Paperwork on custody transfer yet to be submitted to court that is set to hear case on Friday

With the Bhattacharya couple having failed so far to present the transfer-of-custody documents relating to Aishwarya and Abhigyan to the Child Welfare Service in Stavanger, it has become clear that the ongoing custody proceedings may get delayed further. Consequently, the children may remain in foster-care in the Norwegian city.

The deadline to submit documents was March 18, five working days before the court on March 23 hears the case relating to the children of the Indian couple living in Norway, who were taken into care by the CWS in May 2011.

The children's uncle, Arunabhas Bhattacharya, who the CWS considers fit to be their guardian, has pointed out that if he is to take custody he needs a custody transfer document that is watertight. It should hold up in an Indian court. Such a document, he has argued, can be drawn up only by an experienced lawyer specialising in matrimonial and custodial law in India.

Arunabhas Bhattacharya told The Hindu: “I'm prepared to take full responsibility for the children, and with the help of my parents we'll be able to give them a safe and secure home as well as the necessary special needs care. I've spoken to Dr. Anjan Bhattacharya at the Gleneagles Apollo hospital in Kolkata and discussed Abhigyan's problems and needs with him. I've every confidence that the child will receive proper specialised care.”

However, he added: “What worries me is the [issue of the] transfer-of-custody document.”

The family's lawyer in Norway is in touch with a lawyer in Kolkata to sort out details under Indian matrimonial and custody laws. But the lawyer, Svein Svendsen, says nothing conclusive can be said about the case at the moment. A postponement of the hearing cannot be ruled out.

After a violent quarrel between the couple in the early hours of Monday, Ms. Bhattacharya was not to be found. The couple's lawyer went to their home but found it locked. Since he did not know her whereabouts, for a while he contemplated calling the police.

However, on Tuesday morning, Ms. Bhattacharya was traced to the home of a Bengali family in Stavanger, and she is well.

Mr. Bhattacharya has moved out of the flat the family shared at 1B Nordlia in downtown Stavanger.

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