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PETALING JAYA: K. Kanagavalli has every right to take back her eight-month-old baby if she had not signed any adoption papers, legal experts said.

They said the Welfare Department must also ensure the safety of the baby.

Family law practitioner Honey Tan said Kanagavalli could take back her son “without any issue” if the boy had not already been legally adopted.

According to the Registration of Adoptions Act 1952, it takes a minimum of two years of caring for a child before one can apply to register the adoption.

“Because the child is less than a year old, the other party cannot adopt yet regardless of any agreement.

“Consent must also be given by both parents in writing,” said Tan.

It was reported that Kanagavalli of Malim Mawar, Perak, had “pawned” her son with one Norhidayu Badrol and her husband in return for a RM3,500 loan.

Dr Hartini Zainudin, founder of Pusat Jagaan Nur Salam and a child rights activist, urged the authorities to check if indeed the adoption papers were legal, adding that the National Registration Department (NRD) should be involved.

“It takes two years but if there’s no lawyer, no papers and it’s all hearsay, the mother has every right to take her son back,” she said.

“The best interest of the child is always with the biological mother, but the Welfare Department must definitely monitor the goings-on and make recommendations to the NRD if necessary.”

Kanagavalli, who said she needed the money to settle her husband’s 15 traffic summonses, denied that she had put her baby up for adoption in May. Her husband is an express bus driver.

However, Norhidayu’s husband claimed on Saturday that the baby was put up for adoption and he and his wife had adopted him because he was in a state of neglect.

Published: Saturday July 19, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Saturday July 19, 2014 MYT 7:37:40 AM