Bombay HC clears way for three-year-old girl's adoption
The Bombay High Court today cleared the way for the adoption of a three-year-old girl, who has been living with her foster parents in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, since 2014
The Bombay High Court today cleared the way for the adoption of a three-year-old girl, who has been living with her foster parents in Kolhapur, Maharashtra, since 2014. The foster parents were unable to legally adopt the girl since her biological mother went missing before the adoption process was completed.
A bench of justices Naresh Patil and N W Sambre disposed of a plea filed by the prospective adoptive parents after the Maharashtra Child Welfare Committee (CWC) informed the court it had declared the child "legally free for adoption" last week. The HC directed the authorities and the petitioners to complete the adoption process as per provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act and the norms laid down by the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA).
The petitioners, a couple from Kolhapur, had moved the HC earlier this year seeking the CWC be directed to declare the child as "legally free for adoption". As per their plea, the child's biological mother had been taken to a shelter home by an auto driver when she was about three months pregnant. After giving birth, she decided to give the girl child for adoption. In April 2014, when the girl was three months old, she was sent to the petitioners' house as their foster child. At the time, the biological mother gave an oral consent to relinquishing her rights over the child, they said. The CWC directed her to visit its office a month later to give her written consent and complete the adoption formalities.
However, she failed to turn up on the given date. "The CWC and state authorities tried to trace her, and even issued notices in the newspapers but couldn't find her," government pleader Poornima Kantharia said. "The JJ Act requires the CWC to wait for two months from the time of issuing such notice to declare a child free for adoption. However, we waited for over a year, thinking the biological mother might return," she said. The CWC submitted that since the child had been living with the petitioners for so long, and was comfortable with them, it had no objection to the regularisation of the adoption process.
The bench, however, noted that the shelter home and the CWC had failed to take any steps to trace the whereabouts of the child's biological father, and had instead, proceeded with the presumption that her biological mother was unwed. "What if he comes back? You must be more cautious in the future," the bench said.
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