Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has refused to hand over the custody of a minor girl, rescued from a prostitution ring, to her parents noting that the possibility of they pushing her into flesh trade or she getting involved in such illegal activity in the future cannot be ruled out.
Justice S S Shinde Thursday dismissed a petition filed by the parents, who hail from Uttar Pradesh, seeking custody of their 16-year-old daughter. The girl, currently lodged at Children’s Home Campus in suburban Mankhurd, was rescued by police from a hotel in March 2017 after busting a prostitution racket.
In May 2017, her parents moved a sessions court, seeking her custody and claiming that their daughter had come to Mumbai to meet her sister and was randomly picked up by the police. The Child Welfare Committee (CWC), in its report to the court, advised against handing the girl over to her parents.
The court accepted the report and directed that she remain at the children’s home in Mankhurd till she turns 18, after which she can go back to her parents. The parents then approached the Bombay HC, challenging the sessions court order. The HC, however, held that the sessions court order was “legally sustainable and proper”.
“The fact that the victim was rescued by the police under a trap in the Immoral Traffic (Prevention) Act cannot be lost sight of. The special court has, therefore, rightly directed the CWC to arrange a counselling programme as the victim is in need of counselling,” Justice Shinde noted.
The HC observed that although the parents of the victim have claimed they have sufficient means of livelihood, the fact remains that if the girl is restored with her parents, the possibility of her getting involved in such activity or they sending her back to it cannot be ruled out.