Bombay High Court questions CWC decision to give child up for adoption despite father claiming custody

The bench asked if the father had no rights once the mother abandoned the child. The CWC had rejected the father’s claim citing a case filed against him for having a relationship with the 17-year-old mother of the child.

The Bombay High Court Wednesday rebuked a Child Welfare Committee (CWC) for giving up a child for adoption, despite the biological father seeking custody of the child.

The CWC had earlier rejected the father’s claim of custody over the child as he was accused in a case filed against him for having a relationship with a 17-year-old girl, who was the mother of the child.

The Court, however, took a dim view of the CWC’s conduct.

We don’t understand how CWC is conducting its cases. This is nothing but high-handedness by CWC. First, you (CWC) lose the papers and when we pull you up, you find the papers and then revoke the order. The child is brought back from foster parents. Do you understand the trauma that the child will go through? the bench orally remarked.

The bench also sought to know whether the biological father had no right over the child if the mother had abandoned the child.

After the Court’s reprimand, the CWC said that it would withdraw its earlier decision to put the child up for adoption.

A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite Dere and Gauri Godse was hearing a habeas corpus plea by the father, Ramu Gadivdar.

He informed the court through his lawyer that the CWC had passed an order allowing the adoption of the child, despite the child not being abandoned or orphaned.

Gadivdar claimed that, being the biological father, he had sought the child’s custody after the child’s mother married someone else.

Additional Public Prosecutor Prajakta P Shinde informed the Court that the July 21 order of CWC will be revoked since the order is contrary to the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act.

Shinde added that appropriate orders would be passed on the father’s application within 48 hours.

The bench said it will hear the plea again on Friday, July 28, to ascertain compliance of the CWC’s assurance.

The child was born in November 2021 to a 17-year-old girl and Gadivdar, with whom she had run away.

After the girl’s father complained, Gadivdar was arrested in March 2022 for the alleged offence of kidnapping and charges under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act).

The girl and the child were brought to Mumbai by the police and transferred to the CWC, where she surrendered custody of the child due to financial difficulties in April 2022.

Meantime, Gadivdar was granted bail and he applied to meet the child, which the CWC permitted.

On December 21, 2022, CWC declared the child free for adoption. This move was challenged by Gadivdar before the High Court.

While his petition was pending before the Court, the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) gave the child for adoption on January 3 this year.

On June 16, the CWC withdrew its December order and on June 28, the bench was informed that the prospective parents will be handing back the child.

Meanwhile, Gadivdar applied for custody, which the CWC rejected on July 21. The CWC said that a man accused of a criminal case cannot take advantage of his own wrong. The CWC had further opined that the child should be put up for adoption for the child’s better future.

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