Express News Service
MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court, on Monday, directed the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) to consider a request made by a childless couple to adopt a child aged below two years as they were unable to do so because their composite age was above 90 years.
The petitioner is a practising advocate. He and his wife decided to adopt a child and registered themselves with the CARA on January 10, 2017. They wished to adopt a child aged below two years. But due to the Adoption Regulations, 2017, which state that children aged below four years cannot be given in adoption to prospective adoptive parents whose composite age is above 90 years, the couple was unable to fulfil their wish and approached the court seeking relief.
Justice GR Swaminathan, who heard the plea, noted that though the petitioner was 49 years old, his wife was aged below 45 years and would have been eligible to adopt a child aged less than four years if she had been a single parent. But as she was married to the petitioner and their composite age was above 90 years, she became ineligible, the judge added. “Marriage is a value addition.
A person cannot be put on a lesser scale or made ineligible due to one’s marital status. The distinction between a single parent and a couple does not appear to have a rational nexus with the object that is sought to be achieved,” the judge observed. But citing that the petitioner has not formally challenged the regulations and that the validity of the regulations could be dealt with only by the First Bench of the court, the judge said he cannot go into the above issue.
However, the judge took into account the allegations made by the petitioner that his seniority was blocked on CARA’s web portal for five months between March 2019 and August 2019 and he could not choose a child during the said period. The authorities have admitted that the petitioner’s seniority got blocked in the portal due to a technical glitch, the judge noted.
“Regulation 60 provides for relaxation and grant of exception in respect of a case or class of cases by the Relaxation Committee of CARA,” he pointed out and opined that the difficulty faced by the couple due to the technical glitch could be considered a ground to grant them an exception. He directed the Relaxation Committee to consider and take a decision on the couple’s request within two months, adding that the committee members, who are in different States, can hold the meetings virtually if required.
Adoption Regulations, 2017, which state that children aged below four years cannot be given in adoption to prospective adoptive parents whose composite age is above 90 years. But the wife was aged below 45 years and would have been eligible to adopt the child if she were single