Punjab and Haryana High Court raps panel for colourable exercise of power - ECAS Punjab

Punjab and Haryana High Court raps panel for colourable exercise of power

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Saurabh Malik

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 25

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has virtually rapped the Patiala Child Welfare Committee for "colourable exercise of powers" in a nine-year-old child's custody matter. The admonition came after the Bench observed that the committee's order dated June 5 relating to the child's foster care placement with a family was passed with an incomplete quorum on a gazetted holiday.

The matter was brought to Justice Raj Mohan Singh's notice after the child's father, an army officer, filed a habeas corpus petition. Among other things, the father through counsel Munish Gupta alleged that his aunt and uncle, to whom the child's custody was handed over, were influential persons. His uncle's was, in fact, related to an MLA of the ruling party.

Taking up the matter, Justice Raj Mohan Singh asserted: "The order has been passed on a gazetted holiday, without there being any disclosure and justification for incomplete composition of the members of the committee to work on a gazetted holiday".

Referring to a counselling report by a Sangrur authority, Justice Raj Mohan Singh observed its perusal showed a counsellor interacted with the minor and found her to be living happily with her father. She, rather, wanted to reside with him. "In the presence of such report, what prompted the respondent to adopt a different approach is beyond comprehension of this court," Justice Raj Mohan Singh asserted.

Justice Raj Mohan Singh asserted that foster care was applicable only in case of children requiring care and protection. It meant a child, whose parent or guardian were found to be unfit or incapacitated to care for and protect the safety and well-being of the child. But the impugned order was totally silent about this aspect.

from The Tribune https://ift.tt/39sjRRO

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