Assessing the sentiments of both adoptive mother and biological mother, Punjab and Haryana High Court observed that the natural attachment of a biological mother who has nurtured the child for nine months in her womb, to her child cannot be undermined. The court has allowed the habeas corpus petition of the biological mother and directed that the custody of the child should be immediately given to the petitioner.
Justice Amol Rattan Singh issued the directions after hearing the habeas corpus plea by a woman from Chandigarh seeking custody of her child who is allegedly in the illegal custody of her father-in-law, mother-in-law, and a woman relative of the adoptive mother from the USA.
The petition stated that the woman got married in May 2017 and her husband died in July 2019. She was then harassed by her in laws and was asked to leave the house. Following which she left her in-laws house and went to her maternal home in Chandigarh. She moved leaving her son with her in-laws.
Later she was introduced to the brother and sister of the adoptive mother who lives in the USA. The petitioner was told that the adoption will take place legally and only upon her being satisfied.
She came to know that the adoption was being executed in her absence and she was unaware of the whereabouts of her son. In her petition, she mentioned that she rang up her in-laws who denied to tell her the whereabouts of the child.
She pointed out that they had given him for adoption a woman resident of the USA who was going to take the child to the USA in the last week of January 2020. The petitioner approached Chandigarh police for help in December 2019. Later in January 2020, in-laws had stated that they will return the child to his biological mother on January 13, 2020.
After the child was not handed over to the petitioner even after the mentioned date, woman moved Punjab and Haryana High Court with a habeas corpus petition on January 23, 2020.
Chandigarh police submitted before the High Court that in-laws had given the statement that the woman had given her consent for the adoption. The in-laws also submitted that habeas corpus petition is not maintainable in this case as habeas corpus is a legal remedy to challenge an adoption or adoption deed and in the petitioner was not coerced for the adoption. She voluntarily gave consent to it.
“Any person would understand that respondent no.7 (adoptive mother) would obviously have developed an attachment to the child in the past about nine months that she has had his custody (stated to be since 22.11.2019), which would also reflect from her willingness to transfer her entire savings of Rs 50 lakh to him. However, her sentiments are to be weighed against the sentiments of the petitioner who is the natural mother of the child, who legally would be entitled to his custody in view of what has been held in extenso hereinabove; and who nurtured him for nine months in her womb and thereafter even held him for more than three months, and consequently, her natural attachment to her own borne child, and her sentiments towards him, obviously cannot be undermined, once she is held to be legally entitled to his custody,” the court observed.