Madurai

Madras High Court directs adoption authority to consider couple’s plea

Considering the plea of a couple, in their 40s, who sought a direction to authorities to permit them to select a child between the age of 0-2 for adoption, the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court permitted them to move Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) and their case be placed before the Relaxation Committee.

The court was hearing a petition filed by the husband, an advocate from Tirunelveli district. The couple got married in 2006. Since they had no children, in spite of medical intervention, the couple decided to adopt a child through the adoption authority. They registered with CARA in 2017.

A district-level social service society prepared a home study report and found the couple eligible to adopt a child. Subsequently, three different infants were shown to the couple on different dates, but they did not reserve it. The couple wanted to adopt a child that is aged below two years.

The petitioner is aged about 49 years and his wife below 45 years. Since the composite age of the prospective adoptive parents crossed 90 years, as per regulations, they are eligible to adopt a child that is aged above four years. The present petition was filed seeking a direction to authorities to permit them to adopt a child below the age of two years.

Justice G.R. Swaminathan observed adoption is a sensitive and sentimental subject. Taking note of the rules, the judge said that the wife of the petitioner was below the age of 45 years. If she as a single prospective adoptive parent applies for adoption, she can adopt a child up to the age of 4 years.

But, because she is married and the composite age of the couple is above 90, she cannot adopt a child up to the age of 4 years. The judge said marriage is a value addition (let us forget the exceptional cases). A person cannot be put on a lesser scale or made ineligible due to one's marital status.

The judge said though the petitioner chose not to reserve a child even though he was shown as many as three infants, Regulation 60 provides for the relaxation and grant of exception in respect of a case or class of cases by the Relaxation Committee of CARA. The seniority of the man was blocked on the web portal of CARA for a few months due to certain reasons.

The judge said this in his view is a ground for considering the case of the petitioner for relaxation. The petitioner was permitted to move CARA and the case be placed before the Relaxation Committee of CARA immediately. The committee shall bear in mind that the petitioner's wife is below 45 years. The case for relaxation shall be considered in eight weeks, the judge said.

The judge observed that though India is a multi-religious and pluralistic society, the personal law of Hindus alone recognizes adoption. The personal laws of other religions do not provide for adoption. Humanity is one and childless couples irrespective of their religious background would feel alike. Sections 56 to 73 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 dealing with adoption is a secular response to this challenge and which is free of all trappings of religion.


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Printable version | Aug 24, 2022 12:29:33 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/madras-high-court-directs-adoption-authority-to-consider-couples-plea-for-relaxation/article65750848.ece