We often bring to you stories about Men who have been troubled by their spouses — either by mental harassment or taking the legal recourse by filing false cases. Often, in most of these scenarios, the challenge becomes deeper when children are involved.
The story below is different from the regular cases faced in matrimonial battles, since the wife is no more, and the man has been left fighting with his late wife’s family for his biological child.
The couple hails from Navi Mumbai and met in 2004 through a matrimonial website. Both together developed a healthy bond and decided to get married. Ashwin (Name Changed) was 35-years of age then and Uma (Name Changed) was 33. Both of them did not have much family support through their careers and thus the couple had a late marriage.
Marriage took place in the year 2006 — while the boy’s parents were not too keen on the alliance, the girl had lost her parents prior to meeting Ashwin.
We tried to help her but nothing ever materialised.
It was my wife’s efforts and presence of mind that saved my life, not the doctors. I had to be in the hospital for a month. Since my treatment was taking longer, and my wife was also continuing her chemo treatment, we had to leave our 3-month old daughter at Anju’s place at Bandra.
My wife was supposed to be bed ridden, but her family would take her out and click pics as if all was normal. Her cancer relapsed in March 2018 and her sisters discontinued the treatment from TATA Memorial centre hospital in Mumbai and took her away to Pune.
The reason for Priya to take her to Pune was to remove Uma’s name from the ration card office in May 2018. Priya had done the same with Anju too, since she felt both sisters were married and thus, their names should not co-exist in the ration card.My wife was moving around with cylinder, yet her elder sister dragged her inhumanly to the ration card office.
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When I questioned why were they shuttling her back and forth amidst treatment, I was given a lame excuse that Uma wanted to visit Ganpati at her sister’s place. The sisters also kept my wife away from me on the pretext of my ill-health. Nonetheless, they kept sending me every single bill which I kept paying.
Wife Passes Away
My wife was in ICU and put on tracheoscopy I was paying all bills and had given Uma’s debit card to her elder sister for emergency spending. I used to transfer money to wife’s account so elder sister could use the same for medicines and other requirements.Shockingly, while my wife laid in the ICU, on Oct 16, both sisters and brother insisted that I shared my income proof and ration card details with them. They gave me unreasonable excuse that since I had spent a lot on her, they had contacted some NGO for financial assistance and they required my income statement and other details.
I met Uma on the 17th night in ICU, told her not to speak as she was unwell. She wrote to me on a writing pad that she was leaving for Pune next day. On 18th when she was on her way in the ambulance, I received a call that my wife had passed away. They had then crossed the toll naka on Mumbai-Pune highway.I reached Pune and we cremated her the same night. While the sisters and brother remained in Pune, I returned back to Bombay.
My cousin sister accompanied me. To our shock, my brother-in-law who is 9-yrs younger to my cousin sister attacked her. All she had done was just requested for our child. The police stepped in and all of us were taken to the police station. My late father-in-law was an ACP and thus my wife’s family knew the laws well.We were kept in separate rooms and in front of the police, they were confidently questioning the police instead, how they could intervene without a court order. They even threatened the police that they would complain against them. This is when my cousin asked me to take them to court since they had come well prepared with the laws.
Ashwin approached Bombay High Court in December 2018. Priya and Mahesh walked in with their advocate. Priya herself walked up to the witness box and questioned the judge if he knew what the case was.
Judge rapped her stating that the case was filed under habeas corpus where the child was supposed to be present. A subsequent date was given. On the following date, the main advocate joined them along. She was none other than a well known women’s rights activist who is also a practicing lawyer.
My advocate was a criminal lawyer and argued to expedite the case. Bombay HC gave their verdict in March 2019. The court gave them 15 days time to hand over child custody to me, the father. Else, on the 16th day the police was directed to take action.However, on Day 15, the sisters along with their lawyer approached Bombay HC for extension of the order. Bombay HC dismissed the same asking them to honour the order on the same day itself.
The police asked me and my mother to go up to their home along with two lady constables. The moment we rang the bell, Anju’s 26-year-old son (who is XII Fail) abused us in worst than roadside language. Later, both sisters and Anju’s husband too started abusing us saying they will teach me a lesson.My brother-in-law Mahesh was also in present in the house and told us that they had approached Supreme Court. Since the hearing had not happened in the matter, technically they had to hand over child.
That day I realised no matter how strong the police is, they couldn’t do anything in front of such an activist lawyer.Then matter moved to Supreme Court and on May 8, 2019 the top court ordered that they were supposed to hand over the child to father’s house on May 10 by 10am with her belongings.
I was waiting at home waiting for my child when the local police station officer from Kharghar called me saying, your daughter (who was 1.7yrs old) is here. Come and take her from here. Finally I got my daughter since May 10, 2019.
I Didn’t Know What Was Coming Next
My mother asked me to give away my child to my brother and his wife, since the baby needed a mother. I insisted that my daughter belonged to me and my beloved wife and I will take care of her as both father and mother.On May 23, my daughter was due for vaccination and I had taken her to the doctor. When I returned home, my mother had already left without informing me.
Court order said they can visit her on weekends, but due to mis-interpretation, I allowed my daughter to go with them. I had to trust them.
My maid was threatened and ultimately she left the home. I have been looking after my daughter since October 2019 all alone.
Despite Supreme Court order, I as biological father, have to beg for my child. Activist lawyers use and misuse laws to their advantage. They are committing a big crime. After wife’s death, my sister-in-laws transferred my wife’s money to their account.Legally I did a blunder by allowing them visitation again. However, on human ground, I saw their changed behaviours and did not want to stop my daughter from meeting with them. My wife and I had a very healthy relationship. I never said my in-laws cannot meet my daughter, but I was used.
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My grandmother had a huge property distributed amongst my father and his brother. My father has his own property worth crores. The only heir to those properties is my daughter since my brother too does not have children. This explains why my in-laws are after my daughter.Once quarantine is over I intend to bring daughter back soon.
Ours is a unique case where both father and mother loved each other a lot, yet our own child is left amidst a custody tussle.