Kerala HC Emphasized Higher Moral and Ethical Obligations in Adoption Annulment Case

Kerala HC Law Insider

LI Network

Published on: December 16, 2023 at 12:52 IST

The Kerala High Court has highlighted the elevated moral and ethical responsibilities of adoptive parents in a case where a couple sought court permission to annul the adoption of a now-adult girl.

Justice Devan Ramachandran, while considering the plea, questioned the adoptive parents on their decision, emphasizing the distinctive nature of adoptive parenthood.

The court pointedly asked whether, if the couple were the biological parents, they would consider abandoning a child with behavioral issues. The judge expressed concern over the privileged ability of adoptive parents to seek annulment compared to biological parents facing similar challenges.

The court noted instances where children, even in biological families, exhibit problematic behavior, emphasizing that adoptive parents should uphold their obligations.

The counsel for the petitioners argued that the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) could be classified as a ‘Specialized Adoption Agency’ under the Juvenile Justice Act, a proposition rejected by the court. The court asserted that surrendering a child does not automatically grant specialized agency status.

The petitioners claimed they were directed by the Kerala State Commission for Protection of Child Rights to approach the CWC, a move strongly opposed by the court. It criticized labeling the girl as unfit based on anger issues and emphasized the nation’s low priority for child rights.

The court clarified that the girl had not been declared mentally unstable, and there was no evidence that the adoptive parents were unfit to care for her. Despite considering dismissing the writ, the court expressed a desire to address the situation, emphasizing its concern for the girl’s well-being.

Acknowledging the girl’s status as a major, the court accepted that the Adoption Regulations, 2022, and the Juvenile Justice Act might not apply.

The court directed the Amicus Curiae, Advocate Parvathi Menon A., to interact with the girl to understand her preferences and educational needs.

The case is set for further consideration on December 22, 2023, as the court strives to balance legal procedures with the welfare of the individual involved.

Case Title: XXX v. Child Welfare Committee

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