Bombay high court reunites Hindu girl with Muslim foster family
The Bombay high court recently reunited a 14-year-old Hindu girl with the four-member Muslim family that brought her up ever since her biological mother abandoned her.
Justice Gautam Patel ignored the biological mother’s plea for her custody primarily on the ground that the woman was involved in some immoral activity. The girl was handed over the foster family on July 24.
The Muslim family approached the high court, seeking guardianship of the girl. They contended that she had been living with them and has been taken care of as a family member since her biological mother abandoned her and moved to Kanpur.
They complained that the biological mother returned to Mumbai and demanded the girl’s custody. They said the biological mother and one of her male friends had forcibly taken away the girl. The girl was brought back only after the petitioners approached the Child Welfare Committee. She was sent to a children’s home at Umarkhadi in south Mumbai.
Noticing that the girl had to unnecessarily spend two months at the children’s home, Justice Patel on July 4 sent her to the residence of an advocate, who was willing to accommodate her and provide for her daily requirements for the time being.
On July 24, the judge again interviewed the teenager and reunited her with her foster family after noticing that she desperately wanted to go back to “the only family that she has known almost since birth”.
“She emphatically said she did not want to go anywhere except to the Petitioners’ family and home,” said Justice Patel.
“She is a young but articulate and intelligent. She is determined and knows where her own interests lie. Her own wishes, given her age, cannot be ignored,” the judge said.
The court also directed the in-charge of the Tardeo police station“to periodically monitor the situation and ensure that there is no untoward incident”. The guardianship petition filed by the Muslim family is now posted for further hearing on August 13.