Parents with two biological children cannot demand choice of who to adopt: Delhi HC

Court notes that the adoption process in entirety operates on the premise of welfare of children

February 21, 2024 01:30 am | Updated 01:30 am IST - New Delhi

Some prospective adoptive parents had moved the court against the 2022 rules.

Some prospective adoptive parents had moved the court against the 2022 rules. | Photo Credit: FILE PHOTO

The Delhi High Court has come out in support of the Centre’s adoption rules, which bar prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) from adopting a ‘normal child’ if they already have two biological children.

Notified by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development, the Adoption Regulations, 2022 came into force on September 23 that year. They replaced the 2017 regulations, which included a section stating that couples with three or more children may only opt for the adoption of children who have special needs or are hard to place. Under the 2022 rules, this condition will apply to couples with two or more children.

Some PAPs with two biological children had last year moved the High Court against the 2022 rules being implemented retrospectively. They argued that they had applied for the adoption of a third child under the 2017 regulations.

In its February 16 judgment, the court reminded them that “the right to adopt cannot be raised to the status of a fundamental right within Article 21 nor can it be raised to a level granting PAPs the right to demand their choice of who to adopt”. “The adoption process in entirety operates on the premise of [the] welfare of children and, therefore, the rights flowing within the adoption framework do not place the rights of the PAPs at the forefront,” it noted.

Taking note of the Centre’s motivation behind the policy, the court said, “The long wait for prospective parents, including those who are devoid of even one biological child, must be seen in the backdrop of a grave mismatch between the number of normal children available for adoption and the number of PAPs in expectation of adopting a normal child.”

“A balanced approach therefore ought to be welcomed which attempts to reduce the wait for parents with a single child or devoid of even that, in anticipation of adoption and the interests of the child while being matched with a family with lesser number of already existing biological children,” the order read.

Best interests of child

“The best interests of the child and their right to be adopted into a suitable family triumphs all accruals of expectations of PAPs corollary to [the] adoption of a child,” it added.

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