The Rajasthan High Court, Jodhpur Bench has handed over custody of a minor child to her teenage mother and directed action against the former member of CWC (Child Welfare Committee) who misused her status in the facilitation of an illegal adoption.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Arun Bhansali and Justice Rajendra Prakash Soni held, “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. … 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.”

The Bench while considering the sequence of events of the matter said that it paints a sorry state of affairs which are happening in the society.

Advocate Muktesh Maheshwari appeared for the petitioner while Government Advocate M.A. Siddiqui, Advocate Pradeep Shah, and Advocate Priyanka Borana appeared for the respondents.

In this case, a habeas corpus petition was filed by the petitioner seeking the production of her infant daughter from her father. The petitioner eloped with a man at the age of 17 years and their cohabitation resulted in birth of a girl child last year and as per the case of the petitioner, at the time of the birth of the said child, she was with her father and immediately after the birth, the child was removed from her custody by him whereafter the whereabouts of the child were unknown.

Subsequently, after attaining the age of majority, the petitioner again went to live with that man. She sought back the custody of her child from her father with the allegations that the child’s whereabouts were not known and hence approached the respondents. The factual report produced by the respondents notified that the father of the petitioner handed over the custody of the child to a former member of CWC who in turn handed over the same to some other woman.

The High Court in the above context observed, “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.”

The Court also noted that surprisingly, when the custody of the said child was taken from the petitioner in the month of August last year, apparently she remained silent for over eight months without even caring for the whereabouts of the child and then took steps to gain back the custody on attaining majority.

Accordingly, the Court disposed of the plea.

Cause Title- XYZ v. The State of Rajasthan (Neutral Citation: 2023/RJJD/016760)

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