Bollywood actress Karisma Kapoor on Saturday told the Delhi high court that she was deserted by her 'disgruntled' husband Sanjay Kapur who dragged her to court in a 'crude attempt' to seek redress of their matrimonial issues by using their five-month-old daughter Samaira as a 'pawn'.
In her affidavit filed in response to Sanjay's petition seeking to restrain Karisma from taking Samaira abroad, the actress said he constructively deserted her and that he was aware why she was 'compelled to reside in Mumbai'.
Karisma said after their marriage, they took up residence in Delhi. However, Sanjay supressed the essential fact that 'thereafter the petitioner (Sanjay) constructively deserted this respondent (Karisma) who was left with no option but to leave Delhi in January, 2005, and reside separately from her husband in Mumbai'.
Karisma alleged that barring a few occasional visits to meet their daughter, the petitioner has played no part in the upbringing and welfare of the minor child even today.
"Particularly, the petitioner (Sanjay) has made no financial contribution to the upkeep of the child and the pre-natal, delivery and post-natal care of the mother," she submitted in her affidavit filed through Karanjawala and Co.
The actress alleged that her husband's entire thrust in the instant petition was to settle his personal grudge against her and take Samaira permanently away from her and deprive the minor permanently of the care and custody of its mother.
Karisma, who was invited by United States Federation of Indian Associations to take part as grand marshal in the Silver Jubilee Celebrations of India Day Parade in Manhattan between August 20 and 22, 2005, said she wanted to take her daughter along as Samaira was too young to be left in care of other persons and that she was bound to return, given her deep roots in India.
Alleging that Sanjay's petition had not been filed bona-fide and no case had been made out for revocation or impounding of Samaira's passport, Karisma urged the court to dismiss Sanjay's petition and vacate the August 5 interim orders restraining her from taking her daughter abroad.
She accused her estranged husband of suppressing the fact that he had voluntarily opted for US citizenship and that he was not an Indian citizen.
In this background, she said apart from there being no legal necessity to consult Sanjay in applying for Samaira's passport, she sincerely believed that her husband would not have any objection to Samaira travelling abroad with her.
Contending that there was no illegality in the issuance of passport to the minor, she wondered how the petitioner could seek cancellation of Samaira's passport without making her a party to these proceedings.
Meanwhile, the Centre too sought dismissal of Sanjay's petition for lack of territorial jurisdiction as the passport was issued by RPO, Mumbai.
In its affidavit filed on Saturday in the court, Centre said consent of both the parents was not needed for issuance of a passport to a minor and that the parent having custody of the child could apply for the same.
Maintaining that right to travel abroad was included in the expression 'personal liberty', the Centre said no person can be deprived of his/her right to travel abroad except in accordance with procedure established by law.
It clarified that the procecure for revocation or impounding of a person's passport was prescribed under Section 10 of Passport Act, 1967 and the instant case did not warrant revocation of Samaira's passport.
Now, Sanjay is supposed to file his rejoinder to the affidavits filed by Karisma and the Centre by August 24 and the court will further hear the matter on August 26.
Earlier, Justice Mukul Mudgal had on August 12 advised Karisma and her industrialist husband to settle their matrimonial dispute in the best interest of their daughter.
Meanwhile, the interim order restraining Karisma from taking the child abroad would continue till the next date.
In his petition filed through counsel Manali Singhal, Sanjay Kapur alleged that Karisma got issued a passport to their minor daughter without his consent by flouting all laws and that she was planning to leave for the US along with Samaira without taking him into confidence.
Sanjay contended that the RPO, Mumbai arbitrarily and illegally issued a passport to his daughter as her residential address was his New Delhi address and not the Mumbai one mentioned in the passport.
He had submitted that for Samaira's passport, it could only be applied at the Regional Passport Office, New Delhi as it is Karisma's matrimonial home.