Must state intervene in adoptions that have consent of all parties?: Bombay HC
Mumbai city news: The bench also noted that in the present case, all parties were Hindus and thus, fell within the ambit of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act that permits a consenting biological mother to relinquish the rights over her child towards a third partymumbai Updated: Jul 02, 2017 00:31 IST
A habeas corpus plea filed in the Bombay high court by a couple from the city seeking the custody of their adopted son, who was taken away by the state and kept in a children’s home on the ground that they had not followed statutory rules for the adoption, has opened a crucial debate.
A bench of justices Ranjit More and SV Kotwal, who were hearing the plea, asked the government on Friday why must it intercede in such a case where the biological parent, the adoptive parents, and the child are all happy and have no objections.
The bench also noted that in the present case, all parties were Hindus and thus, fell within the ambit of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act that permits a consenting biological mother to relinquish the rights over her child towards a third party.
It questioned whether the Juvenile Justice Act, and provisions of CARA regulating intra-country adoptions should have any jurisdiction in the case.
According to the petitioner, Laxman Betkekar, he and his wife have a 21-year-old daughter and they had been unsuccessfully trying to have a second child for years, when in September 2016, they learnt of a destitute woman wanting to give up her newborn son for adoption.
They approached the woman through a third person known to them all. The woman claimed she was too poor and not in proper health to take care of and provide for her son. The Betkekars offered to adopt the 12 day-old-child, the woman consented to the same, and gave them the child by signing an adoption deed declaring her consent. They also gave the woman some money to "express their gratitude, and help her live."
However, in December 2016, someone made an anonymous complaint to the police alleging the petitioners had illegally "bought the child." Since then, the child has been kept at a state-run home in Chembur. The state has argued that even if all parties had consented to the adoption, a mere adoption deed wasn't enough and that they could not surpass all rules under the Juvenile Justice Act and CARA, all meant for the welfare of the child.
It also said that there were several couples waiting in line on the state-approved list of prospective adoptive parents.
HC has now directed the state to take further instructions and will decide in the subsequent hearings, whether or not CARA's adoption rules supersede the Hindu Adoption Act. Meanwhile, the state informed the petitioners that the child is "healthy and doing well" in the home. HC is likely to hear the matter on July 4 this year.