Bollywood actress Karisma Kapoor's husband Sanjay Kapur on Wednesday moved an application before the Delhi high court seeking to implead their five-month-old daughter Samaira as a co-petitioner and appoint him as the next friend of the minor for court proceedings.
In his application filed through counsel Manisha Singhal, Sanjay said he was the natural guardian of Samaira and as such, he was responsible for and entitled to take all decisions relating to the minor in her interest.
Sanjay's application is likely to be taken up on August 26 when his writ petition comes up for hearing.
Also read: Karisma's husband files case against her
Earlier, Sanjay had filed a writ petition seeking to restrain Karisma from going abroad along with Samaira. He had also sought the cancellation of the minor's passport issued by the Regional Passport Office, Mumbai.
Interestingly, it was Karisma whose counsel had on the last date wondered how the petitioner was seeking cancellation of Samaira's passport without impleading her as a party to the case.
Contending that 'custody of the child does not ipso facto amount to guardianship', Sanjay said while Karisma may be in the actual physical custody of the child by unilaterally keeping the minor away from her rightful home, 'she (Karisma) is not the sole guardian of our daughter.'
Sanjay had submitted a certificate from a Delhi-based paediatrician who advised against the five-month-old baby's travel to the US as it would expose the baby to unnecessary hazards of infection as a result of the travel in a confined aircraft cabin for at least 24 hours each way.
It could also result in possible Barotrauma to the ear from air travel, jet lag and interruption of routine, the certificate issued by the doctor said.
In her affidavit in response to Sanjay's petition, Karisma, had on August 20, said she was deserted by her 'disgruntled' husband, who had dragged her to court in a 'crude attempt' to seek redressal of their matrimonial issues by using their five-month-old daughter Samaira as a 'pawn'.
The actress said Sanjay constructively deserted her and that he was aware why she was 'compelled to reside in Mumbai.'
Seeking dismissal of Sanjay's petition on the ground of lack of jurisdiction as the passport was issued by the RPO, Karisma submitted that the contours of the petition left no doubt that it was nothing but a 'crude attempt' to urge and seek redressal of matrimonial issues by using the minor as a pawn.
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..
Sanjay was supposed to file his rejoinder to Karisma's affidavit on Wednesday. Karisma had alleged that her husband's entire thrust in the instant petition was to settle his personal grudge against her and take Samaira away from her and deprive the minor permanently of the care and custody of its mother.
Karisma, who was invited by the US 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 Samaira along as the baby was too young to be left in the care of others and that she was bound to return given her deep roots in India.
The actress accused her estranged husband of suppressing the fact that he had voluntarily opted for US citizenship and that he was not an Indian citizen.
The Centre too has sought dismissal of Sanjay's petition for lack of territorial jurisdiction as the passport was issued by RPO, Mumbai.
In its affidavit filed in the court, the Centre said the 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.
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.
Sanjay alleged that Karisma got a passport issued 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.
Meanwhile, the interim order restraining Karisma from taking the child abroad would continue till August 26