The Bombay High Court on Wednesday pulled up the Maharashtra Child Welfare Committee (CWC) for putting up a child for adoption even despite the father seeking the minor’s custody.
Adoption will come into the picture only when both parents have abandoned the child, a division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and Gauri Godse said.
The court said the CWC was acting in a “high handed manner” and asked it to get its act right in 48 hours or else the court would be constrained to pass an order.
“If the mother has abandoned the child, does the biological father have no right? We don’t understand how the CWC is conducting its cases. This is nothing but high-handedness by the CWC. Are they above the law,” the court said.
The bench was hearing the petition filed by the biological father seeking custody of his child.
As per the plea, the man had eloped with a 16-year-old girl and married her. The duo had a child.
The girl’s family registered a case against the man under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and he was arrested.
When the girl turned major, she abandoned the child and married someone else.
When the petitioner came out on bail, he sought the custody of his child.
The CWC, however, rejected his application and put up the child for adoption.
Advocate Ashish Dubey appearing for the petitioner pointed out that the child was neither abandoned nor orphaned and so the CWC could not have put up the child for adoption.
“Adoption will come into the picture only when both parents have abandoned the child…Why do you want to give the child for adoption? Will the child go to the biological parent or a third party?” Justice Dere asked.
The child was initially placed under the care of foster parents and later brought back to the orphanage.
The bench noted that this would have caused trauma to the child.
Additional public prosecutor Prajakta Shinde said the CWC would reconsider the man’s application and take an appropriate decision.
The court posted the matter for further hearing on Friday.