The Bombay High Court has said refusing a divorced woman to adopt a child on the ground that she is working and hence would not be able to give personal attention to the child reflects a “mindset of medieval conservative concepts”.
The court in its order on Tuesday allowed a 47-year-old woman to adopt her four-year-old niece..
A single bench of Justice Gauri Godse in the order said a single parent is bound to be a working person.
A single parent cannot be held ineligible to be an adoptive parent on the ground that he or she is a working person, it said.
The HC passed the order on the petition filed by Shabnamjahan Ansari, a teacher by profession, challenging an order of a civil court at Bhusawal (in Jalgaon district of Maharashtra) in March 2022 rejecting her application to adopt a minor girl child on the ground that she was a divorcee and a working woman.
The woman had sought to adopt her sister’s daughter.
The civil court had in its order said since Ansari was a working woman and a divorcee, she would not be able to give personal attention to the child and that the child ought to be with her biological parents.
The woman in her petition in the HC said such observation by the lower court was perverse and unjust.
The HC in its order noted that the reason given by the lower court in rejecting the woman’s application was “unfounded and baseless”.
“The comparison done by the court between the biological mother being a housewife and the prospective adoptive mother (single parent) being a working lady reflects a mindset of the medieval conservative concepts of a family,” Justice Godse observed.
The bench said when law recognises a single parent eligible to be an adoptive parent, the approach of the lower court defeats the very object of the statute.
“Generally, a single parent is bound to be a working person, maybe with some rare exceptions. Thus, by no stretch of imagination, a single parent can be held ineligible to be an adoptive parent on the ground that he or she is a working person,” the high court said.
It said all statutory compliances for adoption in the present case have been done and the lower court rejected the application only on one ground that the adoptive parent is a working lady.
“The reason recorded by the competent court is unfounded, illegal, perverse, unjust and unacceptable,” the high court said in its order.
The HC bench while quashing the lower court order permitted the biological parents to give their minor girl child to Ansari in adoption.
The high court declared Ansari as the girl’s parent. It also directed the Bhusawal Municipal Council to modify the child’s birth certificate to include Ansari’s name as the parent.