The central government Thursday informed the Delhi High Court that the women and child development ministry and the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) were working to formulate guidelines that will govern the adoption of Indian kids by foreign citizen.
A bench of Justice B.D. Ahmed and Justice Siddharth Mridul directed “concerned officials” from the ministry to be present in court during the next hearing Feb 5.
The submission was made by the government during the hearing of pleas by two adoptive parents from the US who have been seeking a no-objection certificate for nearly two years now to take their adopted kids abroad with them.
Earlier, the amicus curiae in the case, advocate Maninder Acharya, told the court that the government needs to frame guidelines concerning inter-country adoption, where biological parents directly give their child for adoption by foreigners.
The court has to decide whether an adoption in which the child is given directly by the biological parents to another person for adoption, without the intervention of the CARA, is valid in the eyes of the law.
CARA is an autonomous body under the ministry and functions as the nodal body for adoption of Indian children. It is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.
Acharya told the court that in the interest of the children being adopted, a specialised adoption agency would need to intervene in the matter.
The advocate said there are adoption guidelines only for orphaned, abandoned and surrendered children who are governed by laws relating to juveniles and by the CARA. However, there are no guidelines for direct adoption where parents give their children in adoption directly to another couple.
One petitioner was a woman doctor from the US who had adopted a child from a couple in Uttar Pradesh. She got the adoption deed registered but when she applied for the passport of the child, the passport authority refused saying she has to obtain a “no objection certificate from CARA which refused to give her the NOC.
The second petitioner were a couple from the US who adopted a child from a single mother who remarried after the death of her first husband. CARA also refused to give an NOC to the couple when they applied for the child’s passport.
The advocate said that in both cases, the adoptive parents took the route of direct adoption, which in a sense “excludes the checks and balances provided in the best interests of the child at the pre-adoption, adoption and post-adoption stages”.
The counsel told the court that the Indian government June 27, 2011 notified guidelines governing adoption of children in furtherance of provisions contained in the Juvenile Justice Act and the Hague Convention of 1993, to which India became a signatory in 2003.
The adoptive parents, however, said CARA has “no role” to play in the facts and circumstances of the case as the “children were given in adoption to their respective adoptive parents by their biological parents”.
The intercession of CARA was mandated only in cases of those children who are orphaned or abandoned by their biological parents, the adoptive parents said.