordarshan Kendra, Chandigarh and
Delhi, TV Channels having coverage throughout the country.
A team of
police officers have been especially deputed from Crime Branch, Chandigarh
Police for tracing the whereabouts of Smt. Vijayasree Voora and her son Aditya,
who are regularly checking all the hotels, schools and other places where there
could be possibility of finding the above mentioned woman and her child."
Parents of respondent no. 6 have filed counter affidavit.
totally denied any knowledge or idea about whereabouts of respondent no. 6 and
minor child. In the counter affidavit they stated thus:
I submit that in view of the information narrated by her about the harassment
and cruelty (mental torture) caused by the petitioner she had left my house
without disclosing her whereabouts and I sincerely state that I am not aware of
her whereabouts and I am not able to communicate with her.
state from the annexures filed particularly annexure P-10 Colly dated 11.8.2007
refers to that in response to conversation with this respondent mentioned in
E-mail in para `I' or after. I submit that in one of the E-mail at annexure
P-10 Colly the petitioner addressed to Respondent No. 7 that:- 6 "I have
been trying to reach Aditya for the past several weeks and Viji has completely
cut me off from the life of Aditya. Mrs. Voora (Your wife) informs me that she
does not know where Viji and Aditya are"
that this respondent from September itself had no knowledge or awareness of the
whereabouts of respondent no. 6 and her minor child and that from ever since
she left, he has no information at all about her whereabouts nor he had any
contacts or connection with this respondent, and we are not able to trace her
out and her minor child.
of knowing all these facts that these respondents are completely oblivious and
in complete darkness about her whereabouts even on today...."
In the affidavit filed by the Director General of Police,
Tamilnadu, it is stated that the respondent no. 6 and the minor chilld were not
found residing at No. 47, B.N. Road (North Boag Road), T. Nagar, Chennai, and
on that address, the parents of respondent no. 6 are only residing.
The petitioner has filed a Misc. Petition (Crl. M.P.3401 of 2009)
on February 23, 2009 stating therein that as per the Deccan Herald newspaper
report dated February 18, 2009, respondent no. 6 and the child were last seen
in Bangalore. They stayed at KES Lodge in Rajajinagar, Bangalore. On February
23, 2009, accordingly, this Court directed the Director General of Police,
Karnataka and Commissioner of Police, Bangalore to trace the child 7 and
produce before him this Court on the next date. By a further order dated May 8,
2009, this Court directed the State of Karnataka and particularly, Director
General of Police, Karnataka to take appropriate steps to trace the child. A
copy of this order was also sent to the Chief Secretary, State of Karnataka.
Shri S.N.Bidari, Commissioner of Police, Bangalore city has filed
his affidavit stating therein that all necessary steps required in order to
trace the missing child Master Adithya Chandran and his mother Mrs. Vijayashree
Voora have been taken but without any success. In the affidavit, the details of
the efforts made by Karnataka Police have been set out thus:
It is submitted that the Police Inspector and his team of Rajajinagar Police
Station of Banagalore City visited KES Residency, 50th Cross, 3rd Block,
Rajajinagar on 5.3.2009 and the said lady and master Adithya were not found. On
enquiry with one Shri Prabhakar, Manager of the said Residency, it was learnt
that Smt. Vijayashree Voora, mother of the child had left the residency
alongwith the child on 17.2.2009 and had not returned. .....
3) It is
submitted that the enquiry revealed that she went to Shiva Temple, Old Airport
Road, Bangalore in a private Qualais Vehicle from KES Residency on 17.2. 2009.
The enquiry revealed that she requested the manager for help and she was told
to come after Shivarathri festival. She left her luggage in the temple and took
shelter in the Manager's residence for the night. The next day i.e. on
18.2.2009, she left the temple and after two days, she collected her baggage.
Thereafter, there is no information about her whereabouts and the child. The 8
staff continued search in several places in Banagalore City, but the child
could not be traced.
