January 28, 2009 12:49:38 am
The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday directed the foster as well as the biological parents of Muzaffar alias Vivek Patni to cooperate with each other in the interest of the boy.
Justice D H Waghela said in his order that the boy be sent to his biological parents every Saturday evening and kept there till Sunday evening to help him acclimatise to the new environment.
Justice Waghela also reprimanded the foster mother for not sending the boy on two occasions to his biological parents since the court order on December 30,2008. The court had directed to send the boy to his biological parents every Sunday,but the foster mother sent him only on two Sundays.
Today,Justice Waghela directed that the boy be sent to his biological parents once a week under any circumstance. The next hearing is scheduled on February 20.
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Muzaffar was two-and-a-half years old when he went missing during the attack on Gulberg Society in 2002 where his parents had been living. He was found by a policeman,who handed him over to Vikram and Veena Patni,after his biological parents could not be traced immediately.
Six months ago,activists belonging to the Citizens for Peace and Justice (CPJ) traced the boy during reinvestigation of the case by the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT).
A DNA test conducted at the SITs initiative confirmed that Salim Sheikh and his wife Zaibunnisa were the biological parents of the boy. But the Patnis refused to give up the boy when the Sheikhs made a claim. Armed with the DNA report,the Sheikhs then moved the court,seeking custody of the boy. But a magisterial court awarded Muzaffars custody to the Patnis after the boy expressed his wish to live with his foster parents.
The Sheikhs then moved the Gujarat High Court through legal help provided by the CPJ of Mumbai-based activist Teesta Setalvad. As it was an emotional issue for both parties,Justice Waghela,before whom the matter came up for hearing,promoted interaction between the two families. He directed the two parties to help the boy become familiar with his biological parents before any final decision.
The boy is presently studying in Class III.
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