India

Chhattisgarh hounds cop for rearing motherless girl

NEW DELHI: A police officer and his wife kept a promise to a dying divorced woman to take care of her nine-month-old girl as their own daughter and are now proudly seeing her pursuing an MBBS course. But playing Good Samaritan has come to haunt the policeman after two decades.
The 20-year-old MBBS student found her much decorated policeman father-guardian facing an inquiry ordered by the Chhattisgarh government, which had unsuccessfully tried to persecute him earlier too. The government accused him of fathering the girl through the deceased woman after secretly marrying her when he was already married.
Unable to bear the trauma of the sinister design behind the inquiry — to strip her and her deceased mother as well as her foster parents of their privacy and dignity — the girl moved the SC through advocate Ravi Sharma to narrate how she came to be reared with love and affection by her foster parents.
Arguing for her before a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and M R Shah, senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani said this was an attempt to mentally and emotionally drain the police officer, his wife and the girl. “Ever since this regime has come to power, it has been wreaking vengeance on the officer,” he claimed.
The bench issued notice to the Chhattisgarh government and stayed further proceedings in the inquiry against the policeman. The girl, referred in the petition as ‘XYZ’, said she was born on December 9, 2000 to Dr MM, who divorced her husband AB five months later. On September 7, 2001, a depressed MM attempted suicide and while on the death bed, entrusted custody of the girl to the police officer MG and his wife UG.
“Since the time petitioner got her senses, she has always identified MG and UG as her parents and has an entire family to herself which consists of an elder sister, grandparents, uncles and aunts. The family which forms the foundation of a being and her social identity,” she said, adding two courts had validated grant of her legal custody to MG and UG.
Based on a complaint accusing him of double marriage, the government started an inquiry against the police officer. The petitioner said she became aware of these issues as she was at home during the pandemic and when her father-guardian told her about the proceedings and wanted her to be strong to face the onslaught on her privacy and dignity.
Referring to earlier unsuccessful attempts by the government to persecute her father on the same issue, the girl said: “Having met a roadblock in all its endeavours to persecute and humiliate MG, the state, in its desperation, has now resorted to embark upon the proscribed terrain without considering the impact the same shall have on the modesty and dignity of the petitioner and her·deceased mother. It is submitted that such pursuit of vengeance, as has been undertaken by the state and its officials, erodes the very soul of constitutional morality and denigrates the status of women to that of a chattel.”

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