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Family Court With Territorial Jurisdiction Is The Competent Authority To Give A Child In Adoption : Kerala High Court

Hannah M Varghese
11 Jan 2022 8:15 AM GMT
Family Court With Territorial Jurisdiction Is The Competent Authority To Give A Child In Adoption : Kerala High Court
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The Kerala High Court has recently laid down that the Family Court with the respective territorial jurisdiction is empowered to give a child in adoption.After perusing the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act 2015, the 2014 Rules framed thereunder and the Adoption Regulations 2017, Justice M.R. Anitha observed:"In the said circumstance, the finding of the learned District Judge that...

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The Kerala High Court has recently laid down that the Family Court with the respective territorial jurisdiction is empowered to give a child in adoption.

After perusing the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act 2015, the 2014 Rules framed thereunder and the Adoption Regulations 2017, Justice M.R. Anitha observed:

"In the said circumstance, the finding of the learned District Judge that the court is not a proper forum and they have to approach the Child Welfare Committee is illegal and perverse." 

The appellant couple has been childless despite undergoing various treatments for infertility over the years. Soon after the doctors confirmed that it will not be possible for them to become biological parents, the 2nd appellant had to undergo uterus removal surgery.

Respondents 2 and 3 are husband and wife, who expressed their willingness to give their fourth girl child aged 8 years for adoption. The 2nd respondent is the 2nd appellant's brother. 

To legalise the proceedings, a plea was filed by the appellants before the District Judge. However, this was dismissed on the ground that the court had no jurisdiction to entertain or adjudicate upon the issue of adoption and that the parties had to approach the Child Welfare Committee. 

Challenging the same, the parties moved the High Court.

Advocates R. Renjith and M.T. Sureshkumar appearing for the appellants drew the Court's attention to several provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Rules, 2014 and Adoption Regulations, 2017 to present their case. 

It was argued that being the niece of the 2nd appellant, the child will come within the definition of 'relative' defined under Section 2(52) of the 2015 Act. This nullifies the condition of the age bar as prescribed under the Act as per Regulation 5(7).

Further, they argued that the forum for filing the petition for adoption as per Section 2(23) of the Act include, District Court, Family Court and City Civil Court.

The respondents represented by Advocate N.N. Girija and Public Prosecutor Sheeba Thomas expressed no objection to the same and had filed a consent letter too. 

The Court noted that as per law, the appellants were eligible to adopt the child. Moreover, presently the Family Courts are designated as Adoption Court as per O.M. No. D12-10890/2016 of the High Court of Kerala.

As such, the decision of the District Judge was set aside and the appeal was allowed. The District Court was also directed to return the records for presentation before the proper court.

Case Title: Thomas P. & Anr v. State of Kerala & Ors

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Ker) 15

Click Here To Read/Download The Order

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