Report No. 263
2.1 The world has become a global village. There is an increased movement of people from all cultures and backgrounds, due to the globalized job market. Thus, people from different countries and cultural backgrounds have optimistically created family units. More than three crores of Indians live in the foreign countries, having cross border matrimonial relationships. When such a kind of diverse family unit breaks down, children (sometimes babies) suffer, as they are dragged into international legal battle between their parents.
Inter-spousal child removal can be termed as most unfortunate as the children are abducted by their own parents to India or to other foreign jurisdiction in violation of the interim/final orders of the competent courts or in violation of parental rights of the aggrieved parent. In such an eventuality, the child is taken to a State with a different legal system, culture and language. The child loses contact with the other parent and is transplanted in an entirely different society having different traditions and norms of life.
2.2 The preamble and object of the Hague Convention, 1980 and the International Child Abduction Bill, invokes the principle of 'best interests of the child'. In other words, the object of the aforementioned laws in obtaining the return of the child must be subordinate when considered against the child's interest. The desire to protect children must be based upon a true interpretation of their best interests.
2.3 The principle of 'best interests of the child' can also be found in the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1989, which came into force on 2nd September 1990. India ratified the Convention on 11th December, 1992. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, (as re-enacted by Act 2 of 2016) defines the term 'best interests of the child' in clause (9) of section 2 as under:
'"best interest of child" means the basis for any decision taken regarding the child, to ensure fulfilment of his basic rights and needs, identity, social well-being and physical, emotional and intellectual development.'.