Session January 17, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Shelby County No. CT-004060-16
Robert L. Childers, Judge.
an interlocutory appeal limited to the issue of whether the
orders of an Indian court regarding matters pending in India
is entitled to full faith and credit, such that this
state's trial court lacks jurisdiction over custody of
the minor child pursuant to the Uniform Child Custody
Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. The mother, an Indian
citizen but permanent resident of the United States, filed an
action in India seeking the return of her minor son. She
contends that her son, a citizen of the United States, is
being detained illegally in India by her husband and his
family. The Indian court ruled that the child should remain
with the paternal grandparents in India at this time. The
mother, thereafter, filed an action for divorce in Shelby
County. After a hearing, the state trial court ordered, inter
alia, that the father, also an Indian citizen but permanent
resident of the United States, return the child to Tennessee
within seven days. Upon the trial court's denial of the
father's request for an interlocutory appeal pursuant to
Rule 9, the father sought a Rule 10 extraordinary appeal of
the trial court's ruling. We find that the appeal was
improvidently granted. Accordingly, we decline to address the
issue presented and dismiss the appeal.
R. App. P. 10 Extraordinary Appeal; Dismissed; Case Remanded.
L. Brown, Jr. and Leigh-Taylor White, Memphis, Tennessee, for
the appellant, Vaneet Singh.
Melinda Plass Jewell and Sarah Carter, Memphis, Tennessee,
for the appellee, Siminder Kaur.
W. McClarty, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
J. Steven Stafford, P.J., W.S., and Arnold B. Goldin, J.,
W. MCCLARTY, JUDGE
appeal arises from a divorce proceeding and involves the
trial court's subject matter jurisdiction. The parties in
this case are Siminder Kaur ("Mother") and Vaneet
Singh ("Father"). They are of Indian descent and
were married on March 9, 2008, in Mali, India. Both parties
have retained their Indian citizenship, but they became
permanent residents of the United States in 2012. The
parties' permanent residence is located in Collierville
in Shelby County, Tennessee. Mother previously worked for St.
Jude for four years; for the last two years she has worked at
International Paper in Memphis. Father, who works for
Medtronic as an engineer, travels back and forth from the
United States to India as his work dictates. Their minor son
is Anhad Singh ("the Child"), born in Germantown,
Tennessee. The Child, therefore, is a citizen of the United
October 2015, the parties, who had been experiencing marital
issues, traveled to India for a family wedding. Once in
India, Father proposed that the Child be left with his
parents there for a short period of time in order to allow
the parties an opportunity to work through their marital
difficulties. Mother initially refused the idea, but she
finally agreed in an attempt to save her marriage. According
to Father, on November 24, 2015, he and Mother signed a
letter to the Bureau of Immigration in India in the presence
of an Executive Magistrate giving written permission to the
paternal grandfather "to submit forms, applications, and
other necessary documents" so that the Child could
receive status as a registered Overseas Citizen of India
after departing India without the Child, Mother began to
question the decision. She sent multiple text messages and
emails to Father expressing her concern and also her
displeasure with the fact that he did not exhibit a desire to
save the marriage. Over time, she concluded that leaving her
son behind in India so that the couple could concentrate on
the marriage had been a ruse to separate her from the Child.
April 2016, Mother purchased airline tickets for herself and
the Child and traveled to Mohali, Punjab, India to retrieve
the Child from the paternal grandparents. Mother contends
that she was refused access to the Child and learned that
Father's family had filed complaints against her before
her arrival. She asserts that when she attempted to enlist
the help of local law enforcement to gain access to the Child
and his United States passport, she was denied help.
in India, in an attempt to gain custody of the Child, Mother
filed a criminal habeas corpus petition for wrongful
detention on April 26, 2016. Father describes the litigation
history in India as follows:
1. The parties in this divorce action have been embroiled in
numerous legal proceedings in India since April of 2016, all
but one of which have been initiated by [Mother]. . . .
a. On April 26, 2016, [Mother] filed a Habeas Corpus Petition
in the High Court of Punjab and Haryana . . . . wherein
[Mother] requested that she be awarded custody of the
parties' minor child .....
b. On April 29, 2016, [Mother] filed a petition with a
separate trial court at her native place of Ludhiana, Punjab,
India, asking for grant of maintenance under Section 125 Code
of Criminal Procedure of India, which provides for a grant of
maintenance to a spouse under certain specific conditions
arising from marital disputes. This matter is still pending
c. On May 2, 2016, [Mother] filed a complaint/application for
Protection Order, Residence Order, Order for Monetary relief
and Compensation Order under Protection of Women from
Domestic Violence Act of India, before the trial court at
Ludhiana, Punjab, India, whereby she sought to restrain
[Father] and other "respondents from committing any act
of domestic violence, from alienating residential House No.
4045 . . ." and from alienating or transferring the
other properties mentioned therein; [a] residence order for
arranging separate accommodation; [and] monetary relief . . .
. [Father] appealed this Complaint to High Court of Punjab
and Haryana and received a stay on all proceedings of the
d. On May 3, 2016, [Mother] filed a police complaint with the
Ludhiana Police Department on Matrimonial disputes against
[Father] pursuant to the Indian Criminal Act. . . . This was
subsequently found to be without merit and the matter was
closed under orders of Commissioner of Police . . . .
e. On May 16, 2016, [Mother] also filed a civil suit in a
trial court in Mohali, Punjab, India, for declaration and
permanent injunction against [Father] and his parents and his
brother seeking a conveyance to her of certain rights she
alleges in and to [Father]'s parents' house at
Mohali, Punjab, ...