The father produced the baby before a division bench of High Court

A man lost custody of his eight-month-old child after the Madras High Court bench on Friday granted interim custody of the child to its mother on a habeas corpus petition filed by her.

On the directions of the court, S. Palani, the father, produced the baby P. Priyadharshini before a division bench comprising Justices V. Dhanapalan and M. Duraiswamy.

In her petition, S. Jeyanthi, had claimed that her husband demanded jewellery from her family following the birth of the child on December 18, 2012 and “tortured” the petitioner on numerous occasions while under the influence of alcohol. The couple were living in Tuticorin.

Unable to withstand the abuse, the petitioner moved to her parent’s house in Madurai with her baby on August 4, 2013, she claimed. On October 6, 2013, Palani barged into her parent’s house and forcibly took custody of the child, she alleged. According to the petitioner, her child was being breast-fed and she feared for the child’s health while in the custody of the father.

Therefore, she approached the All Women Police Station in Tallakulam from where she was directed to the Vilathikulam police station in Tuticorin, she said. But the police declined to register her complaint, she alleged. Palani’s house in Tuticorin was locked and he was missing along with the child, she pointed out.

Mrs. Jeyanthi then submitted a representation to the inspector of police, Sellur, and the Madurai city commissioner of police, but no action was taken to trace her child. Therefore, she moved the court.

On Friday, Palani produced the child in court and submitted that the couple had disagreed over living in a joint family. Apart from entrusting temporary custody of the baby to the mother, the judges asked the couple to consider reconciling in the interest of the child.

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