Estranged Bangladeshi couple fight over child in Delhi court

March 7th, 2008 - 9:51 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 7 (IANS) Six-year-old Avantika could not fathom why she was brought to the court, or the reason for the discord between her Bangladeshi parents, but one thing made her happy - the Delhi High Court ruled Friday that she could continue with her studies in India. Avantika’s mother Israt Jahan Tabassum had moved a petition in the Delhi High Court in 2006 seeking direction for the custody of her daughter who was forcibly brought to India by the husband then. She had stated in her petition that her minor daughter was in a pathetic condition while studying at a boarding school in West Bengal.

“According to Muslim Sharia and family laws, which are enforceable in Bangladesh, the mother is entitled to the custody of her female child till she attains puberty,” the petition stated.

However, on Friday a division bench of Justices Vikramjit Sen and P.K. Bhasin rejected the petition stating that since the couple has separated during the period, therefore passing any order on the custody of the child held no relevance.

“Custody becomes relevant only where a dispute arises between the parents, even in such cases they may jointly agree that their children should receive education in a residential school. Custody, therefore, does not become a contentious or debatable issue since there is a prima facie admission from both the parties to share the custody of Avantika,” the bench said in its order.

The court also disagreed with the petitioner’s contention that her daughter was not happy at her school and said if this could be proved then both the parties should move a proper legal forum.

“We direct both the parents to ensure that Avantika should be returned to her school in West Bengal within seven days from Friday as its failure would have a deleterious effect on her education,” the bench said.

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