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Bombay High Court: Stayed Order On Transfer Of Adoption Cases To District Magistrates, Asking Single Judge To Continue Hearing Matters 

The Bombay High Court in the case Nisha Pradeep Pandya alias Nisha Amit Gor & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors observed and has granted an interim stay on the transfer of pending adoption matters to the District Magistrates and it has been directed to the courts to continue with adjudication in the said […]

Bombay High Court
Bombay High Court

The Bombay High Court in the case Nisha Pradeep Pandya alias Nisha Amit Gor & Anr. v. Union of India & Ors observed and has granted an interim stay on the transfer of pending adoption matters to the District Magistrates and it has been directed to the courts to continue with adjudication in the said cases. The division bench comprising of Justice G. S. Patel and Justice S. G. Dige in the case observed and has issued notice to the Attorney General for India in a writ plea wherein challenging Juvenile Justice (the Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Act 2021 to the extent that the word ‘Court’ is being replaced with ‘District Magistrates’. In the present case, the court stated while considering interim relief that, we must bear in mind the primary objective which being in the interest of the children and infants who are to be adopted whether these are foreign or domestic adoptions. Thus, it also involves the concerns of the adoptive parents. Further, it has been stated by the court that if the plea succeeds, any order which is being passed by the District Magistrates will immediately become vulnerable. It is stated that as per the petition the amendment means that an exclusive jurisdiction has been given to the District Magistrates over all adoptions, which includes the foreign adoptions. Thus, the plea filed also seeks a stay on a letter written by Commissioner of Women and Child Development, Pune on 30.09.2022 to the Bombay HC Registrar for transfer of the adoption matters to the District Magistrates. At present, the adoption matters are handled by the High Court Single Judges and no complaint about the handling of the cases has been shown. The court stated that the safer and more prudent course of action would be to allow all matters to be placed before the learned Single Judge of this Court who is being assigned those matters. Thus, the said orders must be continued to be passed until the challenge is finally decided. Adding to it, the court stated that the said practise has continued for a long time, and nothing indicates it shouldn’t be continued for about 4 weeks till the final hearing of the petition. Further, the court stated that no prejudice will be caused to any party if the existing system continues. It has also been stated by the court that this court is yet to see the justification for the amendment. Since October 2022, the matter is being pending. This court is being now told that there should be no stay on the implementation of the amendment and that the Government will file its reply. This court does not think that the matters require to go through multiple cycles of the same arguments. Adding to it, the court stated that, this court is not impressed by the argument of delay in disposal of cases. Thus, in this High Court, the adoption jurisdiction is one in which there is no backlog at all. Therefore, the Adjournments are almost never being requested or ordered and disposals take place on a weekly basis. Accordingly, the court listed the plea for final disposal on 14.02.2023. 

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