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DAILY NEWS ANALYSIS

  • 09 June, 2021

  • 13 Min Read

Illegal adoption in COVID

What is the issue?

  • The Supreme Court has directed the States and the Union Territories to take stringent action against private individuals and NGOs who invite people to illegally adopt children orphaned by the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • A Bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Aniruddha Bose, in an 18-page order published, directed the government to step in and prevent private entities from revealing the identities of affected children, usually on social media, and inviting people to adopt them.
  • The State Governments/Union Territories are directed to prevent any NGO from collecting funds in the names of the affected children by disclosing their identity and inviting interested persons to adopt them. No adoption of affected children should be permitted contrary to the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015.
  • It was illegal to invite strangers to adopt children, already traumatised by their personal losses, without the involvement of the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), a statutory body under the Women and Child Development Ministry.
  • Invitation to persons for adoption of orphans is contrary to law as no adoption of a child can be permitted without the involvement of CARA.

Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA)

  • CARA is a statutory body of the Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India.
  • 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 the Government of India in 2003.
  • CARA primarily deals with the adoption of orphan, abandoned, and surrendered children through its associated /recognized adoption agencies.
  • CARA interacts with State Governments and UT Administrations through regular training and orientation programmes as well as meetings, consultations and visits to the States/UTs.
  • The implementation of the adoption programme in the States/UTs is reviewed in various consultations organized by the Ministry as well as meetings of the Project Approval Board to consider proposals received from States/UTs for release of grants under the Integrated Child Protection Scheme.
  • In 2018, CARA allowed individuals in a live-in relationship to adopt children from and within India.

Hague Convention on Adoption

  • The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption is an international convention dealing with international adoption, child laundering, and child trafficking.
  • The Convention was developed by the Hague Conference on Private International Law, the preeminent organization in the area of private international law.
  • It was concluded on 29 May 1993 and entered into force on 1 May 1995.
  • It is an effort to protect those involved from the corruption, abuses, and exploitation which sometimes accompanies international adoption.
  • The Convention has been considered crucial because it provides a formal international and intergovernmental recognition of intercountry adoption to ensure that adoptions under the Convention will generally be recognized and given effect in other party countries.
  • 96 countries including India has signed and ratified this convention. Whereas Nepal, South Korea, and Russia are yet to ratify it.

  • The order came after the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), on Monday, raised the alarm on a spate of complaints about illegal adoption of COVID-19 orphans through private individual and organisations.
  • NCPCR statistics show that 3,621 children were orphaned, 26,176 children lost either parent and 274 abandoned between April 1, 2021 to June 5, 2021. The court is hearing a suo motu case on the plight of children impacted by the pandemic.

National Commission for protection of Child Rights, 2005

  1. It is a Statutory Body. NCPCR has given the definition of child to be less than 18 years.
  2. NCPCR can take up suo-motu cases.
  3. Mandate: To ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights given in Constitution and UN Convention on Rights of Child.
  4. NCPCR had asked to form special cells in schools to solve problems of children. The cell will examine the mental & physical torture against children. Complainsts regarding sexual harassment, mental harassment, favouritism etc. should be informed to the Taluk/District Legal Services Authority within 48 hours.
  5. It is the nodal body for Right to Education and Child abuse.

Main Recommendations of NCPCR:

  1. Seminars should be conducted for teachers to improve their teaching styles.
  2. The dignity of a student should be accepted by everyone.
  3. Drug addiction, copying, violence etc. should be curtailed.
  4. State Commissions of Protection of Child Rights should be established.

Child trafficking

  • Advocate Gaurav Agrawal, amicus curiae, said cases of child trafficking have been going up.
  • The government should intervene to care and protect children orphaned, abandoned or whose families have lost their earning members.
  • The court said lack of knowledge about the rights of children under the Juvenile Justice Act had led to many falling victim to efforts at illegal adoption.
  • It directed the Centre, States and the Union Territories to give wide publicity to the provisions of the 2015 Act at regular intervals so as to make the general public, children and their parents or guardians aware of such provisions.
  • It ordered the States and the Union Territories to continue with their efforts to identify children in need of care and protection after March 2020 and upload their details on the NCPCR database in order to provide them welfare schemes.

Source: TH


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