‘Thought Maharashtra Police Was Best, But Couldn’t Trace A Woman’, Says Bombay HC

‘Thought Maharashtra Police Was Best, But Couldn’t Trace A Woman’, Says Bombay HC

The HC was hearing a habeas corpus (produce person in court) petition filed by the woman's husband from Kolhapur, alleging that she was detained by her father as he disapproved of their intercommunity and intercaste marriage.

Urvi MahajaniUpdated: Wednesday, June 12, 2024, 12:41 AM IST
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Bombay HC |

Mumbai: Observing that the Maharashtra and Rajasthan police have carried out a “superficial” probe to trace a 'missing' woman, who recently became a mother, the Bombay High Court has directed the superintendent of police, Kolhapur, to coordinate with his counterpart in Jalod, Rajasthan, and produced her in the court by June 20. The court also remarked it was unbelievable that police machinery of two states were unable to find a woman.

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

On February 5 this year, the woman was informed by someone that her father was unwell hence she went to see him. As she did not return, the husband filed a police complaint the next day. On May 29, the HC had asked Kolhapur police to visit Rajasthan to track her whereabouts. On Tuesday, the state advocate informed the court that the police visited her residence in Rajasthan, but did not find her. Only her grandparents were present, whose statement was recorded along with that of the neighbours.

The court questioned the police action of merely recording the grandparents’ statement. “The police have to be told how to inquire? Grandfather said she’s not there, so you came back” asked a bench of justices Bharati Dangre and Manjusha Deshpande. The court also noted that the woman’s and her parents’ mobile phones were switched off after its earlier order.

Husband’s Advocate Harshad Sathe pointed out that an advocate had earlier appeared for the woman's father, who claimed that she doesn’t want to return since she is being troubled. “If that was the case, she would not have left the baby,” Sathe added.

When the states advocate emphasised that they have searched all the known properties belonging to the woman’s family, the judges asked the police to be considerate to the infant who was without a mother.

“Your (police) methodology is simple, you go and ask the grandparents. Is this the way? Since when the police have become polite,” the bench asked. “After the court order, their phones are switched off. You don’t know how to trace that? I thought Maharashtra police was the best police,” it added.

Terming the police approach as “improbable and inexplicable”, the HC said, “Petitioner’s apprehension that she is intentionally kept confined is not unfounded.”

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