When it comes to adoption, religion no bar: Supreme Court

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When it comes to adoption, religion no bar: Supreme Court

Civil rights activist Shabnam Hashmi (left) had, for the past 8 years, waged a dogged battle in the top court to be legally recognised as the parent of her adopted daughter

New Delhi:  The Supreme Court, in a landmark judgement that is certain to resurrect the debate on the adoption of the uniform civil code, has ruled that the Muslim personal law will not come in the way of a community-member's right to adopt a child.

"Persons of any faith can adopt a child under the Juvenile justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act. The Act will prevail till uniform civil code is achieved, and the Muslim personal law will not stand in the way of such adoption," a bench led by Chief Justice P Sathasivam observed yesterday in its judgement on a petition filed by civil rights activist Shabnam Hashmi.

Mrs Hashmi had, for the past 8 years, waged a dogged battle in the top court to be legally recognised as the parent of her adopted daughter, Seher Hashmi Raza. The human rights activist took Ms Raza under her custody way back in 1996, when she was just one year old. She had been abandoned by her biological parents at an adoption home in the capital.

"This means that my daughter finally has legal rights... uptil now, she was called my ward... and I was her guardian... this is a very emotional moment for us," Mrs Hashmi told NDTV after the Supreme Court judgement.

The adoption laws prevailing before the pathbreaking judgement allowed only Hindus, Sikhs and Jains planning to adopt a child to be legally recognised as a parent. Parents of other faiths were accorded that status of a guardian and their adopted children were described as wards.

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