Court probes finances of woman seeking son’s custody (Lead)

August 10th, 2011 - 11:40 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 10 (IANS) The Supreme Court Wednesday sought details on the economic status of a Muslim woman who wants her 14-year-old son, lost eight years ago and being brought up by his Hindu foster father in Uttar Pradesh, to be restored to her.

Shahnaz Begum, a resident of Allahabad, is seeking the custody of her son Akbar, who lost his way to home and disappeared eight years ago. The boy is now being reared by his Hindu foster father Alku Lal, who owns a tea stall in Qaiser Bagh in Lucknow.

Shahnaz Begum has challenged the Allahabad High Court verdict denying her the custody of her son.

The apex court bench of Justice D.K. Jain and Justice A.K. Ganguly asked Shahnaz Begum to file an affidavit after it inquired about her financial status.

The court was told that Shahnaz Begum has a house which has been let out and she does zari (gold coated fabric) work to make a living for her family of four that includes her husband and two children.

As court was told about Shahnaz Begum’s financial resources, the court inquired if she would be able to maintain third child and provide him proper education.

The court made it clear that it was concerned with the future of the child.

Appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, senior counsel Ratnakar Dash said the “duty of the state is very enormous because it wants that the child should be given proper education and maintenance”.

Akbar was six years old when he strayed away from Allahabad to Lucknow.

Three years later, his father and mother came to know from TV coverage about the presence of their son in Lucknow.

Alleging that Alku Lal was not letting Akbar return home, Shahnaz Begum moved a habeas corpus petition in the high court.

She alleged Alku Lal had employed Akbar as a servant at his tea stall.

Alku Lal produced school records to establish that Akbar was attending a regular school in Lucknow. He said that Akbar came to the tea stall because he is there and there was no one else that he could go to.

He said if Akbar was willing to return to his biological parents, he had no objection.

The high court Jan 10, 2007, decided that in the interest and welfare of Akbar he would continue to live with Alku Lal. The court arrived at this conclusion after talking to Akbar, who stated that he wanted to live with Alku Lal.

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