The Bombay High Court has issued notice to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs for issuing of an Indian passport to a one-year-old abandoned Afghani boy so that he could be put up for adoption.

The Bench of Justice G.S. Patel and Justice Neela Gokhale said that “what is presented to us is an issue in anticipation of a future problem: Atlas, even if declared ‘fit for adoption’, will find no adoptive parents and will not successfully be adopted without a travel document.”

Advocate Radhika Samant appeared for the petitioner and AGP AA Purav appeared for the State.

In this case, the petition was preferred by the ’Bharatiya Samaj Seva Kendra’ adoption agency seeking direction to the Ministry of Home Affairs to issue an Indian passport to the child born to Afghani couple in India in September 2021. The infant was surrendered by his biological parents to the petitioner institute when he was just a day old.

The counsel for the petitioner-institute submitted that as the child was born in India, he was entitled to an Indian passport and if the same was not issued, even if the infant was declared fit/free for adoption, the adoption process would be hindered for the want of citizenship document in the infant boy’s name.

The Court noted that a certain process was being followed by the Child Welfare Committee for declaring an infant being free/fit for adoption and that the Union Home Ministry had said that the declaration process was not impeded for want of a passport in the name of the infant.

"That may be technically correct" but the adoptive parents from overseas would not be able to take the infant out of the country unless the infant had a travel document like the passport, in infant’s own name with a properly issued visa for the country of destination.

“Since the legal issue appears to us to be narrow — and in all probability not contentious, one that can probably be resolved with some cooperation from all the concerned (respondents)”, said the Court.

The Court issued notice to the Ministry of Home Affairs and directed for a copy of the petition to be sent to the office of the Solicitor General for assistance.

Accordingly, the matter was listed for further hearing on March 1, 2023.

Cause Title- Bharatiya Samaj Seva Kendra Pune through its Executive Director v. Women and Child Development Commission & Ors

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