The Orissa High Court has dismissed a writ petition filed by Biranchi Das, coach of child marathon runner Budhia Singh, against the interference of a state body in the adoption and protection of the four-year-old wunderkind.
The state Child Welfare Committee (CWC), constituted under the Juvenile Justice (Care and protection) Act, 2000, had summoned Das in January last year to appear before it on the allegations that he was over exploiting the kid for commercial gain. "The committee had also issued arrest warrant against Das," Bibhu Prasad Tripathy, the lawyer of the coach said.
Das had moved the high court protesting the intervention of the committee, which he says was his personal matter as he adopted Budhia through a registered adoption and was training him in long distance running, Tripathy said.
The coach, who had filed his petition in April last year, had said that the constitution of such a committee and summons issued to him were illegal. Das had also questioned the issuance of the arrest warrant, he said.
A division bench of the court comprising Chief Justice Sujit Barman Ray and Justice MM Das on Thursday dismissed the petition, saying that as per Section 52 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and protection) Act, 2000, there is a provision of appeal to challenge the order of the CWC.
The appeal should be made before the session judge's court. Therefore, the court cannot entertain the petition unless the alternative remedy is exhausted, Tripathy said, quoting the high court ruling.
The court, however, directed that the arrest warrant issued by the CWC should not be executed for a month and the committee should fix a date for the appearance of Das and Budhia in court, the lawyer said.
If both of them do not appear on that date, the committee may take action as provided under the law, the court said.
The hearing concluded on June 20 last year but the verdict was reserved since then, Tripathy said. However, it was delivered in an open court on Thursday, he added.
Das and his wife adopted Budhia after reportedly rescuing him from a slum and helped him become a running sensation.
Budhia became a celebrity last year after running 60 kms from Puri to Bhubaneswar. The state government had then banned Budhia from running long distances.
However, he runs at least 20 kms every day, covering 45 kms twice a week and greater distances once in a fortnight.
The wonder kid is now studying in a leading city school where the authorities have waived his tuition fees but asked his custodian (the coach) to provide the textbooks.
"I am waiting for a certified copy of the court order after that only I will comment on the matter," Das said.