Madras High Court has become a "parent" to a differently-abled man, who was allegedly a victim of a conspiracy hatched by his former wife.
Manoj Ranjan was born on 15 August 1979, with speech and hearing impairment as well as mental retardation, to industrialist E.J. Rajan and his wife, Lissie Rajan, residents of the Nilgiris. Sent to a special school by his father, Rajan lost his mother in 1993. He was married off to Priya Darshini in 2008, but she sought divorce within a year. According to a report in The Times of India (ToI), it was granted on the grounds of cruelty and non-consummation and she was awarded Rs 4 lakhs as permanent alimony.
In 2013, Rajan's father died, leaving him a substantial inheritance and in the care of a relative, Rudolf Stanley Pinto, and a chartered accountant, Ananthan. In 2014, Rajan was sent to a home in Gudalur.
A year later, Priya Darshini came up with a habeas corpus petition in the Madras High Court, accusing Rajan of being detained by Ananthan and Pinto. The claim was dismissed after an enquiry.
Not to be deterred, this year she came back to take custody of her ex-husband from the home again and abducted him with the help of some advocates. Though the home lodged a complaint, the Gudalur police refused to register an FIR, following which Ananthan moved the high court.
Justice P.N. Prakash, sensing foul play, issued a series of orders which led to the police being summoned, Rajan being traced in Chennai, and finally being restored to the home.
In the period of absence, however, Rajan seemed to have been 'married' again to Priya Darshini, "solemnised by pastor John Amalraj in violation of the Christian Marriage Act", as ToI reported.
Justice Prakash called this hasty marriage a "sham" and appointed amicus curiae to investigate it. After this, G. Krishnamoorthy, one of the amicus, stated that Priya Darshini may have forced Rajan to sign property documents, valued over Rs 1.6 crore, between 4 May 2015, the date he was abducted, and 25 July 2016, when he was found again in Chennai.
In the light of these findings, Justice Prakash invoked the doctrine of loco parentis, a Latin term meaning 'in the place of a parent'. The court has assumed the role of a parent to Rajan and issued orders directed at his welfare.
Manoj has been moved to a home near Madurai and Madurai Police has been asked to give him security by the court.
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