Section 58 and 59 provides for two different mechanisms for adoption. As per Section 59(1), if an orphan or abandoned or surrendered child could not be placed with an Indian or non-resident Indian prospective adoptive parents despite the joint effort of the Specialised Adoption Agency and State Agency within sixty days from the date the child has been declared legally free for adoption, such child shall be free for inter-country adoption. Thus, sixty days period has to be elapsed from the date when the child has been declared legally free for adoption. In the present case, child was declared free for adoption on 14.12.2017 by Child Welfare Committee, Patna, Bihar. Before expiry of sixty days, child could not have been offered for adoption to parents, who are 22 eligible for adoption under Section 59. We are, however, not oblivious to the fact that respondent Nos.1 and 2 had been bonafide pursuing their applications for adoption, initially as resident Indians and thereafter even as overseas citizens of India. As per Section 57, both the respondent Nos.1 and 2 are fully eligible and competent to adopt the child. It was under the circumstances as noticed above that the child Shomya was offered to respondent Nos.1 and 2, who rightly communicated their acceptance and communicated with the child and are willing to take child in adoption and to take all care and provide good education to her. We have no doubt in the bonafide or the competence of respondent Nos.1 and 2 in their effort to take the child in adoption, but the statutory procedure and the statutory regime, which is prevalent as on date and is equally applicable to all aspirants, i.e., Indian prospective adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents for inter-country adoption, cannot be lost sight. However, by virtue of Section 59(2), the respondent Nos.1 and 2 can at best may be given priority in inter-country adoption, they being 23 eligible overseas citizens of India and further due to consequences of events and facts as noticed above.


Hon’ble Mr. Justice Ashok Bhushan

REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 2017-2020 OF 2019
(arising out of S.L.P.(C) Nos.1476-1479 of 2019)
UNION OF INDIA & ANR. ETC. …APPELLANTS
Vs.
ANKUR GUPTA & ORS. …RESPONDENTS
J U D G M E N T
ASHOK BHUSHAN, J.
Leave granted.

  1. The contesting respondent Nos. 1 and 2 having
    appeared through caveat, we have heard counsel for
    the parties and proceed to decide the matter finally.
  2. Union of India and Central Adoption and Resources
    Agency, Ministry of Women & Child Development is in
    appeal questioning the Division Bench judgment dated
    04.09.2018 in Writ Appeal No. 2259 of 2018 and Writ
    Appeal No.2675 of 2018. Two other appeals have been
    filed by two other appellants questioning a common
    1
    order dated 04.09.2018 passed by the High Court in
    C.C.C. No. 1690 of 2018 and C.C.C. No. 1691 of 2018.
  3. We first take the Civil Appeal filed against the
    Division Bench judgment in Writ Appeal No.2259 of
    2018 and Writ Appeal No.2675 of 2018. The brief
    facts giving rise to the appeal as has been noted by
    the Division Bench of the High Court are to the
    following effect:-
    4.1 That after completing his studies from the
    Indian Institute of Technology and India
    Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, in the
    year 2000, Mr. Ankur Gupta, the respondent
    No.1 migrated to United State of America (USA
    for short). In 2004, Ms. Geetika Agarwal, the
    respondent No.2 went to USA for her Ph.D.
    During their stay in USA in June, 2006, the
    respondent Nos. 1 and 2 got married. They
    stayed in USA for a decade. They returned to
    India in 2016. While staying in USA, the
    respondent No.2 became an American Citizen;
    the respondent No.1 applied for American
    citizenship. However, till 2016, when the
    2
    couple returned to India, the respondent No.1
    was not given the American Citizenship.
    Moreover, even after ten years of marriage,
    the couple was not blessed with any children.
    Therefore, upon their return to India, they
    eventually planned to adopt an Indian child.
    4.2 The respondent Nos.1 and 2 submitted an
    Application on 19.07.2016 through Central
    Adoption Resource Information and Guidance
    System (CARINGS) to adopt a child as Indian
    Prospective Adoptive Parents. Just before
    submitting the application for adoption
    respondent No.2 had acquired the citizenship
    of USA on 19.05.2016 which had been declared
    as such in application submitted on
    19.07.2016.
