Thiruvananthapuram, Apr 10 (ILNS) The Kerala High Court recently observed that if a woman felt that she was incomplete without the support of a man, it reflected the failure of the system.
A Bench of Justice A Muhamed Mustaque and Justice Dr Kauser Edappagath, while hearing the plea of a live-in couple, who had recently re-united and sought the custody of their child who was adopted by a childless couple, said “In a country where the people worship Goddess, in the land where people have been taught about woman: Yatra naryastu pujyante ramante tatra Devata, yatraitaastu na pujyante sarvaastatrafalaahkriyaah” [Gods abide where women are worshiped and all actions, no matter how noble, go futile, where they are dishonoured] (Manusmriti 3:56).
“In a state where we boast of cent per cent literacy, our attitude to woman is despising; a single mother has no financial or social support. A single mother, who chooses to carry her child to full term and give birth, faces emotional challenges and is forced to believe that she is destined to be isolated as result of guilt. She (the single mother) gets hardly any support from the system. It is time for the Government to evolve a scheme to support the single mother,” the Court noted.
The Bench observed that the case of John and Anitha (names changed) portrayed the trauma of a couple in a live-in relationship, the isolation of a single mother, the love of a mother for her child, and the rights of a biological father.
John and Anitha, both social workers, met during the Kerala floods in 2018. During their live-in relationship, Anitha gave birth to a child. An artist by profession, John later left for Karnataka to act in a film. He seem to have broken the relationship with Anitha for a while or remained elusive. Anxious Anitha made attempts to contact John, but in vain.
Distraught and devastated, Anitha handed over the child to the Child Welfare Committee on May 8, 2020. Thereafter, she constantly kept in touch with the committee and the Child Care Institution, where the child was put up, to keep a track of the well-being of the child.
“The chat messages of Anitha with the Social Worker depict how vulnerable it is for a woman becoming mother not in a legally wedded relation. Desperation and plight of the motherhood reflected through the chat messages depicts the care for the baby from the womb of the person, Anitha,” the Court expressed.
It said, “The anomie Anitha had to face as a single mother is the hurdle created by the society. Anitha never attempted to exterminate her womb; she bore the pain to give birth; like every mother she loved to care the child. She thought without the support of man, she cannot survive.
“If a woman feels she is nothing without the support of the man that is the failure of the system,” the Court observed, while urging the state to develop systems to aid single mothers like Anitha.
“It is for the state to make her realise that her struggle with the forces undermining her existence can be validated with the support of rule of law. That self belief must be her identity and respect due to her,” the Court underscored.
However, John returned to Anitha, the reunited couple has approached the High Court to get back their child. The Bench held that in view of the willingness of the biological father to take care of the child, the committee should consider the couple’s plea. The court also set aside the certificate declaring that the child was legally free for adoption under Section 38 of the Juvenile Justice Act. ILNS/SNG/RJ