HC grants interim custody of married woman to father considering her mental state

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New Delhi, Jun 27 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has granted the interim custody of a married woman, whose mental condition does not appear to be normal, to her father on the allegation that she has suffered severe mental trauma at the hands of her husband and parents-in-law, resulting in a partial loss of her memory and speech.

The court said first and foremost it was concerned about the state of mental health and physical wellbeing of the woman and directed that she be examined by a doctor specialising in mental trauma and illnesses at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) here.

A vacation bench of justices Anup Jairam Bhambhani and Jasmeet Singh said the court is of the view that it would be in the fitness of things that at least for the present and until the next date of hearing, the custody of the woman and her three-and-a-half-year-old daughter be given to the petitioner (her father) with whom they would reside for the time being and who would be responsible for their safety and well-being.

'Considering the aforesaid state of affairs, first and foremost this court is concerned about the state of mental health and physical wellbeing of the daughter. In the circumstances, before taking a final view in the matter, it is directed that...(the woman) be examined by a doctor specialising in mental trauma and illnesses at the IHBAS, New Delhi by the SHO of Police Station Sagarpur, New Delhi in the presence and under the supervision of the petitioner/father,' the bench said.

It noted that the woman was also present during the proceedings conducted through video-conferencing and it was evident that she was not able to communicate by speech nor did her behaviour appear to be normal at first blush.

The court was hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by the woman's father seeking production of his married daughter and alleging that due to matrimonial discord and offences arising out of it, she was being held in illegal detention by her husband and parents-in-law.

The petitioner's counsel told the court that due to mental and physical torture unleashed by the in-laws upon the woman, she has suffered severe mental trauma, resulting in a partial loss of memory and speech. He said an FIR for the alleged offences of cruelty to married woman and causing her miscarriage without her consent was also pending against them.

The counsel for the police submitted that the FIR was under investigation and the woman's parents met her at her matrimonial home a few days ago.

The woman's husband, who joined the hearing along with her, submitted that his wife has developed mental problems but not due to any fault on his part or his parents and that he was getting her treated by a specialist doctor, who has indicated that her mental illness will take some time to heal.

The court was informed that the woman and her husband have a three-and-a-half-year-old daughter.

The court, which said the custody of the woman be transferred to her father forthwith, directed that her medical examination be completed within 10 days and a status report detailing the opinion of the doctors and the line of treatment suggested by them be filed by the State before it on or before the next date of hearing on July 5.

It also directed the woman's husband to furnish to the SHO of the Sagarpur police station a complete set of all medical reports, documents, prescriptions relating to the woman immediately. PTI SKV RC

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