February 4, 2023
Who is Trishanku and what is his modern version?
According to Wikipedia, the story of Trishanku's ascent to heaven is told in the Bala Kanda of the Valmiki Ramayana. This describes the legend of King Trishanku, who had been promised a place in Svarga by sage Vishvamitra. The sage engaged in a solitary yajna to achieve this. Due to the power of the sage's ceremony, the king ascended to the gates of Svarga. The devas reported this to Indra, who angrily kicked Trishanku from the abode because of his low birth, sending him hurtling towards the earth. Vishvamitra was able to halt his fall mid-way during his descent, and so the king was left suspended in the air. Indra opted to create a new Svarga below his own Svarga as a compromise, just for the residence of Trishanku. In retort, Vishvamitra created a new Indra and devas to occupy the new heaven with the king. Terrified of the powers of the sage, Indra relented, and personally carried Trishanku to the real Svarga on his own golden vimana.
Modern Trishankus are born of intercontinental marriages, specially between Indian grooms settled in USA/Canada and married to Indian brides loaded with fat dowries by salivating parents. Many of these marriages break down and end up in courts while children born of such marriages float around like Trishankus. Here are two such cases widely reported in the media and excerpted below.
Domestic violence case valid even if woman’s spouse lives abroad: Madras HC
Any woman residing in India either temporarily or permanently is entitled to seek relief from a court of law under the Domestic Violence Act even if her spouse lives outside the country, the Madras High Court said on February 1,2023. Justice S M Subramaniam issued the order while dismissing a petition filed by a US citizen challenging a domestic violence complaint filed by his wife against him in a Chennai family court. "The cause of action arises in India since the aggrieved person is residing here, even if abused economically by the spouse residing in another country," he said.
The judge refused to accept the husband's contention that his wife's complaint should be quashed as a court in the US had already passed an ex parte decree on a divorce petition filed by him and given him custody of their 15-year-old twins.
"Recognition of decrees and orders passed by foreign courts remains an eternal dilemma as, whenever called upon to do so, courts in this country are bound to determine the validity of such decrees and orders keeping in view the provisions of the CPC," Justice Subramaniam said."Foreign courts taking a particular view on any aspect concerning the welfare of a minor is not enough for the courts in this country to shut out an independent consideration of the matter."
Referring to a division bench of the same court giving custody of the children to the father, Justice Subramaniam said, "Forcible handing over of the children to their father would result in psychological disadvantages, and the minor boys may not be in a position to have peaceful life in the absence of their mother."
The judge said due consideration must be given to the children since they were "mature minors" and gave the mother interim custody.
Here is a second Trishanku-related court case.
SC seeks Centre's reply on possible mutual agreements with USA in custody matters
The Supreme Court sought the Centre's response on the issue of exploring the possibility of entering into mutual agreements with the US in matters related to child custody disputes as such cases are increasing due to Indians residing there. The apex court passed the order while holding a man, who is a resident of the US since 2004, guilty of civil contempt for his failure to bring back his child to India on the order of the court in May 2022.
A bench of justices S K Kaul and A S Oka noted in its January 16, 2023 order that the contempt petition filed by the woman, who married in 2007, is an outcome of an unfortunate matrimonial dispute and "as it happens in every such dispute, the child is the worst sufferer". It said as a result of the "breaches committed" by the man, the woman has been deprived of the custody of her 12-year-old son to which she is entitled in terms of the May 11, 2022 order.
According to the terms of settlement recorded in that order, the child, who was in sixth standard at that time, shall continue to live at Ajmer and complete his education up to 10th standard and thereafter, he shall be shifted to the US where the father was residing. It was also agreed that until the child completes his education up to 10th standard, he would visit Canada and the US with his father every year from June 1 to June 30.
The bench noted in its order the man came to Ajmer on June 7 2022 and took his son with him to Canada but he failed to bring him back to India.
"Therefore, we have no manner of doubt that there is willful disobedience on the part of the respondent (man) of the direction to bring back the child to India within one month," it said. Observing that violations made by the man are of a "very serious nature", the bench held him guilty of civil contempt.
"We also feel that even though India may not be a party to the Hague Convention, there may be a possibility of entering into mutual agreements with the USA as the number of such cases is increasing on account of Indian residents staying in the US," it said.
The top court noted that the counsel appearing for the CBI has submitted before it that a notice dated December 27, 2022 has been issued to the man, who was present in the court proceedings held on January 16 through virtual mode, asking him to appear before the agency on January 31. It said the counsel has also submitted that if the man does not appear, steps will be taken under the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty with the US which is in force since October 3, 2005.
The apex court noted that according to the case of the woman, after the birth of their child, at the instance of the man, both she and her son were sent to Canada where the man's mother and sister were residing.
The woman said that in July 2013, she along with her son were thrown out of the house which compelled her to come to India in August 2013.
The subject is open to many views. What are yours? Your response is welcome in the format given below (Pl. scroll down a bit). Once again, welcome to reason.