In News: Concerned over the declining number of children for adoption in the country, a Parliamentary panel has expressed apprehension that this may point to an illegal child adoption market and trafficking.
- In its 118th Report on Review of Guardianship and Adoption Laws, submitted to Parliament Parliamentary Standing Committee on personnel, public grievances, law and justice has noted “the paradoxical situation where on one hand there are a large number of parents willing to adopt a child, (and) on the other, there are not many children available for adoption”.
- The committee, noted that according to adoption statistics of Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), the number of children adopted within the country declined from 5,693 in 2010 to 3142 in 2020-21.
- The number of children taken in inter-country adoption decreased from 628 in 2010 to 417 in 2020-21.
- This, the committee reported, “is a cause of grave concern’’.
- There is decline in the number of children coming to adoption agencies over the years
- This decline, by and large, points to trafficking or a thriving illegal child adoption market.
- The committee is of the view that there is a need to increase surveillance, especially on unregistered child care institutions and adoption agencies/hospitals with a past record of trafficking.
- The committee takes note of the paradoxical situation where on one hand there are a large number of parents willing to adopt a child, on the other, there are not many children available for adoption, all this while the 2020 World Orphan Report estimates the number of orphans in India at 31 million.
- In the given situation, the committee recommended that a true picture of the number of children who are orphaned/abandoned be ascertained through a district-level survey. This data should be updated regularly.
- There is a need to simplify the procedure further, besides bringing down the time required for placing a child in adoption to less than six months. The committee is of the view that a longer wait period often forces parents willing to adopt a child to resort to illegal adoption.
Laws governing adoption in India
- In India, the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is the statutory body of the Women and Child Development ministry, which functions as the nodal agency for adoption, and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.
- The adoption of orphaned, abandoned and surrendered children are all regulated by CARA through its associated or recognised adoption agencies.
Three laws govern adoption in the country:
- The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956, which applies to Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs.
- Under this act, the adoption is irrevocable and it gives full status to the child as a natural child born to the family, it also gives the right to inherit the property.
- The Guardian and Wards Act of 1890, which applies to Muslim, Parsi, Christian and Jews in adoption.
- Under the GAWA, the relationship which is established after an adoption is only of guardian and ward respectively. Adoption under GAWA does not confer the status of the child on the adopted child; it is different from the HAMA.
- The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act of 2015.
- It replaced the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.
- It applies to all Indian Citizen.
- It allows the adoption of two children of the same sex.
- It confers the status of parents & child and not guardian and ward. It also confers rights available to the child on the adopted child.
- In particular, it provides a comprehensive process for domestic and inter-country adoption of orphan, abandoned and surrendered children.
- In addition, the UNCRC (United Nations Convention on the Rights of Child) was ratified by India in 1992 and the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, 1993, was ratified by the Government of India in 2003.
Source: Indian Express