The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Daughter mars reunion
- Patch-up judge fails to sway girl to accept stepmother

This is one war of the roses that did not go the way Justice Amit Talukdar would have liked it to.

The judge of Calcutta High Court had been successful in two recent cases to convince two warring couples to bury their differences and give their marriage another chance.

On Thursday, however, Justice Talukdar's best efforts to broker peace were thwarted by a 10-year-old girl's steadfast refusal to accept her stepmother.

Ashoke Gupta, a south Calcutta-based businessman, married Nupur on December 10, 2002. Both were divorcees.

From their previous marriages, Ashoke has a 10-year-old daughter, while Nupur has a five-year-old son.

Relations soured in less than a year, with Nupur filing a case before the women's grievances cell of the detective department on September 1, 2003, alleging physical and mental torture at her in-laws', under Article 498A of the Indian Penal Code.

Two days later, Ashoke filed a divorce case with the district judge, on the grounds of the 'lifestyle' that Nupur followed.

On September 24, Ashoke and his parents were arrested by officers from the women's grievances cell, but then granted bail by the magistrate.

On October 31, 2003, Ashoke filed an application before the magistrate at Sealdah court, stating that the articles seized from his house were not Nupur's properties.

The magistrate rejected Ashoke's application on November 19, 2004. Aggrieved, Ashoke filed a revision application before the high court.

On Wednesday, the case came up for hearing in Justice Talukdar's court. Ashoke was asked to reconcile differences with his estranged wife.

Ashoke, however, told the court he would be unable to do so, as his daughter just refused to put up with stepmother Nupur.

Justice Talukdar asked Ashoke to produce his daughter before the court on Thursday. He spoke to the girl for 20 minutes in camera and tried to convince her to accept her stepmother. The girl refused.

Representing the case on Ashoke's behalf, advocates Tirthankar Ghosh and Phiroze Edulji on Friday submitted before the court that the investigating officer had acted in a mala fide manner by handing over seized ornaments to Nupur's father.

Pleading Nupur's case, lawyer Joymalya Bagchi said the jewellery had been lawfully handed over on the basis of a bond furnished before the investigating officer.

'The seized property belongs to my client and, hence, the prayer for its return was rejected,' he added.

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