Keywords: Adoption, Juvenile Justice Amendment Act, 2021, District magistrate.
The Bombay High Court clarified on Friday that its January 10 stay order on the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Act, 2021, has not stopped any ongoing adoption processes of children.
The amendment grants exclusive jurisdiction to district magistrates over adoption cases, including foreign adoptions. Civil courts had been handling adoption cases before the amendment.
On January 10, a bench presided over by Justice GS Patel put a stay to the implementation of the amendment concerning the transfer of case papers and documents related to adoption cases from civil courts to district magistrates
However, it was later reported that final adoption orders for many prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) and the adoption process in such cases came to a standstill in Maharashtra since January 11, after the court’s stay order.
The court said that the stay order does not apply to new adoption cases.
The clarification from the Bombay High Court is a welcome relief for families who are waiting to adopt children. It is also a reminder that the judicial system is committed to protecting the rights of children.
The Bombay High Court has directed that all case papers relating to adoption cases be transferred back to the concerned civil courts from the district magistrates. This is until the court decides on the pending petition challenging the amendment to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2021.
The court’s order comes after a writ petition was filed seeking a stay on a September 30, 2022 communication directing the transfer of all adoption cases to district magistrates.
The court, on January 10, 2023, effectively halted the impact of the communication issued in September and ordered that ongoing adoption cases should not be transferred to district magistrates for resolution.
The court also directed the courts to continue with the adjudication of the adoption matters that are pending on their record and file.
Nevertheless, a report from The Indian Express highlighted that following the communication, between September 2022 and January 10, 2023, all adoption cases were indeed transferred to the district magistrates. However, due to the High Court’s stay order, the district magistrates refrained from taking any action on these case documents.
The High Court is scheduled to hear the challenge to the amendment of the JJ Act on July 7, 2023.
Written By- Muskan Vyas, Legal Journalist under Legal Vidhiya