Mumbai: Months on, no action against man who threw family out for a son
Even as Maharashtra State Child Rights Commission says order to initiate criminal action has been sent to Mulund police station, the police say they haven't received it
It has been more than six months that Shubhangi Bhostekar has been pleading with the Mulund police to take appropriate action against her husband, as directed by the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights, in an illegal surrogacy case. Officers, however, are just passing the buck.
mid-day had exposed the illegal surrogacy, which had taken place at Jaslok Hospital, on May 26, 2017. In response to the complainant's RTI application, the police station has said the department hasn't received any instruction, even as the commission's reply to another RTI query states it has issued a letter to both the DG and the police station. And in this back-and-forth game, Shubhangi, who has two daughters to take care of, is the one suffering.
Prakash Bhostekar was willing to go to any lengths to get a son. So when his wife could not give him one, he booted her and their two daughters (aged 16 and six) out. Nine months later, she found out he had managed to get a son via surrogacy at Jaslok Hospital by submitting a fake affidavit that stated he was single. While hearing the case on April 2, the commission had found him guilty and issued an order to initiate criminal action against him.
The commission's order reads: "To initiate criminal action against respondent numbers 4 and 5 (Prakash and his mother) under provision of IPC for hiding the facts and preparing and submitting a false affidavit, and apply section 75 of Juvenile Justice (care and protection) Act, 2015, against respondent number 4 after filing the additional charge sheet."
Shubhangi's lawyer Siddh Vidya told mid-day, "We have been running from pillar to post, but there seems to be no end to the suffering. It is proven through the affidavit that he submitted fake documents. Despite being found guilty, the police are not taking any action, which is in violation of the commission order."
Shubhangi and her daughters are staying with her parents. Other than the Rs 20,000 Prakash gives her every month, because of the domestic violence case she has filed against him, the family has no other income.
"My six-year-old loves to paint and wants to join classes for that, but I can't afford them. My father retired 10 years back and doesn't have money to sustain us. I have been taking private yoga classes, but it's not enough. He is living happily with his surrogate son in a 3-BHK flat, while my daughters are suffering," she said.
When contacted, Prakash admitted to the illegality but countered with an allegation of his own: "My wife was committing adultery, and I was not in the right frame of mind. When I procured the affidavit stating I am single, she was not staying with me; so I thought it was fine. The hospital didn't know about it and wasn't involved in any sex selection."
Speaking to mid-day, Pravin Ghuge, commission president, said the police station had been sent the order. "This case is extremely important; based on it, a committee on surrogacy was formed. We have sent all the documents to the police station. It is shocking if they are saying they haven't got them. I will certainly look into it," he added.
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