Fraud on judiciary in custody battle; SC seeks CBI report on steps taken to bring back Kenyan citi

PTI, Oct 2, 2022, 2:05 PM IST

New Delhi: Taking serious note of the “fraud” played upon it by a Kenyan citizen of Indian origin in a custody battle, the Supreme Court has sought a report from the CBI about the steps taken by it to secure his presence and ensure the transfer of custody of his minor son to his estranged wife here.

The top court also directed the Registrar of Assurances of Rajkot to give details about the rights and interests, if any, held by any other person in two properties of the convicted contemnor Perry Kansagra by October 8 so that it may proceed with their attachment.

A bench comprising Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and P S Narasimha, on July 11, had convicted Kansagra of its contempt for playing “fraud” in securing the custody of his son from his estranged wife and not coming back to the Supreme Court again.

The bench on Friday last reminded the CBI that it was assured that every possible help and assistance shall be extended by the Union agencies and the Indian Embassy in Kenya in securing the presence of Kansagra and his minor son before this court.

“Rajat Nair, learned advocate appearing for the CBI, submits that the status report shall be filed on or before October 08, 2022. Let the needful be done,” the bench noted in the order.

It took note of the plea of the mother of the minor child that two properties at Rajkot of her estranged husband, who is not appearing before the top court, be attached.

Having found Kansagra guilty of violating its orders and committed contempt of court, the CJI-led bench has adjourned the matter to hear the contemnor on the issue of sentence a few times.

“However, since the contemnor did not appear nor was he produced before the Court by way of last chance time was given and the matter was directed to be posted on August 18…After a few adjournments the matter is now posted before us. Even after grant of such facility and adjournment on a few occasions, Mr Perry Kansagra has not appeared before this Court,” it noted.

It has now posted the suo motu contempt case on October 10 for considering the issue of sentence and its pronouncement after perusing the CBI report.

The bench would also consider the plea of the mother that a CBI officer or “any responsible officer either working in the Ministry of External Affairs or the High Commission in Kenya” be deputed to accompany Smriti Madan Kansagra to Kenya to meet the child and/or take appropriate proceedings in Kenya.

It has also sought the assistance of Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati in the case.

Kansagra, who holds dual citizenship of Kenya as well as the United Kingdom, fought a custody battle for his son with his estranged wife in Indian courts and gave undertakings that he will abide by the conditions, and later, he got custody in 2020 from the apex court by allegedly giving a forged or wrong “mirror order” from the Kenyan High Court.

Later, he not only refused to obey the directions granting visitation or meeting rights to the mother but shockingly moved the Kenyan court for “declaration of invalidity of Indian jurisdiction and/or laws and/or judgments denying, violating and/or threatening to infringe the fundamental rights of the minor through purported and unenforceable judgments and orders relating to the minor under Articles 23(3) (d) of the Constitution of Kenya”.

Taking into account the “fraud” “contumacious” behaviour of Kansagra, the top court had recalled its verdict and given a slew of directions against him including registration of a suo motu contempt case.

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