Case Analysis: Shabnam Jahan Moiuddin Ansari v. State of Maharashtra, (2023)
The ‘Case Analysis: Shabnam Jahan Moiuddin Ansari v. State of Maharashtra’, (2023) is a recent judgment by the Bombay High Court highlighting the right of a single working woman to adopt. The Case reinforces that adherence to the law is practised and no ‘guesswork’ would permit valid decisions to be taken by the courts of law. Read ahead to understand the nuances of this case law:
Case Title: Shabnam Jahan Moiuddin Ansari v. State of Maharashtra
Court: Bombay High Court
Citation: Civil Revision Application No. 127 of 2022
Judge: Gauri Godse, J.
Date: 11th April 2023
Facts of the Case
A young girl’s biological parents wanted her aunt, who was a working divorcee, to adopt her. They addressed the District Courtbyh Section 56(2), Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015. Although the aforementioned part allows for the adoption of a child by a relative, the district judge denied the application, citing that the aunt’s job prevented her from giving the kid the attention it needed and that the child’s biological parents were better suited to care for their daughter. The verdict was challenged by petitioners before the Bombay High Court.
The main issue involved in this case which had to be adjudicated upon by the High Court of Bombay, was:
- Whether the refusal to grant Adoption Order by the lower court was valid and based on the lack of any statutory requirement as posed by the relevant laws and regulations?
The references as made in this case law by the court are relating to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, whereby specifically Section 56, which relates to adoption, and Section 57, which relates to the eligibility of a prospective parent, is being referred to. Moreover, this provision is read with Rules 51 and 55 of the Adoption Regulations, 2017.
These regulations have been superseded by the Adoption Regulations, 2022 made applicable from the year 2022. The court also referred to the report submitted by the District Child Protection Unit and the pre-approval letter issued by the Central Adoption Resource Authority (“CARA”). This reference was made to infer how the district judge’s decision was contrary to the approval thus given by this report. Moreover, a ‘consent letter’ must be signed by the biological parents as per Schedule XIX and all other documents as provided in Schedule VI.
The ruling of the lower court was overturned by the Bombay High Court. The Bombay High Court stated, “According to the JJ Act of 2015, single parents and divorcees are also allowed to adopt,” while criticising the Court’s antiquated and constrictive viewpoints. Additionally, the district court’s role is restricted to confirming that all adoption requirements were satisfied.
The following was stated by the Bombay High Court:
- Applicants 2 and 3 (parents) can give their daughter to her aunt (Applicant 1).
- The aunt will be declared as a parent of the daughter, thus adopted by her.
- All authorities comply with this order and facilitate quick execution by way of assisting in the adoption process.
The district court’s justifications for dismissing the adoption application were deemed unfair, improper, and illegal by the Bombay High Court. The High Court granted the aunt’s motion as a result, designating her as the girl’s official adoptive parent.
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