In a significant order, the Bombay High Court, while hearing an adoption plea filed by an American woman married to an Indian, held that the authorities must treat her case as that of an ‘in-country’ adoption and not a foreign adoption.
The woman has been living in India for the past six years.
In the order that is likely to be cited as precedent, a bench of justice VM Kanade and justice BP Colabawalla held that considering the petitioners are married and one of them is Indian while the other a foreign national living in India, the central adoption agency had “misread” its rules and erred in treating their application as an ‘inter-country’ one.
The order paves the way for the couple, who lives in Pune, to present its case before the magisterial court just like any other Indian couple seeking to adopt a child. The HC has also directed the magisterial court to decide on their application fast.
In a first, the bench has also decided to set detailed guidelines so that there is no ambiguity in such cases of adoption.
The order follows a plea filed by the American woman and her husband in May this year.
The couple has been trying to adopt a six-year-old child with special needs, who has been living in foster care with them for the last one and a half months.
Born to an unwed mother, the child was abandoned at a children’s home.
According to the law, the home put out advertisements for his adoption when the child turned six. However, since he is asthmatic and has some behavioural cognitive disorders, the home faced difficulty in finding willing applicants.
It was then that the American woman, who had developed a bond with the child while working as a volunteer at the home, expressed a desire to adopt him.
However, her application was rejected by the Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA).
Woman is married to indian
* The applicant is married to an Indian and has been living in India for the past six years
* She developed a bond with the child while working as a volunteer at the shelter home he was living in
* Her application was opposed by CARA since its guidelines stipulate that foreign nationals must bring along a certificate of no-objection for the proposed adoption from the embassy or mission of their country
* She however, expressed her inability in getting the NOC as she had been living in India on a ‘Person of Indian Origin’ status granted by the Union government
* The woman claimed that CARA rules did not cover cases like hers.