The Bombay High Court recently held that an adopted child is entitled to take the caste of the single mother [Sonal Pratapsingh Vahanwala v. Deputy District Collector (Encroachment) & Ors.].
A Bench of Justices Sunil B Shukre and GA Sanap held that the district caste authorities completely missed the vital aspect that the petitioner had adopted her son from an orphanage after requisite orders from the Court, and his birth records reflected the same.
“In view of the facts and more particularly the fact that child was adopted from the orphanage with the permission of the Court, the child would be entitled to take the caste of the mother,” the Bench held.
The Court, therefore, directed the Deputy District Collector to issue a caste certificate to a petitioner’s adopted son within two weeks.
“Very purpose of adopting child by the petitioner being a single mother would stand frustrated. In our opinion, such a situation could not be envisaged by law,” the Bench observed.
The petitioner had applied for issuance of caste certificate to her son with the Deputy District Collector, which came to be rejected.
The authority stated that the caste documents of her son’s father were not submitted and, therefore, the petitioner was not be entitled to get a caste certificate.
Aggrieved by the order, the petitioner filed an appeal with the District Caste Certificate Scrutiny Committee that confirmed the Collector’s order.
The petitioner then moved the High Court. She pointed out that since her son was adopted from an orphanage there was no question of details of his biological parents since even the orphanage was not aware of the same.
The Collector filed a response stating that a Government Resolution of 2001 requires to place on record the permanent residential proof of the father or grandfather or great-grandfather of the boy, which had not been complied with in the present case.
For this reason, the application came to be rejected, the collector contended.
The Bench noted that the child had been adopted under the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act.
Under the Act, on adoption, the child became a member of the family of the adoptive parents in all respect and such a child would also take the caste of the adoptive parents.
The Bench opined that refusing caste certificate because no paternal records of the child were submitted would lead to disastrous effects.
“One of the effects would be that the child would not get identity of mother and particularly caste of the mother. He would be without identity throughout his life,” the Court said.
With this opinion, the High Court held that the government resolution was not applicable in the present case.
It thus directed the Collector to issue a caste certificate to the petitioner’s adopted son within two weeks.
Advocate Pradeep Havnur appeared for the petitioner.
Additional Government Pleader SS Bhende appeared for the State.
Read Order here: