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THE HON’BLE SRI JUSTICE B. VIJAYSEN REDDY
CIVIL REVISION PETITION No.2942 of 2019
This revision arises out of order dated 03.12.2019 in
I.A.No.1127 of 2019 in O.P.No.96 of 2014 passed by the Principal
Judge, Family Court – cum – Additional Chief Judge, Hyderabad.
2. OP.No.96 of 2014 is filed by the revision petitioner against the
custody of their minor daughter ‘Sareena Anumolu’. An application in
I.A.No.1127 of 2019 was filed under Section 151 CPC by the petitioner
to direct the respondent to sign in the passport application form by
incorporating their minor daughter’s address in India as the child has
been living in India continuously from August, 2009 and further to
direct that the passport be mailed directly to this Court by the U.S.
Department of State upon renewal and to pass such other orders as
deemed fit and proper in the interest of justice.
3. It is the case of the petitioner that the respondent-mother filed
an application in I.A.No.552 of 2014 for renewal of passport of their
daughter and as no objection was reported by the petitioner-father,
the Court below allowed the application. In compliance of the said
orders, the petitioner signed the application form to the respondent
across the Bench, but the respondent refused to sign on the said
application form. The respondent filed another application in IA.No.260
of 2016 for renewal of passport and the Court below passed order
directing both the parties to renew the child passport but the
respondent failed to sign in the said application form and as such, it is
not renewed till date.
4. It is further stated that the respondent submitted a passport
application form before the Department of the State of Government of
the United States of America without obtaining the signature of the
petitioner. The Department objected for issuance of passport without
the signature of the petitioner and an email was sent to the petitioner
asking him whether he was agreeing or objecting for issuance of
passport to their minor child. The objections were sent by the
petitioner since the application form did not contain his signature and
further the matter was subjudice before the Court of law. Granting
injunction order in favour the petitioner against the respondent from
taking the child out of Hyderabad was also taken to the notice of the
said authorities. The Court below permitted the petitioner to take the
minor child to USA with certain objection but the said order was stayed
by this Court. There is threat of abduction of the child from the
custody of the petitioner and therefore, renewal of passport without
the consent of the petitioner is opposed. The renewal of passport issue
does not arise in view of the stay orders and the respondent cannot be
permitted to take the child out of Hyderabad. The petitioner has no
objection if the application form is submitted before the concerned
authority duly signed by the respondent and himself.
5. The aforesaid application was opposed by the respondent-
mother stating that the petition is not maintainable and devoid of
merits. The petitioner has stolen the child’s passport and allowed it to
lapse without the child having a passport. On the assurance of the
petitioner to streamline the business of the petitioner, the respondent,
the child and the petitioner travelled to India. After coming to India,
the petitioner went back upon his assurance, has shown his true
colours, filed the present case to retain the child in India and further
obtained an ex parte injunction order while living together.
The documents and jewellery pertaining to the respondent and the
child’s passport were stolen by the petitioner from the joint locker.
Immediately after obtaining the said orders, the petitioner moved out
of the house to stay separately and further allowed the passport to
lapse. The respondent is helpless and has no one in India and she is
not aware of the legal proceedings, for which the petitioner took undue
advantage. It is true that the respondent filed two applications in
I.A.No.552 of2014 and I.A.No.260 of 2016. Prior to the filing of OP,
it was a family routine to take three days holiday in USA. At least twice
in a year, the child was traveling to USA along with the respondent
and the petitioner used to join later at his convenience. However, the
said traveling came to a standstill and the child is deprived to see her
extended family in USA. Both the parents of the respondent are senior
citizens and they cannot travel to India and it is also within the
knowledge of the petitioner. Their health condition is also not good and
they are medically dependant and in fact, one of them constantly
requires oxygen supplementation.
6. It is further stated that the petitioner did not cooperate for
renewal of passport. A personal bond was also issued mentioning that
the respondent would be traveling along with the child and would bring
her back as per the stipulated time by the Court. In fact,
the respondent is bound by the said condition. The petitioner played
truant and has been depriving the daughter of the little bit of joy with
the extended family and to celebrate Christmas at USA. It is further
stated that the US consulate does not work for Indian citizen as in the
case of petitioner. The consulate requires the Court orders as they are
aware of the litigation since the family cases are going on for the last
5 ½ years and more. The respondent has signed a bond to bring back
the child after taking her abroad for six weeks. The child passport
should contain the address of USA as well as India.
7. The Court below noted that the passport of the child reveals
three addresses to be furnished viz. the bearers address in USA,
bearer’s foreign address and emergency address. The bearers address
was shown as Jersey City, Indian address was shown as bearer’s
foreign address and emergency address. The Court below further
noted that the passport of the child has expired. Taking into
consideration the rival claims for guardianship and custody of the child
and the fact that the parties are contesting the matter seriously and
matter being subjudice, the Court below opined that renewal of
passport or issuance of fresh passport or continuation of expired
passport, shall be issued by the US consulate or any other authority
concerned, shall issue the same by mentioning the same addresses i.e.
bearers address, bearers foreign address referred to in the expired
passport of the child (with correct foreign address). Further,
the emergency address shall be that of permanent address of the
petitioner and the respondent i.e. the flat numbers of both of them
shall be furnished since the child is residing in both the flats along with
her father or mother, as the case may be pursuant to the orders of
this Court. The Court below further pointed out that the child being a
citizen of USA, status quo shall be maintained as far as possible
regarding the mentioning of the addresses as in the expired passport
and the same may be permitted to carry in case of fresh passport or
renewal as the case may be.
8. The Court below allowed the IA with the following directions:
a. Both the petitioner and the respondent shall appear before
the U.S.A. Consulate on the appointed date for the purpose
of obtaining fresh passport or renewed passport for their
minor child Sareena Anumolu;
b. The petitioner and the respondent shall also sign on all the
required documents for the said purpose and they shall
provide all the other required oral information as called for
by the said authorities;
c. The petitioner shall take custody of the expired passport of
the child Sareena Anumolu bearingNo.447169345 from this
court and the office shall hand over the same on proper
acknowledgment. A Xerox copy of the passport shall be
taken by the court on the expenses of the petitioner and the
same shall be signed on each page by the petitioner and the
respondent. The petitioner shall also file an affidavit for
taking custody of the expired passport invariably
mentioning that the passport will be handed over to the
U.S.A. Consulate or the authorities concerned for
renewal/fresh passport without making any alterations,
d. The U.S. passport application shall be submitted by the
petitioner and the respondent for their daughter by
mentioning the bearer’s address/permanent address in the
United States as 9841 LEMA Court, New Port Richey Florida,
USA 34655. The emergency address/temporary address
shall be mentioned as APT A 303/A403, Fortune Enclave,
Road No.12, Banjara Hill, Hyderabad, Telangana, India-
500034 since the child Sareena Anumolu is residing for the
last ten years approximately in the above Indian address.
The petitioner’s address be mentioned as A 403, Fortune
Enclave, Road No.12, Banjara Hill, Hyderabad, Telangana,
India-500034. The respondent’s address be mentioned as
A 303, Fortune Enclave, Road No.12, Banjara Hill,
Hyderabad, Telangana, India-500034. The mailing address
shall be mentioned as “Bharat Anumolu, H.No.12 Part View
Enclave, Road No.2, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad, Telangana,
India-500034. The said addresses shall be taken into
consideration by the authorities concerned subject to proof
of the same as per the rules and regulations for issuing the
required passport. The above addresses shall be considered
and recorded irrespective of the addresses mentioned in the
passport application form.
e. Though the mailing address of the petitioner as referred to
above is to be mentioned in the passport, the U.S.A.
Consulate or the authorities concerned issuing the passport
a fresh or renewed pertaining to Sareena Anumolu shall
dispatch the same after following the required procedure to
this court for safe custody pending disposal of this case.
The address of this court for dispatch being PRINCIPAL
JUDGE, FAMILY COURT-CUM-ADDITIONAL CHIEF JUDGE,
CITY CIVIL COURT, HYDERABAD-500002, TELANGANA
f. The entire expenditure for the above purpose shall be borne
by the petitioner only.
g. Nothing mentioned in this order shall effect the rights and
contentions of the petitioner and the respondent as the case
may be. The order passed in this application is limited to
obtain a fresh or renewed passport to the child Sareena
Anumolu and the mentioning of the addresses under various
heads can also be agitated in the trial of the case.
The entire order herein is passed without prejudice to the
rights and contention of both the parties in this case.
9. Mr. L. Ravichander, learned senior counsel, appearing for
Mr. Deepak Misra, learned counsel for the petitioner, submitted that
the child is residing in India since 2009. Neither the petitioner nor the
respondent has property in USA to claim permanent address of the
child in USA. The address given by the respondent of USA is the
address of child’s maternal grandparents and the same cannot be used
as the permanent address the child. If the child’s permanent address is
shown as USA, it will amount to making a false statement and it may
attract criminal offence in USA. The petitioner and the respondent are
living with the child in Hyderabad since 2009 in the house owned by
the petitioner and the same is the permanent address of the child.
10. On the other hand, Mr. D. Devender Rao, learned counsel for
the respondent, submitted that the child is American citizen.
Her previous address is shown as that of USA and the same address is
to be shown in the passport renewal application. The petitioner is
trying to detain the child in Hyderabad by showing her address as
Hyderabad. The said action would obviously affect the prospects of the
child and lead to complications.
11. On enquiry from the learned senior counsel for the petitioner
and the learned counsel for the respondent, it is informed to this Court
that the OP.No.96 of 2014 is coming for evidence. It is apparent that
both the petitioner and the respondent have apprehension about the
future permanent residence of the child. If the address of the child in
the passport is shown as India, the respondent feels that it may give
some advantage to the petitioner and it will be difficult for her to
initiate or pursue litigation in USA. The same appears to be the case of
the petitioner, if the address of the child in the passport is shown as
12. Having given earnest consideration to the rival submissions of
the both the counsel, this Court is of the view that permanent
guardianship/custody rights over the child be decided by the Family
Court expeditiously instead of making some temporary arrangement.
If interim direction is given to include the Indian address or American
address, as the case may be, as permanent address of the child in the
renewal form, there may be possibility of change of address, if main
OP is decided in favour of a parent whose address is not shown in the
renewal form. Instead of allowing such eventuality to happen, it is
always advisable to avoid such a situation not only in the interest of
the parties but also in the welfare of the child, which is of paramount
consideration for granting guardianship/custody rights.
13. This Court takes judicial notice of the current COVID-19
pandemic situation and the prevailing travel restrictions across the
world. Neither the petitioner nor the respondent stated before this
Court that any emergency travel is required for the child to visit USA.
Moreover, on health point of view, it is also not advisable for the child
to travel to USA. It cannot be disputed that final orders passed by the
Family Court deciding the guardianship/custody rights would resolve
the controversy once for all. The address of the parent, in whose
favour the guardianship/custody rights are decided, will naturally be
the address of the child in the passport.
14. In view of the above, the civil revision petition is disposed of
with the following observations by modifying the impugned order
passed by the Court below:
a. The Family Court shall dispose of the OP as early as
possible, preferably, within a period of three (3) months
from the date of receipt of a copy of this order.
b. The Court below while deciding the main OP shall also
consider the issue of child’s permanent address, which is
to be mentioned in the passport/renewal form and if
necessary, separate issue be framed in that regard.
c. The trial of the OP shall be conducted through video
conference without insisting upon the presence of the
parties, if necessary, by appointing an Advocate
Commissioner and by fixing the schedule of trial and by
directing both the parties to exchange list of witnesses in
advance to be examined on a particular date as per the
Pending miscellaneous petitions, if any, shall stand closed.
There shall be no order as to costs.
B. VIJAYSEN REDDY, J
July , 2021