The Bombay High Court recently told a mother to not expose her child, who is suffering from autism, to any other religious faith or teachings than Zoroastrianism while they are on a holiday in the US.
The court was hearing an application by the boy’s father objecting to his son travelling abroad with his mother. The mother had moved an application earlier to take her son abroad on a six week holiday to the US. The court was told that the son has been diagnosed with autism. The mother informed the court that they would leave on July 31, from Mumbai for Washington DC and would be back by September 19.
The mother informed the court that while in America, she plans to take her son on a trip to various places including Virginia Beach, Ocean City, Luray Caverns, the Blue Ridge Mountains, New York City, Niagara Falls, Washington DC itself and, if possible on a short cruise.
However, her estranged husband objected to the application. The father’s lawyer told the court that the son should not be sent on this trip because during the last visit in December 2017 through January 2018 there was allegedly some untoward events, which were narrated by the son to his father.
Justice G S Patel held, “One recurrent complaint throughout this matter has been that the defendant (mother) has chosen virtually to abandon the Zoroastrian faith and has turned to an alternative religion. She is now suspected to be a follower or adherent of Jehovah’s Witnesses.”
The father’s lawyer alleged that the mother and a close relative had taken the son to some place in Virginia where he was apparently exposed to another religion. The lawyer further said that this has been narrated by the son himself to his father.
Justice Patel said, “I am making two things clear to the defendant (mother) so far as ….(son) is concerned. Given his medical condition, should he ever report any such incident, I will accept it as truth. I, therefore, expect that the defendant must put aside during the time of this visit and whenever…(son) is in her care, all considerations of another religion and she must not and will not at any stage and in any manner, however tangential, expose… (son) to any other faith or teachings.”
The mother has accepted the condition and has given an undertaking to this effect to the court.
Justice Patel warned the mother, “I am making it plain that should I find a slightest breach of this condition, I will make an order against the defendant restricting or even taking away all access that she may have to…(son). I cannot stress this enough. This question of faith is an extremely sensitive matter and…(son) has to be shielded from any conflict or trauma at any cost.”