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Adoptive Parents Retain Kid’s Custody As HC Rejects Biological Mom’s Plea

TNN | May 5, 2024, 04:29 IST

Chennai: Madras high court has refused to give custody of a three-year-old child to his biological mother, as he had been raised by his adoptive parents since birth. The adoptive parents said the child was given in adoption to them since his mother was found to be HIV positive.

A division bench of Justice MS Ramesh and Justice Sunder Mohan, however, granted visiting rights to the biological mother every week in the presence of the parents. The court also directed the jurisdictional court to settle the child custody dispute within six months under the Guardian and Wards Act.

The issue pertains to a habeas corpus plea moved by the child’s biological mother alleging illegal custody of the child by the adoptive parents.

According to the petitioner, the child was born on July 1, 2020, at Erode. During her pregnancy she was found to have contracted HIV and hence her father handed over the child to the adoptive parents temporarily. After completion of Sidha treatment till Dec 24, 2022, she requested the adoptive parents to return her son. Since they refused, she preferred a police complaint on Dec 24, 2022. The complaint was closed on the ground that there was no criminality involved.

On August 11, 2023, the adoptive parents moved a plea in the Erode district court under the Guards and Wards Act seeking custody of the child.

“The petitioner herein is the biological mother of the minor child and thus has every right to have the care and custody of her child, and that there was no valid adoption in this case. In view of her status as the mother, the refusal on the part of the respondents and to handover her child, would amount to illegal custody,” counsel for the petitioner said.

Recording the submissions, the bench said: “We have taken into consideration the fact that the minor boy has been under the care and custody of the respondent herein right from the date of his birth and his physical custody has never been with the petitioner at all. The boy is now aged three years and nine months. At this age, when he had never lived with the petitioner, it would be in the welfare of the child that his care and custody should be retained by the adoptive parents for the present,” the court said.

Closing the habeas corpus plea, the court directed the district court to dispose of the petition moved by the adoptive parents in six months.

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