The Punjab and Haryana High Court in an order passed on Tuesday united a British citizen of Indian origin, Kuljit Kaur, with her two-and-a-half-year-old son Harnoor Mallhi, brought to India and allowed to remain with grandparents by the father.
Acting on a habeas corpus petition filed by Ms. Kaur of Leeds in the United Kingdom, Justice Mehinder Singh Sullar asked the husband, Karnbir Singh Mallhi, to hand over the child to the mother.
Thanks to the efforts of Ms. Kaur's counsel Anil Malhotra, who impressed on the Court to explore the possibility of mediation between the parents, the Court asked the parties to come together for talks and through a sustained negotiation a settlement was arrived at and the husband agreed to hand over the child to the mother.
Justice Sullar in a brief order said: “It is not a matter of dispute that with the active and sincere participation of counsel the parties have amicably settled their disputes. The respondent No.1 (husband) has handed over the custody of minor child –Harnoor Singh Mallhi-- to the petitioner (wife) along with his passport and other medical record. In this view of the matter, the instant petition is directed to be disposed of with the hope that the parties would live peacefully in future.”
According to Mr. Malhotra, the reconciliatory note of the Court proved to be an extremely effective method in resolving the matter by alternative dispute resolution system. In the instant case, Ms. Kaur filed a habeas corpus petition against her estranged husband and his parents, Gurcharan Mallhi and Devinder Kaur, seeking return of custody of her son to enable her to take him back to the UK. She contended that her son was a British national and she being the natural guardian was entitled to his custody under the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act.