    4.3 According to the Guideline, 2015, a Home
    Study Report has to be prepared by a
    Specialized Adoption Agency in order to
    coordinate the efforts of a ‘Prospective
    adoptive parents’ to adopt a child. On
    01.08.2016, Shishu Mandir Agency, a
    3
    registered Specialized Adoption Agency, filed
    its Home Study Report. Thereafter, the
    respondents were in queue awaiting referral
    of a child for adoption. On 05.12.2016,
    during the time they were waiting for
    referral of a child for adoption, the
    respondent No.1 was granted the U.S.
    Citizenship on 05.12.2016.
    4.4 According to the respondents, on the basis of
    the advice received by them, they informed
    CARA, the appellant No.2 about the change in
    citizenship status of respondent No.1.
    Moreover, on 05.11.2017, the couple
    registered themselves as Overseas Citizens of
    India (OCI) residing in India. The said
    registration was made under the Adoption
    Regulations, 2017 (Regulations, 2017, for
    short), which was notified on 4th January 2017
    in supersession of the Guidelines Governing
    Adoption of Children, 2015.
    4
    4.5 Since the respondents had informed the
    Specialised Adoption Agency about the change
    in their citizenship status, the Specialized
    Agency informed the appellant No.2, through
    e-mail dated 05.12.2017, about the change of
    citizenship status of the respondents. The
    Specialised Adoption Agency referred to the
    respondents’ second registration, namely,
    CUSA201771205. On behalf of the respondents,
    the Specialised Adoption Agency requested the
    appellants that the respondent’s seniority
    for adoption of a child should be continued
    on the basis of the first registration.
    4.6 By e-mail dated 06.12.2017, the appellant
    No.2 informed the Specialised Adoption Agency
    that the request for continuing the seniority
    of the couple would be considered with the
    approval of the competent authority. However,
    the eligibility of the couple for adoption
    would be in the category of “OCI living in
    India”.
    5
    4.7 On 01.01.2018, Baby Shomya (born on
    30.09.2017) was referred by the respondent
    No.3 for adoption by the respondent Nos. 1 &
  4. The respondent Nos. 1 & 2 accepted the
    referral on 02.01.2018. The respondent Nos. 1
    & 2 visited Baby Shomya, who was with the
    respondent No.3 at Patna. Therefore, on
    04.01.2018, the respondent Nos.1 & 2 wrote to
    the CEO of the appellant No.2 requesting for
    continual of the reference of Baby Shomya for
    adoption. The respondent Nos.1 & 2, who
    apprehended that the referral of Baby Shomya
    for adoption would expire on 18.01.2018,
    repeatedly corresponded with the appellants
    as a follow-up for completing the adoption of
    Baby Shomya. Again, in the month of March
    2018, the respondent nos. 1 & 2 visited Baby
    Shomya. During this visit, they were informed
    that in a High-Level Committee Meeting on
    27.02.2018, their request for permission to
    continue the first application dated
    19.07.2016, as Indians living in India
    Prospective Adoptive Parents, was declared as
    6
    invalid, because the respondent No.1 had also
    been given US citizenship. They were further
    informed that they will, instead, have to
    wait for a referral of another child as
    ‘Overseas Citizen of India’.
    4.8 Therefore, the respondent Nos. 1 and 2 filed
    writ petition, namely, W.P. Nos. 12427-428 of
    2018, impugning the aforesaid decision, which
    was communicated to them over an e-mail dated
    15.03.2018. The Writ Court allowed the writ
    petitions by order dated 19.06.2018. The writ
    Court quashed the aforesaid decision
    communicated vide the e-mail dated
    15.03.2018. Further, the High Court directed
    the appellants to consider and examine the
    request of the respondent Nos.1 & 2 on the
    basis of their first application dated
    19.07.2016 expeditiously, but within 15 days
    from the date of receipt of this order.
