The Bombay High Court recently granted custody over a five-year-old child to her Dutch mother after the mother claimed that her former husband, an Indian citizen, had illegally detained their child..While doing so, a division bench of Justice AS Gadkari and Shyam Chandak also rejected the Indian father's claim that he and the child were subjected to racial discrimination by his estranged Dutch wife. "India is undoubtedly known for its zero-tolerance policy towards racial discrimination. The husband, however, had the audacity to take the shelter of the defence of racial discrimination; that too against the Petitioner, who once was his wife and spent considerable years with him. This way, he has lowered the image of India and its citizens in the view of Petitioner and her fellow nationals. We record our displeasure for this conduct as according to us, it is unethical," the Court said..The husband, an Indian national had married the Dutch woman in July 2013. He was thereafter registered as a Dutch resident. Five years later, in 2018, the couple had a child who also became a Dutch citizen.The couple later filed for divorce before a district court in Netherland. The divorce was granted on April 28, 2023, and the custody of the child was handed over to the mother.In July 2023, the same court permitted the husband to bring the child to India for a short visit between August 5-19, 2023. The husband allegedly obtained a new passport for the child with an intention to never return to the Netherlands, even though the child had an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card.When the husband did not return, the Dutch woman approached the district court in the Netherlands and urged it to order that her former husband bring back their child. Despite court orders to bring the child back, the former husband failed to comply. This compelled the wife to approach the Bombay High Court for relief..The husband opposed the petition, claiming that the child and he were subjected to racial discrimination by his former wife and family.The High Court was not convinced by the allegation and also found that the husband had raised the claim of discrimination only after he filed an appeal before the Dutch court in 2024.“The defence of racial discrimination is taken at a very belated stage and in the pleadings of this proceeding is as vague as possible,” the High Court noted.After interacting with the child, the Court also observed that the child seemed to be comfortable in the company of the mother. This ruled out the possibility of racial discrimination, the Court opined.The bench further opined that it was unjustifiable for the five-year-old child to suddenly disconnect from her native country (Netherlands).For these reasons, the Court directed that the custody of the child be handed over to the mother.