Read Order: Pooja Rani v. State of Punjab and Others

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, June 22, 2022: The High Court of Punjab and Haryana has recently held that the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 does not envisage an agreement to adopt a child, who is not yet born.

The Bench of Justice M.S. Ramachandra Rao was dealing with a petition seeking a writ in the nature of habeas corpus with regard to a newborn baby boy who was alleged to be in custody of the fourth and fifth respondents. 

The petition was filed by the natural mother of the baby alleging that before the birth of the child, the fourth and fifth respondent requested the petitioner and her husband to give the child in adoption, and after the birth, the child was taken away by the said respondent under an agreement entered into with the petitioner and her husband allegedly with the use of force.

The case of the petitioner was that the petitioner was the mother and the natural guardian of the child and that there was no valid adoption as per the provisions of The Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956. It was also submitted that there was also no registered document concerning the adoption as per Section 16 of the Act.

The Counsel for the respondents did not dispute that the petitioner was the natural mother of the baby boy and there was no registered agreement in their favour as to the adoption. 

The Court, after considering the case at hand, observed that the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 does not envisage an agreement to adopt a child, who is not yet born. 

Thus, it was held that the said respondents could not claim to be in lawful custody of the minor child in question.

In view of the above, the present writ petition was allowed and the respondent were directed to hand over the custody of the baby boy to the petitioner forthwith. 

The respondents however, were given the liberty to take steps to enforce any agreement, which they had, in an appropriate Court of law against the petitioner and her husband with regard to their claim for adoption of the said child. 

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