Six days after the Bombay High Court ruled in favour of the maternal grandmother of an eight-year-old girl in a custody battle with the child’s paternal grandmother, the maternal grandmother is set to move the court once again with a Habeas Corpus petition on Wednesday. She had sought custody of her granddaughter, who has now allegedly been “kidnapped” by the paternal grandmother.
According to her petition, after the Bombay High Court judgment on November 15, the maternal grandmother went to the address of the paternal grandmother in Raigad to seek custody of the girl on Monday. There, she learnt that the paternal grandmother had “kidnapped” the minor girl, and taken her away from the jurisdiction of the local police station, the petition stated. She filed an FIR at Goregaon Police Station in Raigad district on November 20.
The maternal grandmother, who was in Mumbai on Tuesday, told The Indian Express over the phone, “When I went to the paternal grandmother’s home on Monday, there was no one there and their neighbours told me they were not there since last Friday. Everyone’s phones are switched off. When I had spoken to them last Friday about picking up my granddaughter, they had congratulated me. I have not seen my granddaughter since Diwali.”
The child’s Hindu mother and Muslim father had a love marriage on May 11, 2008. On August 8 the same year, the mother converted to Islam and changed her name. Their daughter was born on March 2, 2009. The couple were then living in Dubai and on March 11, 2013, the husband allegedly strangulated his wife to death and is presently on death row in UAE.
The grandmothers had then contested for custody of the girl. In course of the custodial battle, the paternal grandmother had accused the child’s maternal uncles of sexually abusing her, an allegation that was believed to be a pressure tactic. “After considering all parameters of the welfare of the child, I uphold the order passed by the district judge, Mangaon, Raigad, appointing the maternal grandmother as guardian,” the court had said.
The court had directed the maternal grandmother not to shift the child to Kerala or outside Maharashtra and she had agreed to stay with the child at Dombivli. The paternal grandmother had taken the child in April 2013 and never returned her, claims the petition. The maternal grandmother alleged that the paternal grandmother “has deliberately kidnapped the minor girl, and absconded with her. The Director General of Police and senior inspector of police (Goregaon Police Station) ought to ensure that the child is protected by taking her in custody and brought before the court immediately”. She fears that the life of the minor girl is at stake.
She has sought directions from the court to ask the police to bring the child before the court and take action against the paternal grandmother.