    4.9 The learned Single Judge vide its judgment
    and order dated 19.06.2018 allowed the writ
    petitions by passing following order:-
    7
    “ORDER
    (1) Writ petitions are hereby
    allowed.
    (2) Communication dated 15.03.2018-
    Annexure-Z is hereby quashed.
    (3) Writ of mandamus is issued to
    respondents to consider and
    examine the application submitted
    by petitioners on the strength
    and basis of the application
    dated 19.07.2016 – AnnexureA/Annexure-R-2 expeditiously, at
    any rate, within 15 days from the
    date of receipt of this order, by
    keeping in mind the observations
    made herein above. “
    4.10 Union of India and Central Adoption Resources
    Agency, Ministry of Women & Child Development
    filed Writ Appeal No. 2259 of 2018 and Writ
    Appeal No. 2675 of 2018 against the judgment.
    Two Contempt Applications being C.C.C. Nos.
    1690-1691 of 2018 were also filed by
    respondent Nos. 1 and 2, which were also
    considered and decided by Division Bench of
    High Court vide its judgment dated
    04.09.2018. The Division Bench of the High
    Court vide its judgment dated 04.09.2018
    dismissed the writ appeals. The Division
    Bench affirmed the order of the learned
    8
    Single Judge. While dismissing the writ
    appeals, the contempt petitions were also
    closed. It is useful to extract paragraph
    Nos. 30 and 31 of the judgment, which is
    relevant for the present case:-
    “30. For the aforesaid reasons,
    this Court is of the considered
    opinion that the Writ Court has
    rightly concluded that the
    appellants were not justified in
    denying the benefit of referral of
    the child, Baby Shomya, for
    adoption by the respondent Nos.1
    and 2, and that no grounds are made
    out for interference with the
    exercise of extraordinary
    jurisdiction by the Writ Court
    under Article 226 of the
    Constitution of India in the
    peculiar facts and circumstances
    that congeal into exceptional
    circumstances. Therefore, the Writ
    appeal is rejected and
    consequentially, the pending
    applications are also disposed of.
    The appellants are directed to
    implement the directions of the
    Writ Court within a period of four
    weeks from the date of receipt of
    the certified copy of this order.
  5. In view of the dismissal of
    the writ appeal, and the further
    direction to the appellants to
    implement the directions of the
    Writ Court within the further
    period as stated above, the
    contempt proceeding is closed.”
    9
    4.11 The appellants aggrieved by the said judgment
    have filed these appeals.
  6. Shri Aman Lekhi, learned ASG appearing for the
    appellants submits that High Court, both learned
    Single Judge and Division Bench erred in not
    correctly construing the provisions of Sections 57,
    58 and 59 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and
    Protection of Children) Act, 2015 as well as the
    Adoption Regulations, 2017. It is submitted that the
    respondent No.1 after submitting first application on
    19.07.2016 for in country adoption having acquired US
    citizenship on 06.12.2016 went outside the zone of in
    country adoption. It is submitted that the second
    application was submitted by the respondents on
    05.11.2017 for inter country adoption but in that
    second application, the respondents have given their
    different identity and mobile numbers. It is
    submitted that the respondent having gone out of zone
    of consideration for in country adoption, their
    application cannot be directed to be considered on
    the basis of seniority for in country adoption. It
    is submitted that there are more than 22,000 parents
    waiting, according to seniority, for in country
    10
    adoption, respondents cannot stroll march over them.
    It is submitted that offer to adopt Shomya, which was
    sent on 01.01.2018 was on the basis of first
    application of the respondents and after the
    respondents informed in writing on 04.01.2018 about
    their second registration dated 05.11.2017, the
    communication was sent to the respondents that
    decision regarding their seniority will be taken by
    the competent authority. The communication was sent
    on 15.03.2018 to the respondents that they cannot be
    given the benefit of their seniority on the basis of
    their first application and they have to wait for
    receiving an offer as overseas citizen of India. It
    is submitted that there were no special circumstances
    on the basis of which any exception can be made in
    favour of the respondents as has been directed by the
    High Court.
