New Delhi: A Muslim mother, longing to get
back her son from a Hindu man who brought him up, has been
given another opportunity by the Supreme Court to get the
Shahnaz Begum is waging legal battle to take custody of
her son who had gone missing at the age of six in 2003 and was
found in the loving care of a Lucknow tea vendor Aiku
Lal in 2006.
The woman from Allahabad had first approached the high
court in 2007 narrating that she spotted her son while
watching a TV programme about missing persons and swung into
action to get his custody.
Her efforts, however, to get back her son proved futile
as the child, who was ten years-old at that time, desired
before the high court to stay with Lal.
The high court dismissed the mother`s plea saying the
"paramount consideration has to be the welfare of the child"
and also rubbished the argument that the child is Muslim and
Aiku is Hindu.
"We are a secular country" and if inter-caste marriages
are accepted then "inter-caste father and son relationship
need not raise eyebrows," the high court had said.
Undeterred, Shehnaz moved the Supreme Court in 2008 and
established through DNA test about the paternity of the child.
An apex court bench of Justices D K Jain and H L Dattu
today asked Shehnaz to file an affidavit to prove that she can
nurture her son, now 14-year-old, better than the tea vendor.
The bench asked her to show her property, income and
other such indicators, including the education of her other
two children, to prove that she can bring up the child better
manner than Aiku Lal, an unmarried tea vendor.