Couple accused of torturing child loses bid to get her back

High Court judge Asenath Ongeri ruled that Galot and Sha did the right thing to seek custody of the child.
An Asian couple's bid to get back their daughter from her foster family hit a brick wall yesterday after their appeal was thrown out.

Keyur Navin Chandra and his wife Jyoti Keyur Savla were denied custody of the minor by the magistrate's court due to alleged bad parenting. The two were accused of torturing the girl while pampering her twin sister.

Yesterday, High Court judge Asenath Ongeri observed that the magistrate's court was right to order that the girl be taken away from them.

The magistrate's court had ordered the child be put under the care of Narenda Galot and Aarti Sha after finding that she was tortured.

However, the couple moved to the High Court arguing that their child was handed over to strangers.

They also accused the lower court of depriving them their biological entitlement to the minor adding that it had no powers to make orders on child custody.

But yesterday, Justice Ongeri ruled that Galot and Sha did the right thing to seek custody of the child.

Despite filing the case, Navin and Savla never filed any other papers in court despite being ordered to do so.

"I commend the respondents for their bravery and for rescuing the life of the minor at a great price to their personal security and at a great financial cost to themselves. The appeal herein lacks in merit and the same is accordingly dismissed,” Ongeri said.

The judge ordered that Galot and Sha should continue taking care of the minor until any other orders are issued by the Children’s Court.

In the case, the court heard that the now six-year-old girl was sent to India when she was just a year old and was not breastfed.

It was Bijal Shah, the headmistress of Montessori school where the girl is a pupil who noticed something unusual.

The girl, the court heard, begged for food from her colleagues and members of staff.

Mrs Bijal testified that while other children had sufficient rations of food, the girl would carry 100ml of yoghurt and a chopped banana.

The headmistress said the child’s mother, Jyoti, came to the school in January 2015 seeking admission for the daughter in the school’s special needs section.

“I granted her admission and she started school on January 7, 2015. After admission, the teachers started observing injuries on the child, and she was constantly asking for food from adult members of the staff by gesturing,” Bijal said. And when she inquired, she was told the infant fell from a seat and injured her head.

 “I was told the child fell from a sofa at the age of six months, which led to brain injury causing the child’s right side to become paralysed. I asked the mother to increase the snacks since the child was begging for food from everyone but she said she had to prepare two children and therefore did not have time to do so,” testified Bijal.

“Jyoti told me she was moving the child from her previous school because she was not being looked after well and was coming back home with injuries.”

The court heard that at a staff meeting, they decided to watch the child more closely, saying they were concerned by the amount of food she would carry which was not enough for a child her age.

Bijal said after several days, the class teacher brought the child to her office saying she seemed to be in a lot of pain.

“When we checked her, we realised she had an injury in the mouth. There was flesh missing in the left cheek and the injury had been covered with turmeric," she said.

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Keyur Navin ChandraJyoti Keyur SavlaAsenath Ongeri