Rajasthan High Court Reunites Teenage Mother With Her 9 Months Old Baby
Sanjeev Sirohi, Advocate
A-82, Defence Enclave, Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera, Meerut, Uttar Pradesh
Email Id : firstname.lastname@example.org
Date : 21/06/2023
Location : S/o Col. BPS Sirohi, A-82, Defence Enclave, Sardhana Road, Kankerkhera, Meerut-250001, Uttar Pradesh
Rajasthan High Court Reunites Teenage Mother With Her 9 Months Old BabyLaw Finder Doc Id #2248488 While coming out most vocally in favour of teenage mother and taking the most credible, courageous and commendable decision, the Rajasthan High Court at Jodhpur has in a most learned, laudable, landmark and latest judgment titled Meghna Kanwar Chouhan v. The State of Rajasthan in D.B. Habeas Corpus Petition No. 118/2023 that was pronounced on May 23, 2023 and that was downloaded on June 15, 2023 has directed "adoptive parents" of a child to hand over the custody of the nine-month-old to her biological mother, after finding that the child was illegally taken away by the woman's father and handed over to someone else. It must be mentioned here that the child is over 9 months old and her mother is about 18 years and three months old. It also ought to be noted that the custody of the minor child was handed over to the biological mother in court itself on May 23 which is the date of hearing. It must be also certainly pointed out here that the court's decision came after the teenager who had earlier eloped as a minor at the age of 17 and had then given birth to a child filed a habeas corpus petition. At the very outset, this remarkable, robust, rational and recent judgment authored by the Division Bench of Hon'ble Mr Justice Arun Bhansali and Hon'ble Mr Justice Rajendra Prakash Soni of Rajasthan High Court at Jodhpur sets the ball in motion by first and foremost putting forth in para 1 that, "This petition in the nature of Habeas Corpus has been filed by the petitioner, inter-alia, seeking production of her infant daughter from respondent No.3, father of the petitioner." While expressing its extreme disappointment over the increasing number of such cases, the Division Bench lamented in para 2 of this commendable judgment that, "The sequence of events, which have come on record, paints a sorry state of affairs, which are happening in the society." To put things in perspective, the Division Bench envisages in para 3 of this notable judgment that, "The petitioner admittedly minor (date of birth 25.02.2005), eloped with one Faizan Khan at the age of about 17 years and their cohabitation resulted in birth of a girl child on 18.08.2022." As it turned out, the Division Bench then discloses in para 4 of this noteworthy judgment observing that, "It is the case of the petitioner that at the time of birth of the child, the petitioner was with her father and immediately after birth of the child, the child was removed from her custody by her father, whereafter the whereabouts of the child were unknown." As we see, the Division Bench then also reveals in para 5 of this brief judgment that, "Subsequently, the petitioner again after attaining majority went to live with her father." Simply put, the Division Bench then points out in para 6 of this brilliant judgment that, "This petition has been filed on 19.04.2023, apparently after the petitioner attained majority seeking back the custody of her child from her father with the allegations that the whereabout of the child were not known." As things stand, the Division Bench then hastens to add in para 7 of this rational judgment stating that, "Under the order dated 09.05.2023 passed by this Court, the petitioner approached the respondents regarding the missing child born on 18.08.2022 and learned Additional Advocate General was directed to produce a factual report." Do note, the Division Bench notes in para 8 of this robust judgment that, "On 19.05.2023, a factual report was produced, inter-alia, indicating that the child presently was with one Mr. Anuj and the communication was received on mobile by the police that he was prepared to produce the child before the Court and noticing the glaring indications made in the factual report, the matter was ordered to be listed today and the infant was directed to be produced before the Court." Further, the Division Bench then lays bare in para 9 of this remarkable judgment that, "The factual report produced by the respondents on 19.05.2023, specifically noticed the fact that father of the petitioner had handed over the custody of the six days' infant to Asha Ramawat, who claims to be previously a member of Child Welfare Committee in the year 2016 and in the year 2020-2021, she was CWC support person and was a social worker, who in turn handed over the child to sister of Manju Pokharna, who was residing in Delhi and who might have handed over the child to her daughter, who is resident of Mumbai." Furthermore, the Division Bench then also mentions in para 10 of this balanced judgment that, "Today, the infant has been produced by Mrs. Disha w/o Mr. Anuj before the Court who has appeared along with her counsel and she has indicated that the custody of the child was handed over to her by one Mrs. Asha Ramawat resident of Bhilwara." It is worth noting that the Division Bench then notes in para 11 of this creditworthy judgment that, "Submissions have been made on her behalf that the child was aged only six days and was abandoned by father of the petitioner and was left with Asha Ramawat, and on account of the fact that she is childless, as her mother had previously talked with Asha Ramawat, the child was handed over to her through her mother, for taking care of the child." Still more, the Division Bench specifies in para 12 of this straightforward judgment that, "Learned counsel for Mrs. Disha fairly submits that the action of Asha Ramawat and subsequent handing over of the child to Mrs. Disha, was contrary to the provisions of law. However, it was submitted that the child has been looked after well and they have no objection in handing over back the child to the petitioner." Most forthrightly, the Division Bench then very rightly propounds in para 13 stating that, "Having considered the sequence of events as noticed hereinbefore, besides fact that the action of respondent No.3 father of the petitioner, in handing over a six days' old child to someone after taking the custody from the mother, irrespective of the fact that the mother was minor at the relevant time, and thereafter the action of the purported social worker, who was earlier member of CWC, cannot be countenanced under any circumstances." It cannot be glossed over that the Division Bench then brings out in para 14 that, "On the part of the petitioner also, it is surprising that when the custody of the child was taken from her around 24.08.2022, apparently she remained silent for over eight months without even caring for the whereabouts of the child and thereafter, apparently on attaining majority, has taken steps to gain back the custody of the child." Most significantly, the Division Bench then minces just no words to hold in no uncertain terms in para 15 of this refreshing judgment that, "Be that as it may, as the conduct of Ms. Asha Ramawat is wholly contrary to law, who under the guise of social activity, apparently in conspiracy with maternal grandfather of the infant to espouse her personal interest, for the purpose of getting rid of the child, has misused her status as former member of CWC, which is required to be dealt with in accordance with law by the respondent Nos.1 & 2, who are directed accordingly." It would be instructive to note that the Division Bench then observes in para 16 of this laudable judgment that, "Be that as it may, as the conduct of Ms. Asha Ramawat is wholly contrary to law, who under the guise of social activity, apparently in conspiracy with maternal grandfather of the infant to espouse her personal interest, for the purpose of getting rid of the child, has misused her status as former member of CWC, which is required to be dealt with in accordance with law by the respondent Nos.1 & 2, who are directed accordingly." In addition, the Division Bench then for the sake of clarity clarifies in para 16 of this logical judgment that, "Insofar as, the custody of the minor child is concerned, the same be handed over to the petitioner and in fact has been handed over by Mrs. Disha to the petitioner in the Court itself." Finally, the Division Bench then concludes aptly by holding in para 17 of this convincing judgment that, "The petition stands disposed of accordingly." All said and done, we thus see quite distinctly that the Rajasthan High Court in this leading case has most rightly reunited the teenage mother with her nine months old baby as was the right thing also to doing such type of cases. As anticipated, we also see that the Rajasthan High Court while getting miffed at the illegal adoption that was done by Ms. Asha Ramawat ordered action to be taken against former member of CWC in accordance with law. Very rightly so!
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