Child, adoptive parents separated by the Child Protection Committee, brought together by SC | Latest India News
The Supreme Court reunited a two-year-old girl with her adoptive parents in Mumbai almost two years after their separation by court order. The girl had been staying in a day care center since June 2019 after her adoption was declared illegal by the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) in Mumbai. Bombay’s high court also dismissed the adoptive parents’ plea in March this year.
The couple, who have no biological children, had moved the higher court to recover the child. They adopted her in January 2019 from a single mother who worked as a housekeeper. The birth mother, due to her fragile health and poor financial situation, had voluntarily signed an adoption deed in January 2019 with the couple under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act 1956.
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No sooner had the child spent six months with her adoptive parents than the Mumbai CWC, suspecting that the child had been sold by the mother, declared the adoption illegal and placed the girl in a special adoption agency. After the Bombay High Court refused to hand over the child to its adoptive parents in March this year, the couple applied for custody of the child to the Supreme Court.
The vacation bench of Judges Hemant Gupta and V Ramasubramanian observed: “In general, a child is orphaned due to natural events. But here, the child is orphaned by order of the court. The court referred to the decision of the Bombay District Court of March 18, 2021, refusing to hand over the child to the requesting couple.
The judiciary described as “unfortunate” that the order gave rise to a situation where the child was neither with his biological mother nor the adoptive parents, but in a day care center.
The adoptive parents in their petition filed through lawyer Syed Mehdi Imam pointed out that the adoption was legal under the Hindu Adoption Law and that the religious ceremony of dattak (adoption) was also celebrated in accordance the requirements of the law in the presence of witnesses. They were financially able to care for the child and a Social Investigation Report (SIR) prepared by an NGO attached to the CWC found a considerable improvement in the health and well-being of the child within six months. following its adoption.
Even the biological mother appeared before the higher court and said that she had no objection to the child being handed over to the petitioner. The only other party remaining to be heard was the CWC, which quashed the adoption deed and ordered the opening of an FIR against the couple and the child’s biological mother. The court ordered the child’s biological mother to file her affidavit before the date of the next hearing.
In issuing an opinion on the petition and bringing the case to the hearing after four weeks, the court ruled: “Until then, custody of the child should be given to the petitioners (couple).”
For the next hearing, the court asked the petitioners to verify a 2003 Supreme Court judgment (Anokha v. State of Rajasthan) which exempted adoptions under personal law from the scope of the guidelines. adoption made by the highest court in its previous judgment of 1984. titled LK Pandey v Union of India.
The 2003 judgment concerns a couple based in Italy who wanted to adopt a child from their biological mother in India. The question was whether LK Pandey’s guidelines would apply to a case where the child was not destitute and the birth mother had voluntarily agreed to the adoption. According to LK Pandey’s guidelines, any intercountry adoption requires sponsorship from a social or child welfare society recognized by the adoptive parents’ country of origin. The couple then had to apply for a certificate of no objection from the Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA). The 2003 judgment ruled that LK Pandey’s guidelines would not apply to voluntary adoptions made by birth parents.