Why India has chosen not to sign the Hague Convention despite being pressurised by US, UK and other countries? Give arguments in support or against the government stand.

Published: September 21, 2017

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty that establishes procedures that provide for the prompt return of children wrongfully retained or removed from their habitual residence.
India did not sign the convention for the following reasons:

  • Multilateral agreement would have forced government to send back women who come back to India escaping bad marriages along with their child, to the country of father’s residence
  • The clause would be disadvantageous to women from India as in majority of cases it is woman rather than man fleeing. As per Law commission , 68% taking parents were women. 85% of these women were primary caregivers of the child.
  • Litigations of these kinds can be used by man to force his wife to give up on alimony.
  • India does not automatically recognize foreign judgments signing convention would require the law to be changed and India would have to accept judgments irrespective of ethical norms
  • India does not have central authority to trace unlawfully removed children and send them back to country of habitual residence.
  • Treaty uses the word ‘abduction’ which is not right , as parents take away their child for the fear of losing due to love and affections. Thus raises an ethical versus legal issue and even law commission objected to use of word abduction.

Law commission had on other hand recommended acceding to the Hague convention. Given the reality of marriages in India and status of women, it would be better if government sticks to this stand.

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