Mumbai: Woman lands in jail after 'adopting' sister's child

Updated: Oct 15, 2019, 07:37 IST | Samiullah Khan | Mumbai

Good intentions and ignorance about law shatter family, sending one sister to prison, a child to state care, and leaving another sister heartbroken

The child's uncle and biological mother outside Sion hospital on Monday. Pic/ Sneha Kharabe
The child's uncle and biological mother outside Sion hospital on Monday. Pic/ Sneha Kharabe

A tiny lie in order to stave off questions on her unwed sister's sick baby whom she had brought to the hospital for treatment, landed a woman behind bars for 21 days and the infant under 24-hour police watch at Sion hospital. The child's mother and uncle have been camping outside Sion hospital for more than a month waiting to get the baby back.

On August 24, the Kandivli-based woman had brought the week-old boy to Shatabdi hospital after he fell sick. He had been brought to the city on August 20 from UP where he was born, on August 15. His mother, who had him out of wedlock, had handed him over to her childless sister and brother-in-law. As the breastfeeding had stopped, the infant fell ill and his aunt brought him to the hospital.

The doctor admitted the child and began treatment, but while completing the formalities asked the woman whether it was her baby. When she replied in the positive, the hospital authorities became suspicious as she did not look like she had just delivered a baby. The hospital staff informed the Samtanagar police who arrived at the hospital and detained the woman under various sections of the IPC. She was sent to Byculla Jail.

"During interrogations, she confessed that the child was her younger sister's and because she was unwed she had handed over the baby to her [the woman]," said a police officer. A police team from Samtanagar went to her native village in UP, where they found out from the family that the woman had been telling the truth.

The woman's husband said, "My wife made the mistake of telling the doctors the child was hers. She should have told them truth. The police dragged my wife and me to the police station. They released me after the inquiry, but arrested her. She was in jail for almost 21 days. They released her on September 21."

He added, "We have no children despite being married for six years. But, ever since he was taken away from us, our family has known only suffering. My father-in-law died from the shock, my mother-in-law's health condition is currently bad. My sister-in-law is now in Mumbai, but despite telling the police the baby is hers, we are still not being allowed to see him."

The child's mother said, "I am the biological mother and gave him to my sister as she is childless. I have told the police all this and have requested them and the doctors to give me my child back."

Advocate Surekha Surve, a social worker, has been helping the family get the child back. She told mid-day, "Sometimes people need to think out of the box/law when humanity and relationships are concerned. There is no need to be so stringent."

Police Speak

An officer from Samtanagar police said, "On the complaint of the hospital authorities we registered the case and arrested the woman. A team was also sent to their native village where it was found that the child was the son of the woman's unmarried younger sister. In Mumbai, we recorded the statement of baby's biological mother and have also taken samples for a DNA test. We are awaiting the report and have done everything according to the law. Now, the Child Welfare Committee is the custodian of the child. There are two police officers protecting the child 24 hours. Once the DNA report affirms the family's statement, the CWC authority will take a decision on whom to give the child to."

CWC's version

CWC chairperson Vijay Dhoiphade from Dongri Children's Home said everything depends on the DNA report.

Aug 15
Day the infant was born in UP

August 24
Day child was brought to Shatabdi hospital as he was unwell

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