HC Grants Custody Of Child To Father Arrested For ‘Raping’ Mother; Check Case Details

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court granted custody of a child to its biological father who had been arrested following rape charges made by the mother.

The Maharashtra Child Welfare Committee (CWC) decided to put the child, who was delivered in November 2021 when the mother was still a minor, up for adoption.

The father filed a petition against Maharashtra CWC’s decision, which was heard by the bench of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Gauri Godse.

According to the petition, the man and the 16-year-old girl – from different religions — were in a relationship when she got pregnant. Neighbours in Mumbai, they but eloped to Karnataka and started living together, and welcomed their child nearly two years ago.

The girl’s parents, who had lodged a missing person complaint, brought her back home once she was located.

She then filed a case against her child’s father accusing him of rape under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act.

The man was arrested in March 2022.

The mother handed over the child to CWC after she turned 18 and got married to another man.

The man said in the petition that his parents had filed an application to the CWC in May 2022 seeking custody of the child after coming to know what happened.

After being released on bail, the father sought custody of his child but the CWC rejected the application and put the child up for adoption.

The high court took strong exception to the CWC’s decision.

“It was clear that the petitioner (father) and his parents made all possible efforts to get back custody of the minor child,” the high court bench said, adding the father “never surrendered or abandoned the child: and made every effort to get custody.

The high court also noted that the mother’s lawyer couldn’t point out any provision of law which would disentitle the child’s father from getting custody.

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