The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Received, a bundle of Joy

The abandoned baby boy, admitted to Medical College and Hospital last week, was handed over to the hospital staff by the authorities on Monday, following a court order.

For Smriti Roy, record-keeper of Medical College and Hospital, the baby has become the light of her life. “I have named him Joy and he means everything to me,” said Roy, who lost her husband a couple of years ago.

The day-old baby was dumped in front of a house at Keshub Chandra Sen Street on February 14. Nazma Begum, a resident of the house, found the baby and handed him over to the hospital authorities. He was then admitted to the Sishu Nivas Medical ward.

The baby was put in Roy’s charge after A.K. Das, principal judge of the First Family Court, in an order dated February 21, directed the superintendent to hand over the baby to her. In his order, the judge appointed Roy the temporary guardian till further notice.

Roy had filed an application in court praying that she be appointed guardian of the child. “The petitioner apprehends that very soon, the baby will be sent away to some home. Hence, she has prayed for an appointment of a guardian for the said baby,” the judge’s order said.

“There were around 15 applicants for custody of the baby,” said Pranab Kumar Mukherjee, social welfare officer of Medical College and Hospital.

“I saw the baby the first day it was brought here and decided to apply for adoption,” record-keeper Roy said. As she has no child of her own, the Belgachhia resident feels the baby will fill the void in her life. Roy’s sister-in-law and other family members went to the hospital to collect the child.

“Doctors said the boy is healthy and fine,” said Kusum Kanan Adhikari, superintendent of the hospital. “I was a little apprehensive about the whole thing, since it is a sensitive issue. So, I sought advice from a judge, who said it was okay,” Adhikari added. “With this order, we have regained control over whom to hand over an abandoned child,” said hospital officer Pranab Kumar Mukherjee. “There is no need to move the juvenile court.”

“It has now become easier for the hospital authorities, since this order has become a guideline,” said advocate Tarapada Manna. “Granting custody will not be a time-consuming and hazardous process any more.”

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