  7. Learned counsel appearing for the respondents
    submits that the Act, 2015 and the Regulations, 2017
    do not provide for any mechanism when Indian parents,
    who have already got themselves registered for
    adoption acquires the foreign citizenship. It is
    submitted that as per Regulation 41 of the
    11
    Regulations, 2017, a common seniority list is
    contemplated, which means that respondents shall
    retain their seniority position on the basis of first
    application. Thus, offer to adopt Shomya to the
    respondents cannot be faulted. It is submitted that
    respondent Nos.1 and 2 being fully competent for
    applying for adoption, who are still qualified and
    economically stable and eager to adopt the child
    cannot be denied their right merely because the
    respondent No.1 was conferred the US citizenship on
    06.12.2016, i.e., much after submission of their
    first application as Indian parent.
  8. It is submitted that even though respondent Nos.1
    and 2 have been conferred US citizenship, both are
    residing in Bangalore, India and in both the
    applications, their residence is shown as India,
    hence in peculiar circumstances, they have rightly
    been offered child Shomya for adoption. It is
    submitted that the respondent Nos. 1 and 2 bonafide
    has not concealed any information and has bonafide
    submitted their application on 05.11.2017 as Overseas
    Citizen of India and the fact that immediately when
    they received offer for adoption of Shomya on
    12
    02.01.2018, on 04.01.2018, they sent an e-mail giving
    details of both the applications. The respondents
    have been bonafide pursuing their claim for adoption,
    they having not been blessed with a child even though
    after happy marital life of more than ten years. It
    is submitted that the High Court has rightly held
    that present case can be considered as an exceptional
    case and without making it a precedent, the adoption
    in favour of the respondents be allowed to maintain.
  9. We have considered the submissions of the learned
    counsel for the parties and have perused the records.
  10. The 2015 Act, Chapter VIII deals with adoption.
    Section 56 sub-section (1) provides that adoption
    shall be resorted to for ensuring right to family for
    the orphan, abandoned and surrendered children, as
    per the provisions of the Act, the rules made
    thereunder and the adoption regulations framed by the
    authority. Section 57 deals with eligibility of
    prospective adoptive parents, which is as follows:-
  11. Eligibility of prospective adoptive
    parents.–(1) The prospective adoptive
    parents shall be physically fit,
    financially sound, mentally alert and
    highly motivated to adopt a child for
    providing a good upbringing to him.
    13
    (2) In case of a couple, the consent of
    both the spouses for the adoption shall be
    required.
    (3) A single or divorced person can also
    adopt, subject to fulfilment of the
    criteria and in accordance with the
    provisions of adoption regulations framed
    by the Authority.
    (4) A single male is not eligible to adopt
    a girl child.
    (5) Any other criteria that may be
    specified in the adoption regulations
    framed by the Authority
  12. Section 58 deals with procedure for adoption by
    Indian prospective adoptive parents living in India,
    which is to the following effect:-
  13. Procedure for adoption by Indian
    prospective adoptive parents living in
    India.–(1) Indian prospective adoptive
    parents living in India, irrespective of
    their religion, if interested to adopt an
    orphan or abandoned or surrendered child,
    may apply for the same to a Specialised
    Adoption Agency, in the manner as provided
    in the adoption regulations framed by the
    Authority.
    (2) The Specialised Adoption Agency shall
    prepare the home study report of the
    prospective adoptive parents and upon
    finding them eligible, will refer a child
    declared legally free for adoption to them
    along with the child study report and
    medical report of the child, in the manner
    as provided in the adoption regulations
    framed by the Authority.
    14
    (3) On the receipt of the acceptance of the
    child from the prospective adoptive parents
    along with the child study report and
    medical report of the child signed by such
    parents, the Specialised Adoption Agency
    shall give the child in pre-adoption foster
    care and file an application in the court
    for obtaining the adoption order, in the
    manner as provided in the adoption
    regulations framed by the Authority.
