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Parents get custody after minor agrees

HT Correpondent  Faridkot, November 21, 2012
First Published: 22:30 IST(21/11/2012) | Last Updated: 22:33 IST(21/11/2012)

Parents of 15-year-old faridkot girl who had been abducted two months ago and later found in Goa, finally got her custody as she told the court that she wanted to go with them. This also led to the end of a protest at the police station by the citizens' joint action committee, which had been formed after she had been abducted at gunpoint from her house on September 24.

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Though she had been recovered and main accused Nishan Singh (19) arrested from Goa on October 21, the girl had expressed unwillingness to go with her parents and thus was technically in judicial custody at the Nari Niketan in Jalandhar since October 23.

On Wednesday, as the court of chief judicial magistrate (CJM) Dr Rajneesh ruled in favour of her father Ashwani Sachdeva's November 8 petition seeking her custody, two other petitions filed by her father - one seeking medical termination of her pregnancy allegedly effected by rape, and the other against excessive police presence at the Nari Niketan -- were rendered 'infructuous' (of no consequence), as she no longer remained in judicial custody, said her parents' lawyer Narinder Kumar Jeet.

"The termination of pregnancy is a call that remains with her parents, as she is below 16 and in their custody now," Jeet added.

She had been found four weeks pregnant on October 27, after she had finally given her consent to a medical test. This had also led to rape charges being slapped on the accused.

Experts said that, as per procedure, now the parents have to back their demand with medical opinion, that having a child at this age could affect her mentally. Her parents were not available for comment as they left in a police vehicle with Shruti for an undisclosed location.

Earlier, as per the court summons dated November 19, the police brought Shruti from Jalandhar around noon. Flanked by members of the action committee, Shruti's mother Seema was confident that there would be no repeat of October 23, when Shruti had changed her mind after initially saying she wanted to go with her parents.

The girl recorded the statement that she wanted to accompany her parents and was not under any pressure. The court adjourned the proceedings till 3pm for a decision, and finally ruled that she be handed over to her parents.

"Nishan's counsel argued against the custody to her parents, saying that the girl was Nishan's wife. But the court did not take the argument into account as the girl is below the legal age for marriage," Jeet claimed.

The copy of the judgment was not immediately available.

Under immense public pressure, around 20 people have been arrested in the case so far, including Nishan, his mother Navjot Kaur and a family friend Dimpy Samra.

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