4) It is
submitted that the Police Sub -Inspector, Subramanaya Nagara Police station
went to Chennai on 4.3.2009 alongwith his staff and enquired with Smt. A.
Poornima and her husband Shri A. Ramesh R/o No. 13, North Bhoug Road, G.N.
Shetty Road, Chennai- 600 017. Smt. A. Poornima sister of Vijayashree Voora
said that her sister Vijayashree Voora had married one Sathya Narayana 18 years
back. After 5 years of marriage, she divorced her husband and again married one
Dr. V. Ravichandra (Petitioner) in a love marriage and they have one male child
name Master Aditya Chandran. Five years back, both of them got mutual divorce
in USA (where they were staying together_ and Smt. Vijashree Voora returned
from America. At that time, she came to Poornima's residence and she and her
husband advised herand even her father also advised her, but she refused to
heed to their advice to reconcile with her husband and left the house and till
today she had not returned to their residence. Thereafter, her whereabouts are
not known. The statement of Smt. A. Poornima and her husband were recorded by
the Police Sub-Inspector, Subramanyanagara Police Station. The report of the
Police Sub-Inspector, Subramanyanagara Police Station is produced and marked as
ANNEXURE-R-2 AND R-2a. As per the instructions of Police Inspector, Mahalakshmi
Police Station, the Police Sub-Inspector, Rajajinagar Police Station visited
Tumkur on 5.3.2009 and enquired at 1) VARIN International Residential School,
Doddahosur Gate, Kunigal Road, Gulur Post, Tumkur 0572 118, 2) Prudence
International School, Hirehalli, Next to TVS Electronics, Tumkur, 3) Maruthi
Vidya Kendra, Belagumba Road, Tumkur, 4) Sri. Sri. Ravishankar Vidya Mandir,
Belagumba Road, Near TUD Office, Tumkur, 5) Sri. Siddaganga Mutt, Tumkur and
also enquired with the concerned persons of Samuka Residency, Sai Residency,
Vigneshwara Comforts and showed the photo of the child, but no useful
information was obtained. .....
9 5) It
is submitted that on 5.3.2009, Police Sub- Inspector, Srirampura Police Station
visited Veda Vignan Maha Vidya Peeta and met Mr. Narendra Lamba, the
Administrator, Art of Living International Centre and showed photo of Adithya
Chandran. However, it was found that no such persons was stayng in the Ashram.
6) It is
submitted that on 6.3.2009, the Poilice Sub-Inspector, Mahalakshmi Layout
Police Station, Bangalore alongwith staff visited Shri Sathya Sai Gokulam at
Kadugodi, Bangalore District, in search of missing boy and enquired with Mr.
Srinivas, Custodian of Ashram. It was reported that no such persons was staying
in the Ashrama. The PSI also visited Sir. Sathya Sai Institute of Medical
Sciences, Whitefield and met Mr.Mohan Das, Sr. Personnel Officer and PRO who
informed that no such persons, by name Smt. Vijayashree Voora or Master Aditya
was admitted in the Hospital. The report of the Police Sub- Inspector,
Mahalakshmi layout, Police Station, is produced and marked as Annexure-R5.
Asstt. Commissioner of Police, City Crime Record Bureau, Office of the
Comissioner of Police, Infantry Road, Bangalore was instructed on 18.3.2009 to
get the photo of Aditya Chandra published in the Criminal Intelligence Gazette
requesting all the concerned to trace the missing child. The Addl. Director
General of Police, State Crime Record Bureau, Bangalore was also requested to
publish the photograph of Master Aditya Chandran in `Talash' and to transmit
the said information to all the Police Stations in the State and to trace the
said missing boy as early as possible.
Respondent further submits that City crime Record Bureau on 31.3.2009 sent
letter to the Deputy Inspector General of Police, State Crime Record Bureau to
publish the details of the missing persons in criminal Intelligence Gazette.
