Read Order: Thomas P.  & Another vs. State of Kerala & Others 

Pankaj Bajpai

New Delhi,  January 14, 2022:  The Kerala High Court (Ernakulam Bench) has opined that Thomas P.  & Another (Appellants) being ‘relatives’ as prescribed u/s 2(52) 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, are eligible to adopt a child. 

Going by the background of the case, second and third respondents are husband and wife and the biological parents of Kumari, Maria Johnson aged 8 years old, who is the fourth girl child of the said couple. The appellants are however childless and both of them had undergone treatment for infertility for a long period and doctors confirmed that it will not be possible for the appellants to become biological parent of a child, since the second appellant had to undergo uterus removal surgery. The second respondent is the brother of the second appellant and third respondent is the wife of the second respondent, who expressed their willingness to give in adoption of Maria Johnson to the appellants. Hence, with a view to legalize the entire proceedings, the adoption application has been filed by the appellants before the District Judge, Kollam. 

The application was however dismissed, finding that the court has no jurisdiction to entertain or adjudicate the issue of adoption mooted by the appellants. Hence, present appeal. 

After considering the submissions, the Bench of Justice M.R Anitha noted that in the present case, petitioners are relatives as provided u/s 2(52) of the Act and 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. 

Thomas P. (1st appellant) is aged 57 years old and his wife is aged 47 years old. Since the petitioners are relatives, the age bar as prescribed under the Act will not be applicable under the Regulation 5(7), added the Court.

Justice Anitha found that appellants have no child inspite of undergoing various procedures, the doctors certified that there is no chance for conceivement by the 2nd appellant and her uterus is also removed and the 2nd respondent is her brother. 

So they come within the definition of ‘relatives’ as prescribed u/s 2(52) of the Act, and as per law, procedures and the rules prescribed, the appellants are eligible to adopt a child, who is the 4th girl child of the respondents, added the Single Judge. 

The High Court therefore observed that since the respondents have no objection and have filed a consent letter too, the finding of the District Judge that the court is not a proper forum and they have to approach the Child Welfare Committee is illegal and perverse. 

Accordingly, the High Court allowed the appeal and set aside the order passed by the District Judge, Kollam.

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