Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an intergovernmental agreement that deals with issues related to parental kidnapping or child abduction for children under the age of 16 years across international borders.

The Convention seeks to protect children from the harmful effects of abduction and retention across international boundaries by providing a procedure to ensure their prompt return. The convention is intended to enhance the international recognition of rights of custody and access arising in place of habitual residence, and to ensure prompt return of the child who is wrongfully removed or retained from the place of habitual residence.

It seeks to return children abducted or retained overseas by a parent to their country of habitual residence for the courts of that country to decide on matters of residence and contact.

As per the convention, all nations which are party to the convention must establish a central authority to trace unlawfully removed children and secure their return to the country of habitual residence, irrespective of the country’s own laws on the issue. Presently custody issues are covered under Guardians and Wards Act, 1890.

Over 90 countries are signatories to it, India is yet to sign it. Once India becomes the party to the convention, it will be obligatory for India to consider a foreign judgment automatically irrespective of its ethical standards or dimensions.

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