    (4) On the receipt of a certified copy of
    the court order, the Specialised Adoption
    Agency shall send immediately the same to
    the prospective adoptive parents.
    (5) The progress and well-being of the
    child in the adoptive family shall be
    followed up and ascertained in the manner
    as provided in the adoption regulations
    framed by the Authority.
  14. The next provision, which needs to be noticed is
    Section 59, which provides for procedure for intercountry adoption of an orphan or abandoned or
    surrendered child, which is as follows:-
  15. Procedure for inter-country adoption
    of an orphan or abandoned or surrendered
    child.–(1) If an orphan or abandoned or
    surrendered child could not be placed with
    an Indian or non-resident Indian
    prospective adoptive parent despite the
    joint effort of the Specialised Adoption
    Agency and State Agency within sixty days
    from the date the child has been declared
    legally free for adoption, such child shall
    be free for inter-country adoption:
    Provided that children with physical and
    mental disability, siblings and children
    above five years of age may be given
    15
    preference over other children for such
    inter-country adoption, in accordance with
    the adoption regulations, as may be framed
    by the Authority.
    (2) An eligible non-resident Indian or
    overseas citizen of India or persons of
    Indian origin shall be given priority in
    inter-country adoption of Indian children.
    (3) A non-resident Indian or overseas
    citizen of India, or person of Indian
    origin or a foreigner, who are prospective
    adoptive parents living abroad,
    irrespective of their religion, if
    interested to adopt an orphan or abandoned
    or surrendered child from India, may apply
    for the same to an authorised foreign
    adoption agency, or Central Authority or a
    concerned Government department in their
    country of habitual residence, as the case
    may be, in the manner as provided in the
    adoption regulations framed by the
    Authority.
    (4) The authorised foreign adoption agency,
    or Central Authority, or a concerned
    Government department, as the case may be,
    shall prepare the home study report of such
    prospective adoptive parents and upon
    finding them eligible, will sponsor their
    application to Authority for adoption of a
    child from India, in the manner as provided
    in the adoption regulations framed by the
    Authority.
    (5) On the receipt of the application of
    such prospective adoptive parents, the
    Authority shall examine and if it finds the
    applicants suitable, then, it will refer
    the application to one of the Specialised
    Adoption Agencies, where children legally
    free for adoption are available.
    16
    (6) The Specialised Adoption Agency will
    match a child with such prospective
    adoptive parents and send the child study
    report and medical report of the child to
    such parents, who in turn may accept the
    child and return the child study and
    medical report duly signed by them to the
    said agency.
    (7) On receipt of the acceptance of the
    child from the prospective adoptive
    parents, the Specialised Adoption Agency
    shall file an application in the court for
    obtaining the adoption order, in the manner
    as provided in the adoption regulations
    framed by the Authority.
    (8) On the receipt of a certified copy of
    the court order, the specialised adoption
    agency shall send immediately the same to
    Authority, State Agency and to the
    prospective adoptive parents, and obtain a
    passport for the child.
    (9) The Authority shall intimate about the
    adoption to the immigration authorities of
    India and the receiving country of the
    child.
    (10) The prospective adoptive parents shall
    receive the child in person from the
    specialised adoption agency as soon as the
    passport and visa are issued to the child.
    (11) The authorised foreign adoption
    agency, or Central Authority, or the
    concerned Government department, as the
    case may be, shall ensure the submission of
    progress reports about the child in the
    adoptive family and will be responsible for
    making alternative arrangement in the case
    of any disruption, in consultation with
    Authority and concerned Indian diplomatic
    mission, in the manner as provided in the
    17
    adoption regulations framed by the
    Authority.
