Bombay High Court Asks For Address Of Mushtaq Nadiadwala's Wife In Pakistan In his plea against children's alleged illegal detention

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Court asked the film producer to inform the court about his wife's address in Pakistan and said that it would consider issuing notice to the Pakistan High Commission during the next hearing.

A division bench of the Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked film producer Mushtaq Nadiadwala to produce before the court the address of his wife in Pakistan in the plea filed by him seeking the whereabouts of his children. 

During the hearing today, Mushtaq expressed his disappointment at the government's response to his request for a status report on his children who are allegedly stuck in Pakistan. He referred to a court order from September 21, which asked the government to put the report on record. 

Mushtaq's counsel informed the court that his children were studying in India and there was a video that was shot at the airport where they could be seen saying that they would come back.

The counsel representing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs responded stating that the ministry had already given a status report and there was a guardianship petition filed by the mother with an existing order. 

Mushtaq's counsel then cited a judgment wherein it was held that the native country would have jurisdiction and that since the children had gone from India, the Bombay High Court would have jurisdiction as India will be the children's native jurisdiction. 

The bench asked Mushtaq if he had a copy of the petition filed by his wife in Lahore for custody of the children, to which Mushtaq's counsel replied that they did not have it yet. The bench requested Mushtaq to provide the address and details of the petition, and said that it would issue appropriate directions after reviewing the documents. 

Mushtaq Nadiadwala who was present in the court agreed to provide the address and requested that the next hearing be scheduled for the following week, which the bench set for Monday. 

Mushtaq's counsel also asked the bench if they could issue notice to the Pakistan High Commission, to which the bench said that it would consider it on Monday.

Nadiadwala claimed in his petition that his spouse, Maryam Chaudhary, and her family has unlawfully kept his children in Pakistan, and he accused Maryam of abandoning him without any reasonable justification and declining to come back to India.

According to the plea, Nadiadwala tied the knot with Maryam in April 2012 in Pakistan after she migrated to India and applied for Indian nationality. They later became parents to two children.

In November 2020, Maryam departed from India to Pakistan with their two children.

Subsequently, in February 2021, Maryam lodged a plea for guardianship in Lahore, asking to be designated as the legal guardian of their two children. The Lahore court accepted her petition. Nadiadwala suspected that Maryam might have been compelled or influenced to prolong her stay in Pakistan.

During the earlier hearing, the Union of India had filed its status report which stated that it is yet to receive a reply from the Government of Pakistan on the whereabouts of the children of the producer Mushtaq Nadiadwala who are allegedly detained by his wife in Pakistan since 2020.

The status report said that despite two reminders sent to the Government of Pakistan in October 2022 and February 2023, the government had not received a reply.

“The response to the three notes issued by the High Commission of India (in) Islamabad has not been received from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Pakistan, till date”, the report stated.

The status report further said that the government will continue to follow up on the matter with the government of Pakistan.

“The government of India through its High Commission in Islamabad is following up the matter with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Pakistan, for obtaining the details/whereabouts of the two minor children and will continue to pursue the matter with the Government of Pakistan,” read the status report. 

Case title: Mushtaq Nadiadwala vs UOI & Ors