Gujarat High Court Allows ‘Habeas Corpus’ Petition of Young Son Seeking Parental Custody From Older Brother

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Gujarat High Court awarded custody of an elderly and sick couple to their younger son in a habeas corpus petition filed by the latter alleging mistreatment and unlawful detention of his parents by his elder brother, the respondent.

A dividing bench of Judges Vipul Pancholi and Sandeep Bhatt expressed shock at the respondent’s conduct in the chamber, calling his mother “mean”.

The pronunciation of such remarks about his mother by Respondent No. 3 shocked the conscience of the Court as well as that of the learned lawyer for the applicant and the learned APP, who were also present in the room.

The court denied the respondent’s request for a 10-day transition period before returning custody, given the “extent of the abuse” he inflicted.

Ordinarily, this Court would have given Respondent 3 time to return custody of the corpuses to the petitioner. However, given the extent of the mistreatment of Corpus, as revealed by Corpus No. 2 before this Court as well as the conduct of Respondent No. 3, as recorded above, we find appropriate that custody of the corpus be returned to the applicant, without delay.

The habeas corpus petition was filed by the younger son against respondent #3, the older son. The applicant’s father suffered from paralysis and cancer and was bedridden. The Petitioner maintained that the Corpus stayed with him from 2002 to 2019. However, after visiting Respondent #3, the Corpus complained of mistreatment and asked to be taken back to the Petitioner. They also filed a complaint with the police alleging mistreatment of Respondent #3. Subsequently, in January 2022, the Corporas visited Respondent #3’s home and subsequently allegedly were detained.

The Chamber noted that when the police approached Respondent 3 to take statements from the Corpus, he refused due to their poor health. Respondent #3 also failed to produce the Corpus and instead remained the party in person.

After interacting with the Corpora in this hearing, the Panel found that Respondent #3’s family members were abusing the couple. They also expressed the wish to stay in the applicant’s house. The Applicant also assured the Chamber that he was aware of the physical condition of his father-Corpus and that he was ready to make all necessary arrangements for the treatment and maintenance of the Corpus, including an assistant medical and medicine etc. He also said he was willing to sign a pledge that he was not interested in his parents’ properties.

Case No.: R/SCR.A/7772/2022

Case Title: JAYESH MANHARLAL GANDHI v STATE OF GUJARAT

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