    (12) A foreigner or a person of Indian
    origin or an overseas citizen of India, who
    has habitual residence in India, if
    interested to adopt a child from India, may
    apply to Authority for the same along with
    a no objection certificate from the
    diplomatic mission of his country in India,
    for further necessary actions as provided
    in the adoption regulations framed by the
    Authority
  16. The respondent Nos.1 and 2 submitted their
    application as prospective adoptive parents living in
    India. Although, on the date of submission of
    application, respondent No.2 was already a US
    citizen, the respondent No.1 being Indian citizen,
    the application was fully maintainable as per the
    provisions of Regulations and as per the guidelines
    applicable at the relevant time as Indian prospective
    adoptive parents. Even Regulation 21(1) of
    Regulations, 2017 provides that if one of the
    prospective adoptive parents is foreigner and other
    is an Indian, such case shall be treated at par with
    Indians living in India. After the respondent No.1
    acquired the US citizenship on 06.12.2016 and OCI
    card was issued to respondent No.1 on 27.04.2017,
    18
    second application was submitted on 05.11.2017 by the
    respondents for inter-country adoption both having
    become US citizens. In view of the fact that both
    had become US citizens by 06.12.2016, they were not
    eligible for adoption as Indian prospective adoptive
    parents living in India. Mere fact that Act or
    Regulations does not provide for any mechanism to
    upload any further information in first registration
    cannot alter the legal position and consequences of
    acquiring the foreign citizenship by an Indian. The
    consequences of obtaining US citizenship of
    respondent Nos.1 and 2 shall take its effect
    immediately.
  17. The submission of learned counsel for the
    respondents that Regulation 41 deals with common
    seniority list also need to be noted. Regulation 41
    of the Regulations, 2017 is as follows:-
  18. Seniority of the prospective adoptive
    parents.- (1) The prospective adoptive
    parents shall be referred children on the
    basis of a single seniority list, which
    shall be maintained from the date of
    registration and other criteria as
    stipulated under these regulations.
    (2) The seniority of resident Indians shall
    be based on the date of online registration
    and submission of the documents, except for
    19
    Home Study Report, in Child Adoption
    Resource Information and Guidance System.
    (3) The seniority of Non Resident Indian or
    Overseas Citizen of India or foreign
    prospective adoptive parents shall be based
    on the date of online registration and
    submission of the requisite documents
    alongwith Home Study Report in Child
    Adoption Resource Information and Guidance
    System.
    (4) Prospective adoptive parents shall be
    allowed to change the State preference once
    within sixty days from the date of
    registration and in case they change the
    State preference after sixty days from the
    date of registration, they shall be placed
    at the bottom of the seniority list in the
    changed State.
    (5) Seniority of prospective adoptive
    parents registered as single, but married
    later shall be counted from the date of
    registration as single after receipt of
    fresh Home Study Report.
    (6) Prospective adoptive parents registered
    for normal child, shall be able to adopt a
    special need child or hard to place child
    with the same registration.
  19. It is also submitted that prior to Regulations,
    2017, there were two separate seniority lists, which
    were maintained under the Guidelines, 2015, which has
    been now made a single seniority list. Even if there
    is a single seniority list, now contemplated by
    Regulation 41, a placement in the seniority list with
    20
    regard to resident Indian and non-resident Indian or
    overseas citizen of India are based on different
    yardsticks as provided in Regulations 41(2) and
    41(3). Even if the common seniority list has to be
    utilised for the purpose of in country adoption and
    inter-country adoption as per the respective
    categories, the difference between in country
    adoption and inter-country adoption cannot be lost
    sight or given a go bye by the mere fact that a
    common seniority list is maintained. It is true that
    Regulation 41 or any other Regulation does not
    contemplate a situation when a resident Indian after
    acquiring the foreign citizenship submits a fresh
    registration, what is the consequence and value of
    its first registration. Even though regulations are
    silent and do not provide for any mechanism or any
    answer to such fact situation, the natural
    consequences of acquiring foreign citizenship shall
    follow. We, thus, find force in the submission of
    the learned ASG that the right of respondent Nos. 1
    and 2 for adoption as resident Indian is lost after
    respondent No.1 having acquired the US citizenship on
    06.12.2016. Offer of the child to the respondent
    21
    Nos. 1 and 2 was based on their first application
    dated 19.07.2016, in which if the clause of foreign
    citizenship is ignored, was in accordance with the
    Act and the Rules. Further, whether the factum of
    respondent No.1 acquiring US citizenship on
    06.12.2016 should be ignored for the purposes of
    adoption or not is the question, which is required to
    be addressed and answered in these appeals.
