New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday invoked its extraordinary power under Article 142 to allow the adoption of a child after the delivery of a 20-year-old student who was carrying a 29-week unwanted pregnancy.
A bench headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and comprising justices P.S. Narasimha and J.B. Pardiwala noted that Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Aishwarya Bhati and Dr Amit Mishra, who have interacted with the petitioner, state that the petitioner does not wish to retain the child with her after delivery.
The bench said: “In the circumstances, having regard to the late stage of the pregnancy, it has been considered in the best interest of the mother and the fetus that the child, upon delivery, may be given in adoption.
The request for adoption has been suggested by the petitioner since she would not be in a position to care for the child.” Bhati informed the court that she had also interacted with the sister of the petitioner to explore whether she would be willing to take the child for adoption.
However, the sister expressed her inability to do so for a variety of reasons, noted the bench. Solicitor General Tushar Mehta and Bhati apprised the court that an effort has been made to facilitate the process of adoption of the child after delivery, by prospective parents who are registered with the Child Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) under the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development.
The court was apprised of the fact that two prospective parents who have been registered with a parent registration number under CARA are ready and willing to adopt the child.
After considering the circumstances, the bench said: “We request the director, AIIMS, to ensure that all necessary facilities are made available without the payment of fees, charges or expenses of any nature so that the delivery can take place in a safe environment at AIIMS.
The privacy of the petitioner shall be maintained and all steps shall be taken to ensure that the identity of the petitioner is not divulged in the course of the hospitalisation at AIIMS.”
It further added that permission is granted for the adoption of the child by the prospective parents whose details have been set out in the CARA registration form and CARA shall take all necessary steps to facilitate the implementation of this order.
Disposing of the petition filed by a student, the bench said: “We are adopting the present course of action consistent with the jurisdiction of this court under Article 142 of the Constitution having regard to the extraordinary situation which has emerged before the court involving a young woman in distress, who moved this court at a late stage of her pregnancy.”
The court was informed that the petitioner has agreed to go ahead with her delivery though she has a desire to do so at an early date.
“In this context, we would request the All India Institute of Medical Sciences to take all necessary precautions in the interest of the safety and health of the mother and the fetus so that a suitable date for delivery can be fixed bearing in mind the expert medical advice at AIIMS,” noted the bench, in its order.
The petitioner had moved the apex court through advocate-on-record Rahul Sharma seeking abortion of her unwanted pregnancy.