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Adoption cannot be restricted to certain categories of children: Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court held that on appreciation of the provisions of the JJ Act, 2015 read with Regulations of 2017, adoption of children cannot be restricted only to children in conflict with the law or those in need of care and protection or only those children who are orphaned, abandoned or surrendered children through Justice Manish Pitale in the case of Sumed v. Manoj (CIVIL REVN. APPLN. NO. 9 OF 2021)

FACTS OF THE CASE:

The revision application asks the court to determine whether a minor girl’s biological parents (applicant Nos. 3 and 4) and prospective adoptive parents (applicant Nos. 1 and 2) are justified in asserting that the child can be given and taken in adoption in accordance with the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 provisions (hereinafter referred to as the “JJ Act, 2015”).

The provisions of the JJ Act, 2015 and the Regulations created thereunder were not applicable because the kid in the current case was not a child in conflict with the law, nor a child in need of care and protection, nor an orphan, nor a surrendered/abandoned child. The bench remarked that there was a departure from the provisions of the prior enactment, the JJ Act, 2000, after reading the contents of the JJ Act, 2015.

The High Court observed that “ JJ Act, 2015, not only intends to take care of children, who are in conflict with law as defined under section 2(13) of the JJ Act, 2015 and children in need of care and protection defined under section 2(14) thereof, but also to provide for and regulate adoption of children from relatives and adoption by step-parent.”

The lower Court had adopted a restrictive interpretation of the applicability of the JJ Act, 2015. Hence, the application was filed.

JUDGEMENT:

The High Court said that reading the JJ Act, 2015’s provisions reveals that a complex process is set forth and taken into consideration for the adoption of a child by relatives who are also listed by the said law.

Further, it was stated that such extensive regulations governing the process for adoption by relatives or stepparents would not have been established if adoption under the JJ Act, 2015, was to be restrictedly applicable only to children in dispute with the law or those in need of care and protection. The JJ Act, 2015 is secular law that the applicants, in this case, may use to begin the adoption procedure for the female child, as stated by the applicant’s attorney and the Amicus Curiae.

By applying a very limited and incorrect reading to the provisions of the JJ Act, 2015 for the adoption of girls, the lower court in the present case completely disregarded the choice that was noted in the ruling above. According to the High Court, adoption of children cannot be limited to those who are in need of care and protection, are orphans, abandoned, or surrendered children, minors who are in trouble with the law, or those who are in need of care and protection alone.

As a result, the lower court was instructed to reconsider the application on the merits in accordance with the JJ Act.

JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY REETI SHETTY

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