Madras HC allows unmarried woman to give child for adoption

The mother may opt to give the child up for adoption to ensure a good future for the child,” the judge stated.
The government’s counsel submitted that since the biological father’s consent is absent, the registering authority rightly refused registration.
The government’s counsel submitted that since the biological father’s consent is absent, the registering authority rightly refused registration.

MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court directed the registration department to allow a 3-year-old boy, who was born out of wedlock, to be adopted by a couple as the boy’s biological mother wished to ensure a proper future for the child.

The court further observed that the registration department’s refusal to provide a check slip, stating that the biological father’s consent was not obtained and the woman is unmarried, shows the registering authority’s ‘patriarchal’ mindset.

Hearing a petition filed by a journalist who wished to adopt the child, Justice GR Swaminathan set aside the registration department’s refusal to provide a check slip and stated that the couple who wished to adopt the child can register, subject to the fulfilment of the formalities.

The judge stated that the underlying assumption is that an unmarried woman aged above 18 cannot give her biological child for adoption. “The woman’s marital status cannot be the determining factor, and it is possible that a child may be born out of wedlock. The mother may opt to give the child up for adoption to ensure a good future for the child,” the judge stated.

The court noted that the woman was a minor when she gave birth to the child in November 2021. However, now she wished to give up the child for adoption to the journalist and his wife, a government servant.
The government’s counsel submitted that since the biological father’s consent is absent, the registering authority rightly refused registration.

However, the court stated that Section 6 (b) of the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956 states that the mother is the lawful guardian of her child and is competent to give the child for adoption. Section 9(2) of the Act will kick in only if the father is around to claim paternity over the child. In this case, the biological father does not claim any paternity, the court observed and issued the above directive.

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