A bench comprising Chief Justice Uday Umesh Lalit and Justice P S Narasimha also ordered the release of Rs 25 lakh, out of total Rs one crore deposited with the apex court registry by the contemnor earlier as security, to the woman within seven days to pursue the legal and other remedy in Kenya for securing the custody of her son.
“Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati submits that the Indian embassy in Kenya shall extend every possible support and help to … in Kenya on every count in helping her get the custody of the child,” the bench noted in the order.
The bench said the woman wanted to travel to Kenya during Christmas vacation in pursuit of getting the custody back of her son and directed the Centre that “every possible step needed shall be taken to expedite the process”.
“Considering the fact that …(the woman) is now required to go to Kenya to have access and to get the custody of …(son), a sum of Rs 25 lakh, out of Rs 50 lakh which presently lying as deposits in the registry of this court, be handed over to her. The needful be done within seven days from today,” it ordered.
The bench passed the order keeping in mind the “peculiar situations which have arisen out of the case” and granted the woman the liberty to move the court for any appropriate direction on or before December 15, the next date of hearing.
Earlier, the bench had reserved its verdict on the punishment to be awarded to convicted contemnor Kansagra.
The ASG and senior advocate Sonia Mathur, appearing for the Centre and the mother of the child respectively, had sought the severest punishment for Kansagra for disobeying various orders of the apex court, besides a direction to the authorities that the woman be granted the custody of her son who was taken to Kenya by the contemnor by playing fraud upon the court.
Mathur had also sought release of remaining Rs 50 lakh, out of Rs 1 crore deposited by the contemnor, in the favour of the mother.
The apex court had earlier ordered release of Rs 25 lakh each twice in favour of the woman.
Kansagra, according to the terms imposed by the apex court, had deposited Rs 1 crore with the registry at the time of taking away his son to Kenya as security.
Earlier, taking serious note of the “fraud” played upon it by Kansagra, the bench had 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 had 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 Kansagra by October 8 so that it may proceed with their attachment.
The top court, 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 had 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.
Kansagra, who holds dual citizenship of Kenya as well as the UK, 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 the registration of a suo motu contempt case. PTI SJK ZMN