Mere Execution of notarized document purporting to be adoption deed doesn’t give the person right to custody of the child

Recently, the Bombay High Court refused to grant custody of a child (two years old) to a couple based on a notarized adoption deed. The Bench observed that merle notarising a purported document to be an adoption deed, the petitioner’s cant claim that they have a right to the child’s custody.

Background:

The petitioner’s approached the Hon’ble High Court and filed a Habeas Corpus petition after the Child Welfare Committee took away the child.

Contentions:

The petitioners informed the COurt that they adopted the child two weeks after its birth.

While the CWC submitted that they received information from Childline, a woman was unwilling to take care of her newborn baby and decided to put the child up for adoption or send it to an Ashram. CWC also stated that they were informed that there was a chance that the biological mother sold the child.

CWC took cognizance of the case and asked the biological mother to appear before it. By that time, the biological mother had given the child to the petitioners through a notarized adoption deed.

The investigation by Childline revealed that the child was given away for twenty thousand rupees.

An FIR was registered, and subsequently, the parties filed an application for custody of the child. The said applications were rejected, the mother filed a new application for custody and petitioner no.1 stated that he had no problem giving over the custody. Meanwhile, the petitioner’s filed a writ petition. After this, a fresh petition seeking custody was filed, but by this time, the child was in the custody of CWC.

Senior Counsel Raja Thakare who represented the petitioners, argued that the noticed document was valid as per Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 (Hindu Adoption Act). he further argued that since the document was valid as per Hindu Adoption Act, provisions u/s 56(3) Juvenile Justice Act would not apply to the case.

The Learned counsel submitted that Section 18 of the Act that deals with penalty for selling and buying a child cannot apply in the instant case.

Counsel for CEC submitted that CWC was only performing its statutory duties by taking custody of the child.

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Findings of the Court:

The Court perused the notarised deed and ruled that the Hindu Adoption Act requirements were not complied with. The Court opined that the said document was executed only after the FIR was filed.

As per the Court, it was clear that the mother gave up the child in exchange for money, and the CWC had acted appropriately as per the mandate of the Juvenile Justice Act.

Lastly, the Court noted that the petitioners did not use remedies under the Juvenile Justice Act and dismissed the petition.

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