If Biological Parents are alive, a child raised in an orphanage cannot be called an “Orphan;” draws an analogy between orphan and abandoned child: Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court held that the child would not be termed as an ‘orphan’ as defined under Section 2(42) of the Act, 2015 in as much as their biological mothers are alive. This was seen in the case of The Nest India Foundation Vs the State of Maharashtra (WRIT PETITION NO. 2164 OF 2022) and the case was presided over by Honourable Mr. Justice S.V. GANGAPURWAL and Honourable Mr. Justice R. N. LADDHA.


The court was considering a request made by “The Nest India Foundation,” which operates a childcare center. They sought quick directions so that their application to declare two girls’ orphans may be decided quickly. In the meanwhile, a provisional orphan certificate was requested, and it was also requested that the girls be considered for the 1% horizontal reserve quota during counseling and admissions for undergraduate health sciences courses.

Through her learned counsel, the petitioner submitted that the child is living in their orphanage from 4-5 years of age and no biological parents visited him. He requested to declare him as an abandoned child and provide a horizontal reserve quota in the admission process.


 The Court noted that the concerned children have been living in the childcare home since 2008 but would not be termed as an ‘orphan’ as defined under Section 2(42) of the Act, 2015 in as much as their biological mothers are alive.

The Court stated that to include these children as abandoned children, the Child should be deserted by his/her biological or adoptive parents or guardian and is required to be declared as an ‘abandoned child’ by the Committee after inquiry.

The Court refused to grant any relief to the petitioner and sought that the petitioner can make a fresh application before the child committee to declare him as an abandoned child.

“The petitioner may make an application by 28th October 2022 with the Competent Committee as provided under the Act, 2015. The Committee may make a due inquiry and take the decision on the application of the petitioner for declaration as ‘abandoned child’ on its own merits preferably on or before 14th November 2022”, the court said.

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