In News: New adoption rules create confusion over implementation as they require transfer of adoption papers from courts to District Magistrates.
- The parliament passed the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill 2021 and it came into effect on September 1 2021.
- The objective was to prevent court-related delays during adoptions because of a large no. of pending cases by transfer of adoption papers from courts to District Magistrates. This was to ensure speedy disposal of cases and enhance accountability.
Adoption and its Procedures
- Adoption means the process through which the adopted child is permanently separated from his biological parents and becomes the lawful child of the adoptive parents with all the rights, privileges. and responsibilities that are attached to a biological child.
- A child can be adopted if
- an orphan, abandoned or surrendered (OAS) child has been declared legally free for adoption as per the provisions of the JJ (C&PC) Act 2015
- a child of a relative (a relative means the child’s paternal uncle or aunt, a maternal uncle or aunt or paternal and maternal grandparents)
- a child or children of spouse from earlier marriage surrendered by the biological parent(s) for adoption by the step-parent
- Adoptions in India are governed by two laws: The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 (HAMA) and the Juvenile Justice Act 2015 (JJA). Both laws have separate eligibility criteria for adoptive parents
- Those applying under JJA, have to registers for adoption by filing application on Central Adoption Resources Authority (CARA) portal > An assessment through home study report is done > The parent(s) is then referred a child and subsequently allowed to take a child in pre- adoption foster care > Formal adoption order from the court gives a legal status to the adoption.
- Under HAMA, a “dattaka hom” ceremony or an adoption deed or court order is sufficient to obtain irrevocable adoption rights.
- Lack of awareness among the parents, the judges and the DMs regarding the process creating confusion and delay. Delay in the transfer process to be amplified due to requirement of a fresh petition.
- Such a delay in the above-mentioned process implies problems in school admissions due to absence of birth certificate of the child or inability to claim health insurance, etc.
- There are no rules for monitoring adoptions and verifying sourcing of children and determining whether parents are fit to adopt, under HAMA.
- Under CARA, there are only 2188 children in its registry while there are more than 31,000 prospective parents. This leads to long wait which further allows human traffickers to take advantage of loopholes – this issue was further verified by a Parliamentary Panel “Review of Guardianship and Adoption Laws”
- The question of whether an order passed by DM will pass muster when an adopted child’s entitlements on succession & inheritance are contested before a court
- Nearly 3500 adoptions are completed every year while 1000 pending cases in limbo across the country
- It is a specialised adoption agency and a statutory body of the Ministry of Women & Child Development.
- It functions as the nodal body for adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.
- CARA is designated as the Central Authority to deal with inter-country adoptions in accordance with the provisions of the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, 1993, ratified by Government of India in 2003.
- CARA primarily deals with adoption of orphan, abandoned and surrendered children through its associated /recognised adoption agencies.
Parliamentary Panel “Review of Guardianship and Adoption Laws”
- In India, there are only 2,430 children available for adoption while the number of parents desiring to bring home a child is growing rapidly.
- There were 27,939 prospective parents registered with the Child Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) as of December 2021, up from nearly 18,000 in 2017.
- The waiting time for adoption has increased to three years from one year in the past five years.
Must Read: Review of Guardianship and Adoption Laws
Source: The Hindu