The Calcutta High Court in an interim order here on Thursday, granted custody of the Bhattacharya children to their mother Sagarika Chakraborty, till the matter is finally disposed of.
Justice Dipankar Datta recalled the order given by him on Tuesday where he had directed that the children will stay with their uncle Dr. Bhattacharya and said Ms. Chakraborty’s conduct of not returning the children was a “desperate attempt of a mother in distress.”
A delighted Ms. Chakraborty later said that the order ensured that the children “will now get the love and care of their mother they were deprived of so far.”
Staying with uncle for past 8 months
The children, whose custody was handed over to Dr. Bhattacharya after they were taken away by the Child Welfare Service in Norway in May 2011, were staying with him for the past eight months.
On Tuesday morning, they were taken from his residence at Kulti in West Bengal’s Bardhaman district on the basis of an order delivered by the Child Welfare Committee, Burdwan.
The children were brought to the court on Wednesday. Mr. Justice Datta heard the case in camera and spoke to both Dr. Bhattacharya and Ms. Chakraborty.
Delivering the interim order in a packed courtroom where both the uncle and the mother were present during the day, Mr. Justice Datta observed that while the separation may be painful for the uncle, it was in the larger interest of the children.
The court allowed visitation rights to Dr. Bhattacharya to meet the children for two hours every Saturday in the chamber of the lawyer appointed by the court.
“The children will not move, the uncle has to come,” Mr. Justice Datta observed, adding that the visitation hours can be increased depending on how well the children get along with their uncle.
On Dr. Bhattacharya’s contention that one child was suffering from certain ailments, the court said that the child should be provided necessary medical help by a psychiatrist.
Ms. Chakraborty said that ever since the children were taken away from her in Norway in May 2011 she had been praying they be returned to her.
Dr. Bhattacharya said there had been no lapses on his part in executing his duties as the legal guardian of the children.
“Despite providing the best of care to the children for the past eight months, I do not [understand] why the children have been taken away,” he said.