Bombay HC quashes civil court order directing adoptive parents to hand over custody of child to biological parents

 The Bombay High Court on Saturday quashed and set aside a March 2023 order passed by a civil court directing the adoptive parents of a two-year-old boy to hand over his custody to his biological parents pending hearing on their adoption petition.

A single bench of Justice Sharmila Deshumkh said the lower court’s order was passed in a summary manner without giving any opportunity to the parents to lead any evidence and that the matter was decided on the basis of affidavits.

“Considering that the compliance of conditions of adoption were required to be taken into consideration, it was necessary for issues to be framed in that regard and evidence be permitted to be led and as the same was not done, there was no question of bringing on record any reliable or convincing evidence to establish validity of adoption,” HC said.

The HC was hearing a petition filed by the adoptive parents challenging the order passed by the civil court dismissing their adoption petition.

The adoptive parents had filed a review application in the civil court against the order dismissing their adoption petition.

They claimed that even as their review petition was pending, the civil court directed them to hand over custody of the child to the biological parents.

The adoptive parents claimed the biological parents had given the child in adoption and had executed the deed of adoption dated July 16, 2021, which is disputed by the biological parents.

The child is with the adoptive parents from the time he was two days old.

The plea claimed the child was born on July 14, 2021 and that the biological parents were not keen to keep the child.

However, before the civil court the biological parents said they wanted the child back and sought dismissal of the adoption petition.

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The civil court rejected the petition on two grounds, firstly that the biological parents have taken objection for giving the child in adoption and secondly that adoption deed is not registered as per provisions of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act (HAMA).

The HC, however, noted that the order could not be sustained.

The bench directed the civil court to decide the adoption petition of the adoptive parents within six months.

“In wake of the factual position that the child is with the adoptive parents from last two years since he was two days old, the child is to remain with the adoptive parents till the final adjudication,” the HC said.

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