Read order: Minor Samayah Zaid vs. Regional passport officer 

LE Staff

Chennai, July 31, 2021: The Madras High Court has come to the aid of a father facing issues in securing re-issuance of a passport for his adopted child, and has clarified that the passport was correctly issued in the name of the petitioner child by showing the name of her parents.

The Bench of Justice N Anand Venkatesh quashed the letter issued by the Regional passport officer wherein the minor petitioner’s father was directed to surrender the passport issued to the petitioner and to attend an enquiry.

The door of the High Court was knocked following the Passport Authority’s contention that the petitioner’s parents had suppressed that they had adopted the child when a passport was obtained for the first time for the petitioner.

Justice Venkatesh found that the adoption was executed by the adoption agency in November 2015 and the same was registered. A birth certificate was also issued by the competent authority on December 21, 2015, wherein the name of the adoptive father and mother of the child was specifically mentioned.

The High Court noted that there was some misunderstanding between the parents which ultimately resulted in the dissolution of their marriage. Thereafter, the petitioner is taken care by her father who is now the natural guardian and he is in custody of the child. 

Observing that the Passport Officer ought to have taken into consideration the fact of dissolution of marriage and then proceeded to scrutinize the application, the High Court said that the petitioner had made an application seeking for re-issuance of the passport since the period of the passport issued to the petitioner was expiring. 

“As rightly contended by the counsel for the petitioner, there is no separate column provided in the application to declare whether the child is a natural child or an adopted child. In the absence of any such column in the application form, it cannot be said that the parents of the petitioner had suppressed that the petitioner was an adopted child when the earlier application was made for issuance of the passport in the name of the petitioner,” found the Court. 

Justice Venkatesh went on to state that the passport officer need not have taken pains to enquire into the issue of welfare of the child and it was enough if he had confined to scrutinizing the records available before him.

The High Court also rejected the Passport Authority’s argument that the dissolution of the child’s adoptive parents’ marriage should have been brought to the notice of the Court and an appropriate order ought to have been obtained before submitting the application for re-issue of passport. 

“No one has complained till now that the parents are acting against the welfare of the child. The order passed by the competent Court at Jalandhar was of the year 2015 and safeguards that have been provided by the Court was only for the initial period when the Court wanted to ensure that the child is properly taken care of,” observed the Bench. 

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