Child panel says he can't be handed over to family without investigation

Even as the condition of the baby, born under tragic circumstances in a park in Kamalanagar here on Sunday, improved on Tuesday, there is confusion about where the infant needs to be sent after his discharge.

While the Basaveshwara Nagar police said that the baby could be returned to the father, who is alleged to have abandoned the family, members of the Child Welfare Committee said that he should be handed over to any family member only after “social investigation”.

His mother, Poornima (37), who went into labour while on a walk with her two children on Sunday, gave birth at the park. She died on the way to hospital while the newborn was admitted into the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the Vani Vilas Hospital.

Initial police inquiries, and the statement of Poornima's sister Lakshmi, revealed that the boy's father Mohan Kumar, a carpenter, had abandoned the family 10 months ago. However, Basaveshwara Nagar police quoted Mohan Kumar as saying that he had not abandoned them. “He told us they were having marital problems and had been estranged. He said that he was ready to give up his work outside the city and take care of the child,” the police said.

Not convinced

However, Meena Jain, CWC chairperson, told The Hindu that the child could not be returned to the father until he is thoroughly investigated. “Only after investigating the reason why he left her, or his background, can we even think of handing over the child to him,” she said. “Though the CWC had not taken up the case, it was the responsibility of the Basaveshwara Nagar police to refer the case to us to determine where the child should be sent,” she said.

Even as the CWC waits, Joint Commissioner of Police (West) Pranob Mohanty said it was up to the CWC to step in.

“The police have little jurisdiction over matters involving a minor. We can only investigate the father, but not decide what had to be done with the child,” he said.

The CWC meeting is scheduled on Wednesday, and Ms. Jain said the question of sou motu action would be considered during discussions.

Baby better

Meanwhile, Some Gowda, Medical Superintendent of Vani Vilas Hospital, said the infant's convulsions had been controlled. “Blood reports show that he had developed an infection. He is on oral antibiotics, and is responding well,” he said.

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