Intricacies in the process of adoption in India – Bombay High Court

Adoption is a miraculous and a kind act of an individual which protects the life of another human being. The intention in itself plays a major role in every sector. Sometimes with a good intention people adopts, however sometimes with a wrongful intention which ultimately results in a criminal offense. Thus the process of adoption deals with a lot of intricacies, one such case is being dealt with by the Bombay High Court.

In the case of Kripal Amrik Singh & Ors. V. State of Maharashtra & Anr., [CRIMINAL WRIT PETITION NO.143 OF 2021], the facts of the case initiates when the is a writ petition seeking a writ of habeas corpus and a direction to respondent Nos.1 and 2 to release minor child – “Bhavreet @ Bhavnoor Kaur” and for handing over her custody to the petitioners. The petitioners say that they adopted the said child when she was about two weeks old and that the actions taken against them by respondent Nos. 1 and 2 were not justified in the facts and circumstances of the case. The important facts, in this case, are that the aforementioned girl-child was born on January 8, 2019. When it was discovered that the biological mother of the child, respondent No. 3 herein, was unable to care for the girl-child, notice was given to Childline, a non-governmental agency. In response to this notification, respondent No.2 – Child Welfare Committee (“CWC”), established under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 (“Juvenile Justice Act”), received a letter dated 17/01/2019 on behalf of the NGO – Childline. The fact that respondent No. 3 was unwilling to care for the child was stated in this letter, and she had agreed to either place the girl-child for adoption or keep her in an Ashram. The biological mother, respondent No. 3, was also mentioned in the letter as having the possibility of selling the girlchild. Respondent No.2-CWC took notice of the matter after receiving the written correspondence and ordered respondent No.3 to appear before it with the girl-child once a month. Respondent No.2-CWC also directed the aforementioned NGO to supervise respondent No.3’s activities by visiting her once a month. However, it appears that on January 22, 2019, respondent No.3 signed a notarized Adoption Deed in which the girl-child was allegedly given in adoption to the petitioners herein. The girl-child was given to the petitioners on this basis, and she was taken to Punjab.

The petitioner claimed that by signing the Adoption deed, they assumed responsibility for the boy. It was argued that the conditions for a legal adoption under the Hindu Adoption Act were entirely met in the facts and circumstances of the case, and that, as a result of Section 56(3) of the Juvenile Justice Act, Section 80 thereof did not apply in the case of the petitioners, and that, as a result, the filing of the FIR against petitioner No. 1 was wholly inappropriate. It was further submitted that once it was found that the petitioners had validly adopted the girl-child, there was no jurisdiction with respondent No.2–CWC, to have proceeded to take away the custody of the girl-child.

The respondent No.2 i.eCWC argued that the provisions of the aforementioned Act squarely applied in the present case, especially because the girl-child in question was a child in need of care and security, as specified by Section 2(14) of the Juvenile Justice Act.

Respondent No. 3, the biological mother of the boy, voiced her opinion shortly after the birth of the girl-child, prompting the NGO and its members to report the matter to respondent No. 2-CWC. The reports obtained by respondent No.2-CWC from the NGO detailed respondent No.3’s refusal to care for the boy, showing that the child was obviously a child in need of care and protection as described in the above-mentioned section of the Juvenile Justice Act.

The court had however held that “In this backdrop, we are of the considered opinion that since the girl-child, in the facts and circumstances of the present case, is in need of care and protection, which respondent No.2-CWC is providing in terms of the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, the prayers made on behalf of the petitioners cannot be granted. We have arrived at this conclusion keeping the best interest of the girlchild as being of paramount significance. Hence, we find that there is no merit in the writ petition. Accordingly, the writ petition is dismissed.”

We appreciate the sincere efforts taken by Mr. Karansingh B. Rajput, the learned appointed advocate for respondent No.2-CWC and we quantify his fees at Rs.10,000/-.”

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