Centre unable to help woman who filed plea for custody of minor daughters from ex-husband in Yemen

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Kerala HC. Photo: Mathrubhumi Archives

Kochi: The efforts of a mother of six children to get back custody of two daughters from Yemen, where they are staying with her Sri Lankan ex-husband, have hit a roadblock with the Centre saying it cannot provide her any financial assistance for taking legal recourse in a foreign court.

The central government has also said the Embassy of India in Yemen does not have the jurisdiction to take custody of her husband or her daughters nor can it enforce there the decree of a Saudi Arabian court granting her custody of the children.

The Centre has indicated its stand in a statement filed in response to the woman's plea in the Kerala High Court seeking directions to the central government to provide her with legal aid and all necessary support "for proceeding with legal recourse to get the custody of her two minor children".

According to the plea, filed through advocate Jose Abraham, the woman got married to the Sri Lankan national in 2006 and six children were born out of the wedlock. After marriage, they were living in Saudi Arabia.

In 2017, the husband "forcibly" sent her and four of their children back to India, but kept the two daughters -- then aged six and nine years old -- with him, the plea has said.

Several months later, the woman found out that he had married a Yemeni woman and moved to Yemen taking their daughters with him.

She then filed a suit in a Riyadh Sharia Court in 2019 for custody of her daughters and the court by an ex-parte order, ruled in her favour.

However, the order could not be executed as according to the Saudi police there was no way to bring her husband back from Yemen, the petition has said.

It has also said a representation was sent to the central government to intervene and take all necessary steps to enforce the Saudi court's order and bring back her daughters.

However, nothing was done by the government which forced her to move the court, the woman has said. PTI

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