HC to hear complaint against Fiona Mackeown

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{image-Fiona Mackeown_31082008.jpg news.oneindia.in}Panaji, Aug 31: The Bombay High Court bench at Goa on Monday, Sept 1 will hear the petition filed by Utt Goenkara (NGO) spokesman Advocate Aires Rodrigues, challenging the order of the Children's Court that refused to direct police to investigate the role of Britisher Fiona Mackeown in the death of her minor daughter Scarlett Keeling.

It may be recalled that the President of the Children's Court Mr Desmond D'Costa on August 11, disallowed the complaint filed by Mr Rodrigues on the ground that as per Section 20 of the Children's Act, cognizance of any offence under the Act could be taken only on a complaint filed by the child, parents, guardians, close relatives, police or a competent authority under the Children's Act.

Advocate Rodrigues had in his complaint stated that Scarlett Keeling had come to India with her mother Fiona, who left the minor girl in the company of one Julio, with the idea that he would take care of the girl, while she along with her friend and her other children was away holidaying in Gokarn.

Ms Fiona was fully aware that her daughter Scarlett was a minor and that the law mandates that all children within the State of Goa be provided a safe environment, wherein the parents are responsible to ensure that the child is not abused, he said in his complaint.

Mr Rodrigues had submitted that the conduct of Ms Fiona was in violation of Section 8 (1) (2) and Section 8 (12) of the Goa Children's Act 2003 and needed to be investigated in respect of her behaviour and activities during her stay in Goa.

Challenging the order of the Children's Court, Mr Rodrigues has submitted to the High Court that the lower court had totally misconstrued the nature and scope of the his application, which merely sought orders for investigation into the ''offences'' committed by the mother under the Children's Act, and that it was not a compliant under section 20 of the Act.

He had also told the High Court that the order of the Children's Court rejecting his application solely on the ground he did not fall within the persons authorized to make complaints to the Children's Court was entirely without jurisdiction.

He stated the Children's Court being conferred with powers of a Sessions Court had magisterial powers to direct investigation into offences alleged under the Children's Act.

Mr Rodrigues has prayed that the order of the Children's Court be set aside and that the authorities be directed to investigate Ms Fiona offence of having abandoned her minor child with a unrelated adult male and to file their report before the Children's Court accordingly.


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