Bombay HC Issues Notice to MHA on Adoption Agency’s Plea for Issuance of Passport to 1-Yr-Old Abandoned Afghani Child

The Bombay High Court has issued a notice to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on a petition filed by a Pune-based adoption agency seeking issuance of an Indian passport to a one-year-old abandoned Afghani boy so that he could be put up for adoption.

A division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Neela Gokhale in its order of February 14 also sought the assistance of Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh or any advocate from his office to resolve the issue.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by the ‘Bhartiya Samaj Seva Kendra’ adoption agency, seeking a direction to the MHA to issue an Indian passport to the child.

According to the petition, an infant Atlas, now one-year-old, was surrendered to the petitioner institute by his biological parents an Afghani couple on September 9, 2021 when he was just a day old.

The institute in its plea said Atlas was born in India and hence was entitled to an Indian passport.

The child has not yet been declared free/fit for adoption and this process might be hindered for want of a citizenship document in Atlas’s name, it added.

The plea said adoptive parents from overseas would find it impossible to take the child out of the country unless he or she has a travel document like the passport.

The high court bench noted that the Union Home Ministry has said the declaration process was not impeded for want of a passport.

“That may be technically correct, but 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,” the HC said in its order.

Since the issue is “narrow and in all probability not contentious”, it could be resolved with some cooperation from any advocate from the office of the Additional Solicitor General of India on behalf of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the court said.

The bench issued a notice to the MHA and directed for a copy of the petition to be sent to the office of the Solicitor General for assistance.

The court posted the matter for further hearing on March 1.

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