10 8) The
Respondent further submits that on 16.4.2009 the Police Inspector, Rajajinagar
Police Station, wrote a letter to the State Crime Record Bureau, Bangalore to
verify and compare the particulars of the missing child in the Talash record
and on comparison a nil report was sent to Rajajinagar Police Station on
17.4.2009. On 16.4.2009 the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Malleshwaram,
Bangalore wrote letter to the Commissioner of Police, Bangalore requesting for
publication of the missing child Master Adithya Chandran in Kannada and English
"daily news papers". Further he also requested the Commissioner of
Police to send the details to all the District superintendents of Police and
Commissioners of Police of Hubli - Dharwad, Mysore and Railway Superintendent
of Police. Further, the Asstt.
of Police. Malleshwaram, Bangalore, wrote letter to Commissioner of Police with
a request to address a letter to Doordarshan to Broadcast the particulars of
the missing child in Doordarshan.
Commissioner of Police North Divilsion, Bangalore City had sent e-mails to all
Commissioners of Police, all Range Inspectors General of Police, all
Superintendents of Police including Railways all over Karnataka State
requesting them to look out for the missing child. An e-mail is also sent to
the Director, National Crime Record Bureau, New Delhi requesting for look out
of the missing child. ....
respondent further submits that the Assistant Commissioner of Police,
Malleshwaram wrote a letter to All India Radio, with a request to Broadcast the
particulars of the missing child on air.
respondent further submits that on 18.4.2009 the Public Relation Officer in the
Cadre of Deputy Commissioner of Police in the office of Commissioner of Police
released press note to all the Electronic Media and Print media requesting for
publication of the particulars of the missing child Master Adithya Chandran on
Air. The report regarding the Broadcast of the particulars of the missing child
in Doordarshan is also received. ......
11) It is
also further submitted that on 16.4.2009 itself the details of the missing
child were uploaded on Internet on Karnataka State Police web page. The copy of
the Web page is herewith produced and marked as ANNEXURE-R20. It is also
relevant to submit that all relevant steps are taken to carry out the upload of
the particulars of the missing child Master Adhitya Chandran on National Crime
Record Bureau with a request to send information to all the state and Union
Territory and forward the information if any obtained in this regard to the
Commission of Police, Bangalore.
12) It is
further submitted that the Police officials attached to Rajajinagar Police
Station sent look out notices to Bangalore International Airport Authorities,
Railway Station and KSRTC Bus Stand to keep a look out for the missing child.
From the narration of aforesaid facts, it is abundantly clear that
despite efforts made by police officers and officials of different States such
as Senior Superintendent of Police, Agra, Senior Superintendent of Police, U.T.
of Chandigarh, Director General of Police, Tamilnadu, Director General of
Police, Karnataka and Commissioner of Police, Bangalore City, the minor child
Adithya and respondent no. 6 could not be traced and their whereabouts could
not be found. It is almost two years since the notice was issued by this Court
but the child could not be produced. Respondent no. 6 is said to be mentally
unstable and running round with the child from one State to another. In the
peculiar and extraordinary circumstances 12 such as the present one, we are of
the view that Central Investigating Agency i.e., Central Bureau of
Investigation may be assigned the task of tracing minor Adithya Chandran and
his production before this Court. This has become all the more necessary for
the protection of health and safety of minor and because the police authorities
of various States are clueless about the whereabouts of respondent no. 6 who
has been moving with the child from one State to another.
We, accordingly, direct the registry of this Court to write a
letter to the Director, Central Bureau of Investigation requesting him to trace
minor Adithya Chandran. For the said purpose, he and the officer nominated by
him will enjoy all the powers of Police Officer carrying out search and issue
non-bailable warrants, if necessary, and pick up minor Adithya Chandran
wherever he is found without interference from any one and to produce him
before this Court with his report.
Let the matter come up before the Court after six weeks or earlier
if the minor child Adithya Chandran is traced by the Central Bureau of
Investigation and produced before this Court.
........................J (Tarun Chatterjee)
........................J (R. M. Lodha)
August 28, 2009.