"We are in the 21st Century, still there are incidents wherein the girls are treated as commodity and they have been used as a medium for financial benefits," observed the Bombay High Court recently.
Justice SM Modak made the observation on February 8 while granting bail to one Ashwini Babar, 45, accused of taking a one-year old girl child as a collateral against lending money to her mother.
The girl’s mother worked at Pen in Satara and her father is in jail. As the mother needed money she sold the child to Babar and her husband, Sanjay Babar.
Mother sells 1-year-old girl for money
“It is highly objectionable to the principles of morality and human rights that a girl of one year is being sold by the natural mother,” noted justice Modak, adding: “I am at great pains when the word ‘sale’ is used. But the other side of the coin is that her own mother has done this act and the hard reality of the life is that she is in need of money as her husband is behind bar.”
According to prosecution, as the mother requires money, she approached the Babars. They advanced money without having a money lending license. “…but even they have committed a sin on humanity and then, went to the extent of taking the custody of daughter,” added the court.
Despite the mother repaying the money, Babars refused to hand over the child’s custody to the mother. Hence, the mother approached the police. After inquiry, the Police registered an FIR against the Babars under various sections of the Indian Penal Code; the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act and under the Maharashtra Money-Lending (Regulation) Act, 2014.
The couple was arrested. The husband was released on bail by the trial court.
Mother's bail plea rejected
However, Ashwini’s bail plea was rejected on two occasions. The trial judge, while refusing bail, reasoned that a diary was seized from her which mentioned advancing of loans.
However, the HC noted that Babars themselves have two minor children and their welfare also needs to be considered. Also, the child has been returned to her mother.
The judge noted that the trial is not likely to commence soon and hence there was no need to detain her further.
The HC has granted her bail against on furnishing surety of ₹25,000. She has been directed not to tamper with evidence or influence witnesses. The court has clarified that in case of breach of any of the conditions, her bail will be cancelled.
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