Religion cannot be thrust upon a child: Bombay HC
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"It would be in the interest of the child if she is kept away from any religious dogma to which she has not been exposed in her infancy so as to leave her childhood care free and stress-free," the judge further remarked.
The girl's paternal aunt argued that section 17 of the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890, requires the court to take into consideration the religion of the child and that of the proposed guardian.
Her lawyer Uday Warunjkar contended that since the father of the child was a Roman Catholic, the girl must be brought up as a Roman Catholic.
However, the judge rejected the argument stating that the concept of religion, as envisaged in section 17 of the Guardians and Wards Act, does not contemplate that in our patriarchal society only the religion of the husband must prevail.
The judge opined that this would be contrary to the freedom of religion, which allows each individual to profess and practice the religion of his or her choice. It would be in the interest of the child of she is kept away from any religious dogma.
The judge further observed that the child had already adjusted to living with her grandparents and that there there was no reason to disturb the custody of the child at the behest of her father, who has at this stage, rendered himself unfit for seeking her custody.
The court noted that the girl's aunt had not sought the custody of the child until December and that her guardianship petition was not self-motivated but filed on instructions of her father from jail.
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