  20. Section 58 and 59 provides for two different
    mechanisms for adoption. As per Section 59(1), if an
    orphan or abandoned or surrendered child could not be
    placed with an Indian or non-resident Indian
    prospective adoptive parents despite the joint effort
    of the Specialised Adoption Agency and State Agency
    within sixty days from the date the child has been
    declared legally free for adoption, such child shall
    be free for inter-country adoption. Thus, sixty days
    period has to be elapsed from the date when the child
    has been declared legally free for adoption. In the
    present case, child was declared free for adoption on
    14.12.2017 by Child Welfare Committee, Patna, Bihar.
    Before expiry of sixty days, child could not have
    been offered for adoption to parents, who are
    22
    eligible for adoption under Section 59. We are,
    however, not oblivious to the fact that respondent
    Nos.1 and 2 had been bonafide pursuing their
    applications for adoption, initially as resident
    Indians and thereafter even as overseas citizens of
    India. As per Section 57, both the respondent Nos.1
    and 2 are fully eligible and competent to adopt the
    child. It was under the circumstances as noticed
    above that the child Shomya was offered to respondent
    Nos.1 and 2, who rightly communicated their
    acceptance and communicated with the child and are
    willing to take child in adoption and to take all
    care and provide good education to her. We have no
    doubt in the bonafide or the competence of respondent
    Nos.1 and 2 in their effort to take the child in
    adoption, but the statutory procedure and the
    statutory regime, which is prevalent as on date and
    is equally applicable to all aspirants, i.e., Indian
    prospective adoptive parents and prospective adoptive
    parents for inter-country adoption, cannot be lost
    sight. However, by virtue of Section 59(2), the
    respondent Nos.1 and 2 can at best may be given
    priority in inter-country adoption, they being
    23
    eligible overseas citizens of India and further due
    to consequences of events and facts as noticed above.
  21. In view of the foregoing discussions, we are of
    the view that ends of justice be served in disposing
    the Civil Appeals arising out of SLP (C) Nos. 1476-
    1477 of 2019 in following manner:
    (i) The decision dated 27.02.2018 as
    communicated to the respondent Nos. 1 and 2
    by e-mail dated 15.03.2018 is upheld.
    (ii) Judgments of learned Single Judge as well
    as of Division Bench in so far as it
    directs to consider and examine the
    application of respondent Nos. 1 and 2 on
    the basis of first registration dated
    19.07.2016 are set aside.
    (iii) The competent authority shall again notify
    the child Shomya legally free for adoption,
    which notification shall be issued within
    one week from today.
    (iv) That in event, within sixty days from the
    date the child(Shomya) is declared as
    legally free for adoption is not taken by
    or adopted by Indian prospective adoptive
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    parents, the child Shomya shall be given in
    adoption to the respondent Nos.1 and 2 in
    inter-country adoption. All consequential
    steps thereafter shall be completed.
  22. Now, coming to Civil Appeals arising out of SLP
    (C) Nos. 1478-1479, these appeals have been filed
    against the order dated 04.09.2018 passed in C.C.C.
    Nos. 1690-1691 of 2018, the contempt proceedings
    having been closed by the Division Bench by its
    impugned judgment dated 04.09.2018, nothing more is
    required to be said in that regard. We, however,
    observe that filing of the contempt applications in
    the fact situation of the present case was illadvised. Both the contempt applications deserve to
    be rejected. The appeals are allowed and contempt
    applications stand rejected. Parties shall bear
    their own costs.
    ………………….J.
    ( ASHOK BHUSHAN )
    ………………….J.
    ( K.M. JOSEPH )
    New Delhi,
    February 25, 2019.
    25