The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child: Should India be a part of it?

  17-Jun-2018 12:22:05

Hague treaty International treaties

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction or Hague Abduction Convention is a multilateral

This means that in case of a failed cross-border marriage or any other reason due to which a parent obtains a forceful custody of the child by fleeing to his/her home country is unlawful according to the countries who are a part of this treaty.

It is clearly a multilateral treaty which is an alliance of multiple countries in terms of a uniform law.

India has refused to sign the treaty. Let's look at the reasons for this. Considerwith demography in terms of Indian cross-border marriages. Over 3 crore Indians have Spouse(s)who are foreign nationals. ForExample, consider the case of anIndian marrying a foreigner whose marriagefails dueto various reasons such domestic violence. The person couldn't get the custody the custody of the child due to various reasons. In such a case he/she is forced to flee to his/her home country with the child. If India signs this treaty, such person can be prosecuted and the child is forced to come back to India.

There is a lot of pressure from the west to sign this treaty. However, according to 263th Report from Law Commission of India, keeping in mind the domestic circumstances,India is correct in not signing this treaty.

The problems in signing this treaty at this point of time are plenty.

There are lot of women who came back to India fleeing from bad marriages. If this treaty is signed they will have to go back to their husband’s country. This may not be in favour of the child as well as the mother. Most of the people who flee with their children are women and often victims of domestic violence. This would hamper the child’s progress and growth as the mother will continuously live in the fear of the child taken back from her.85% of these women are primary caregivers to the child. An Indian will then have to fight lonely battles for the custody of the child in the home country.Also, this treaty uses the word abduction which in many ways is unethical as nobody would “abduct” their own child.

The west is continuously pressurising India on this matter in the name of “Gender Equality”.As of now, 98 countries are a part of this treaty.However to abide by such international laws is neither practical nor beneficial for a country like India. The ground reality is that even after migrating the woman often abides by Indian culture of child-rearing and primary caregiver of the child. In such a case, she cannot be held guilty of abduction.Considering the current scenario, demography and cases of domestic violence, the Indian government should continue to stick to the current strategy.