The direction came following a petition by the woman, now 21 years old, who told the court that both she and the accused, whom she later married and who is currently serving a 10-year-sentence for rape, want their child back.
The woman had given birth to the baby in February 2019 and the child welfare committee (CWC), with the consent of the survivor’s parents, had then handed over the newborn to a family in Mau, UP. An FIR against the man had been lodged in the matter on February 26 that year, a day after the woman, 17 years old then, had delivered the child.
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During trial in the district court, the woman said that she was having an affair with the accused man, who was 22 at that time, from her village and got pregnant. He had promised to marry her but then “disappeared”.
On August 20, 2020, the special court of Uttarkashi sentenced the accused to 10 years in jail after holding him guilty of rape under relevant sections of the Pocso Act.
In the meantime, the parents of the survivor had handed over the child to CWC on March 12, 2019. Later, the baby was adopted by a family in Mau. But things took a dramatic turn after that.
First, the woman and the accused together moved the HC seeking short-term bail for the man so that they could marry. The court allowed that and granted bail for 45 days on August 4, 2021.
After the survivor married the rape accused, the couple once again approached the HC to get their child back. After hearing the matter, the court ordered that the child be brought back from Mau and given back to the biological parents. The order was passed on January 30 this year, but a copy was made available only on Wednesday.
The court had on January 12 this year asked SSP Uttarkashi to submit a report regarding the whereabouts of the toddler, “as the mother was keen on a reunion”. On January 16, when a sub-inspector submitted the report, justice Sharad Kumar Sharma got upset and said, “When the court had issued a specific direction to the SSP to submit a report, he couldn’t have delegated his powers to the sub-inspector.”
Expressing displeasure over the ‘insensitive’ attitude of the SSP and the office of the government advocate, the HC referred the matter to secretary (law) and ordered it to be placed before the chief minister for appropriate action.