US-based couple wins adoption war in High Court

By Sunil Baghel, Mumbai Mirror | Oct 20, 2013, 12.00 AM IST

The legal battle between two couples, one based in Pune and the other an OCI (overseas citizens of India), over adoption of the same child has ended in favour of the latter.

Mumbai Mirror reported on Friday a petition submitted to the Bombay High Court by the Pune-based couple, who said they were referred to the child by an agency called Sofosh in July this year (Adoptions: HC to decide if Indians should be given preference over foreigners).

The couple said in the petition that a month later, they were informed that the child was referred to a US-based couple in complete violation of the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) guidelines. The petition further said that Sofosh was favouring the OCI couple for financial gains.

The division bench of Justices V M Kanade and S C Gupte on Friday indicated that they were rejecting the Pune couple’s petition, and said that they will issue a detailed order in the case later. The order is likely to contain guidelines with regards to coordination between the central and the state agencies.

“It is clear that matter reached this far only because of the coordination issue between the two agencies. As the matter concerns children put up for adoption, such things should not happen,” observed the bench while closing the case.

The case split CARA, and the state adoption agencies right down the middle, with CARA supporting the USbased couple, and the Pune couple being backed by the Maharashtra State Adoption Resource Centre, and the State Adoption Recommendation Committee.

The US-based couple said that they had accepted the child in May itself, but the baby was still referred to the Pune couple under pressure from the State Adoption Recommendation Committee.

To an argument by the Indian couple, that a child should be given for adoption to an Indian couple “as far as possible”, CARA, Sofosh and the OCI couple submitted that the proportion for children to be given in adoption to Indian and foreign couples is 80:20.

The issue of the OCI couple’s combined age was also argued by the Pune couple, who said the guidelines provided that for a couple to be able to adopt a child of below three years of age, the couple’s combined age should not be 90 years or more. The OCI couple’s combined age, as of today, is 90 years, the petition said.

However, the OCI couple submitted that their combined age was 86 years when they had originally registered with an agency in the US in March 2010. It took over three years for the Indian agencies to refer a child to them, which cannot be held against them, they said.