Mumbai: In order to assist a one-year-old abandoned Afghani boy to get Indian passport so that he could be put up for adoption, the Bombay High Court has issued notice to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
A division bench of Justices Gautam Patel and Neela Gokhale issued the notice on February 14 while hearing a petition filed by Bhartiya Samaj Seva Kendra, a Pune-based adoption agency, seeking a direction from the MHA to issue an Indian passport to the child.
Child born in India and hence entitled to Indian passport
The bench has also sought assistance of Additional Solicitor General Anil Singh or any advocate from his office to resolve the issue expeditiously.
The adoption agency’s plea contended that Atlas, who is now one-year-old, was surrendered to them by his biological parents – an Afghani couple – on September 9, 2021 when he was just a day old. He was born in India and hence was entitled to an Indian passport.
The agency said that he has not yet been declared “free/fit for adoption” and this process might be “hindered for want of a citizenship document” in Atlas’s name. The adoptive parents from overseas would find it impossible to take the child out of the country unless he or she has a travel document like the passport.
HC keeps matter for hearing on March 1
The justices noted that the Union Home Ministry has said the declaration process was not impeded for want of a passport. “That may be technically correct, but what is presented to us is an issue in anticipation of a future problem. Atlas, even if declared fit for adoption, will find no adoptive parents and will not successfully be adopted without a travel document,” it said.
Saying that the issue is “narrow and in all probability not contentious”, it could be resolved with some cooperation from any advocate from the office of the Additional Solicitor General of India on behalf of the Ministry of Home Affairs, the court said.
The HC has kept the matter for hearing on March 1.
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