HC aids Swiss woman’s roots search
MUMBAI: In a relief to an adoptee from India who lives in Switzerland, the Bombay high court on Wednesday allowed her to search for her Indian roots via a power of attorney (PoA) holder.
Though the Maharashtra department of women and child development had objected to the search through a third party, the high court recognised the hurdles the distance and her current location placed on her search and observed that her constituted attorney cannot, under such circumstances, be considered a third party.
Beena Makhijani Muller was born on March 31, 1978, in India. She was adopted the same year and is currently in Albisstr, Switzerland. Her petition said she was adopted by V K Makhijani from Asha Sadan, an adoption agency in Mumbai, and later taken to Switzerland.
In 2013, she decided to search for her roots – her biological parents – and approached the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), which in turn wrote to the state adoption resource authority (SARA). In May 2015, she hit a roadblock after she appointed Anjali Pawar as PoA for the search.
In court, too, appearing for the state, assistant government pleader Pravin Sawant cited Rule 44 of the Adoption Regulations 2017 to argue that a PoA is a third party to whom details of an adoptee’s roots can’t be given. He said details could only be given to the beneficiary.
Muller’s petition pointed to a landmark SC order of 1984 that recognised an adoptee’s right to know about her/his roots on turning adult. The HC asked the state authorities to assist the PoA in the search. It argued that her PoA is a Pune resident who has been working for child protection, women and other social issues since 1998.
Pawar, the plea said, has worked on inter-country adoption issues since 2006 and helped adoptees, who have been searching for their biological parents. Muller said she couldn’t stay in India longer and hence requested her constituted attorney to work on her root search case as it was an adoptee’s fundamental right to know their original identity.