JJ Act recognises a Single Parent to be eligible for being an Adoptive Parent; Bombay High Court allows single working women to Adopt a Child

bombay high court

Bombay High Court: While hearing a civil revision application filed by a prospective adoptive parent (‘applicant’) and biological parents of a minor child under Section 102 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015, (‘the JJ Act’) challenging the Order of the District Court, Bhusawal, wherein the application for the adoption of the minor child was rejected, the Single Judge Bench of Gauri Godse J., allowed the applicants revision application and allowed the Single prospective adoptive parent to adopt the minor child.

Factual Matrix

In the matter at hand, the applicant had registered in the child adoption and resource information and guidance assistance for the adoption of a minor child. The applicant is the real sister of the biological mother. The applicant had approached the District Court, seeking adoption of the minor child and declaration of the applicant as minor child’s parent. The applicant also sought modification of the birth certificate of the minor child as per Rule 36 of the Adoption Regulations, 2017 (‘Regulations of 2017’). However, the said application for adoption of minor child was rejected by the District Court, Bhusawal.

Court’s Decision

The Court noted that the biological parents of the Child had submitted the necessary consent form for the purpose of adoption of the minor child by the applicant. The Court said that the present case was for the in-country adoption of a minor child by a relative from another relative. The Court considered it necessary to refer to the relevant provisions of the JJ Act and Regulations of 2017. On perusal of the Sub-section (2) of Section 56 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 (‘JJ Act’), the Court said that it permits the adoption of a child from a relative by another relative irrespective of their religion by following the provision of the JJ Act and the Rules framed by the Authority.

The Court said that the parameters prescribed in Section 61 shows that before issuing an Adoption Order, the Court must be satisfied that the adoption is for the welfare of the child and that all the prescribed formalities under the JJ Act and the Adoption Rules are complied with. The prescribed forms to be submitted under the said Rules shows that due care is taken to verify all the details of the prospective adoptive parents, biological parents and the child. Therefore, the Court said that the Section 61 requires the competent Court to be satisfied with the prescribed parameters, including the welfare of the child, must be read with all the other prescribed procedures to be followed. Thus, a duty is cast upon the Competent Court to satisfy itself about the welfare of a child as per the parameters laid down in Section 61 before passing an Adoption Order.

The Court noted that the pre-approved letter dated 23-05-2022 issued by the Assistant Director- Central Adoption Resource Authority (‘CARA’), confirming that the affidavit of the prospective adoptive parent was furnished in the prescribed format and all the statutory requirements for undertaking the in-country relative adoption under the JJ Act were complied with. The Court said that in the present case, the Competent Court had rejected the application of adoption only on the ground that the prospective parent is a single lady and a divorcee, and being a working lady, she will not be able to give personal attention to the child per contra the biological parents would be in a better condition to take care of the child. The Court said that Section 57 of the JJ Act provides the eligibility criteria of a prospective parent. Sub-section (3) of Section 57 holds that a single or divorced person is eligible for taking a child in adoption, further the Court said that Sub-section (1) of Section 57 states that the prospective adoptive parent shall be physically fit, financially sound, mentally alert and highly motivated to adopt a child to provide a good upbringing to the child. Thus, the Court said that the reason given by the Competent Court was not only contrary to the provisions of the JJ Act but was also contrary to the recommendation made by the District Child Welfare Officer and the Assistant Director of CARA. Therefore, the reason given by the Competent Court was called unfounded and baseless.

The Court further said that the Competent Court had erroneously rejected the application by doing guesswork. The comparison done by the Competent Court between the biological mother being a housewife and the prospective adoptive mother (single parent) being a working lady reflects a mindset of the medieval conservative concepts of a family. The Court stated that when the statute recognises a single parent to be eligible for being an adoptive parent, the approach of the Competent Court defeated the very object of the statute. The Court said that generally, a single parent is bound to be a working person, maybe with some rare exceptions, thus, by no stretch of the imagination, a single parent can be held to be ineligible to be an adoptive parent on the ground that he/she is a working person.

Therefore, the Court quashed and set aside the impugned Order of the District Judge and allowed the revision application. The Court permitted the biological parents to give the minor child in adoption to the present applicant and declared the applicant as parent of the minor child for all purposes. The Court also directed the Bhusawal Municipal Council to issue a modified birth certificate incorporating the name of the applicant as the adoptive parent of the minor child. Further, the Court directed the authorities concerned to complete all the necessary facilities to give effect to the adoption Order as expeditiously as possible and at the latest, within the period of four weeks from the production of a copy of the Order.

[Shabnamjahan v. State of Maharashtra, 2023 SCC OnLine Bom 790, Decided on 11-04-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For the applicants: Advocate N.S. Shah and Advocate S.S. Patil;

For the respondent: Additional Government Pleader S.B. Pulkundwar.

Must Watch

maintenance to second wife

bail in false pretext of marriage

right to procreate of convict

Criminology, Penology and Victimology book release

One comment

  • This judgment has upheld the rights of a single parent who wishes to have a child in their life. As there is no coercion or force on anyone’s will, there is no harm in allowing such petitions. If the biological parents are willingly giving their child in adoption then why oppose that? And it also depends on the facts of each case. Here the court has considered the welfare of the child and hence it is within the specified parameters of the statue.

Join the discussion

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.