Bombay HC Directs Police To Visit Rajasthan To Trace Woman’s Whereabouts Who Went Missing After Intercaste Marriage

Bombay HC Directs Police To Visit Rajasthan To Trace Woman’s Whereabouts Who Went Missing After Intercaste Marriage

The woman allegedly detained by her father as he did not approve of her inter-community and intercaste marriage.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Sunday, June 02, 2024, 09:12 AM IST
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Bombay High Court | PTI

Observing that it was concerned about the emotional well-being of the woman and that she would not leave her six months old baby, the Bombay High Court has directed the police to visit Rajasthan to track her whereabouts and produce her in court at the earliest.

“We are concerned about the emotional well-being of the lady and if her autonomy is being exercised,” a vacation bench of Justices Nitin Borkar and Somasekhar Sundaresan said on May 29. 

The HC heard a habeas corpus (produce person in court) petition filed by her husband from Kolhapur alleging that she was detained by her father as he disapproved of their inter-community and intercaste marriage. They knew each other since college and married in February 2022 and had a son in November 2023. 

On february 5, she was informed by someone that her father was unwell and she went to see him. As she did not return, the husband filed a police complaint the next day stating that she is being taken to Rajasthan. 

In April, the HC had issued notice to the woman’s father directing him to keep her daughter present in the court on April 22. As he failed to appear, notices were issued to him on two other occasions. 

“Prima-facie, it appears to us that this Court is being avoided, perhaps in the fond hope that somehow the matter can keep getting postponed,” the bench said. 

At the last hearing, his advocate informed the court that the daughter was living with him on “her own free will and does not desire to come down to Mumbai where her husband resides”. 

Disagreeing, the judges noted: “Such a stance appeared to us improbable and inexplicable, since the couple has a son aged six months who has been left with the father without a mother at such a tender age. It is not normal at all for this Court to see situations where a mother abandons a six month-old child overnight.”

The judges said that the husband's apprehensions were, prima facie, “not without basis”. “Such apprehensions appear to be underlined further by respondent no 2 (father-in-law) and the advocate absenting themselves from today’s hearing,” the judges underlined. 

The HC directed the Karveer police station in Kolhapur to depute police personnel, including women officers, to visit Jalore in Rajasthan to conduct enquiries and investigate from those residing in the vicinity to track the woman’s whereabouts and “produce her before this Court at the earliest”. 

It also asked the state prosecutor Prajakta Shinde to “communicate the anguish of the Court to the authorities in question and  request them to have an appropriate team to conduct the aforesaid exercise”. 

“No sooner than (wife) is identified, she must be brought to Mumbai,” the bench said.

Husband’s advocate Harshad Sathe said they will provide “multiple potential addresses and clues and leads” to Karveer Police Station. 

The HC has kept the matter for hearing on June 11. 

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