The Bombay High Court, Aurangabad Bench has permitted a single working mother to adopt a child saying that the Civil Court’s decision of disallowing adoption and comparing a biological mother being a housewife with a single working mother reflects the medieval mindset.

A Single Bench of Justice Gauri Godse held, “The Competent Court has 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. When the statute recognises a single parent to be eligible for being an adoptive parent, the approach of the Competent Court defeats the very object of the statute. Generally, a single parent is bound to be a working person, maybe with some rare exceptions.”

The Bench observed that 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.

Advocates N.S. Shah and S.S. Patil appeared on behalf of the applicants while AGP S.B. Pulkundwar appeared on behalf of the respondent.

Facts -

A plea was filed under Section 102 of the Juvenile Justice (Care And Protection of Children) Act 2015 (JJ Act) for challenging the order passed by District Judge -1 at Bhusawal. The applicant was a prospective adoptive parent who had registered in the child adoption and resource information and guidance assistance for the adoption of a minor child but the said application for the adoption was rejected.

It was the case of the applicants that they filed a civil miscellaneous application before the District Judge for seeking the adoption of the minor child and declaration of the said single mother as a parent. They also prayed for issuing directions to the Municipal Council for modifying the birth certificate of the minor child as per Rule 36 of the Regulations of 2017.

The High Court after hearing the contentions of the counsel said, “In the present case, the Competent Court has rejected the application only on the ground that the prospective parent is a single lady and a divorcee, and she being a working lady, 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 further noted that the reason given by the competent court is not only contrary to the provisions of the JJ Act but is also contrary to the recommendation made by the District Child Welfare Officer and the Assistant Director of CARA and even otherwise, the reason given by the Court is unfounded and baseless.

“There is nothing adverse shown to me for rejecting the application for adoption. A perusal of the record shows that all the statutory compliances are done. The report of the District Child Welfare Officer and the pre-approved letter issued by the Assistant Director of CARA have found the prospective adoptive parent to be a fit parent for adopting the child”, asserted the Court.

The Court concluded that the application was rejected only on one ground of the adoptive parent being a working lady and that the reason recorded by the competent court is illegal, perverse, unjust, and unacceptable.

Accordingly, the High Court allowed the plea, granted permission for adoption, and quashed the order of the Civil Court.

Cause Title- Shabnamjahan & Ors. v. The State of Maharashtra

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