Bombay HC Pulls Up Child Welfare Committee For Putting Child To Adoption When Father Was Seeking Custody
The Bombay High Court yesterday rapped the Maharashtra Child Welfare Committee (CWC) for putting up a minor for adoption despite the fact that the father sought custody as the mother had abandoned the said child.
A Division Bench of Justice Revati Mohite Dere and Justice Gauri Godse observed that adoption comes into the picture only when both parents have abandoned the child.
“Learned APP on instructions states that the order dated 21st July 2023 will be revoked, since the said order passed is contrary to the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act. She further states that appropriate orders will be passed on the petitioner’s application within 48 hours from today. Statement is accepted”, noted the Bench.
Advocate Ashish Dubey appeared for the petitioner while APP P.P. Shinde appeared for the State.
In this case, the petitioner had eloped with a 16-year-old girl and married her which led to the birth of a child. The family of the said girl registered a case against the petitioner under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act) as a result of which he was arrested.
When the girl attained the age of majority, she abandoned the child and married another man and when the petitioner came out on bail, he sought the custody of his child. However, the CWC rejected his application and put up the child for adoption aggrieved by which he approached the High Court. The counsel for the petitioner submitted before the court that the child was neither abandoned nor orphaned and so the CWC could not have put up the child for adoption.
The High Court after considering the submissions made by the counsel asked the CWC to get its act right in 48 hours or else it would be constrained to pass an order.
"If the mother has abandoned the child, does the biological father have no right? We don't understand how the CWC is conducting its cases. This is nothing but high-handedness by the CWC. Are they above the law?”, further said the Court.
The child was first placed under the care of foster parents and was later brought back to the orphanage.
"Why do you want to give the child for adoption? Will the child go to the biological parent or a third party?”, asked the Court.
The counsel for the CWC asserted before the court that there would be a reconsideration of the petitioner's application and an appropriate decision will be taken accordingly.
Accordingly, the High Court listed the matter for the next hearing on July 28, 2023, i.e., Friday.
Cause Title- Ramu Maruti Gadivdar v. State of Maharashtra and Others