- Profiteering from child trafficking rackets knows no bounds. Today, some people are offering infants for instant adoption by selling sob stories of how the children have lost their parents to the dreaded virus.
Protection granted by the law
- According to UNICEF, India has over 30 million orphan and abandoned children. Unfortunate parental deaths added unknown numbers of orphans to the list.
- Many children escaped monitoring by the official machinery due to the breakdown of systems.
- The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) law was enacted in 2015.
- The Juvenile Justice Rules of 2016 and the Adoption Regulations of 2017 followed to create the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) as a statutory body for the regulation, monitoring and control of all intra-country and inter-country adoptions.
- Furthermore, CARA became pivotal in granting a ‘no objection’ certificate for all inter-country adoptions, pursuant to India becoming a signatory to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoptions. India is also a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
- Thus, protections afforded to children became a legal mandate of all authorities and courts. Laws were enacted. Machineries and mechanisms created were put in place.
- The Juvenile Justice Act is a secular law. All persons are free to adopt children under this law. However, persons professing the Hindu religion are free to adopt under the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act of 1956.
- Rehabilitation of all orphaned, abandoned and surrendered children is regulated by the strict mandatory procedures of the Adoption Regulations.
- Children of relatives can also be adopted under the Juvenile Justice Act, if desired.
- Only such children declared legally free for adoption under the Juvenile Justice Act by prescribed procedures can be adopted.
Procedure for adoption
- The eligibility of prospective adoptive parents living in India, duly registered on the Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System (CARINGS), irrespective of marital status and religion, is adjudged by specialised adoption agencies preparing home study reports.
- The specialised adoption agency then secures court orders approving the adoption.
- All non-resident persons approach authorised adoption agencies in their foreign country of residence for registration under CARINGS.
- Their eligibility is adjudged by authorised foreign adoption agencies through home study reports.
- CARA then issues a pre-adoption ‘no objection’ certificate for foster care, followed by a court adoption order.
- A final ‘no objection’ certificate from CARA or a conformity certificate under the adoption convention is mandatory for a passport and visa to leave India.
- CARA must conduct an outreach programme on social media, newspapers and TV, warning everyone not to entertain any illegal adoption offers under any circumstances whatsoever.
- The National and State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights must step up their roles as vigilantes.
- Social activists, NGOs and enlightened individuals must report all the incidents that come to their notice.
- Respective State Legal Services Authorities have the infrastructure and machinery to stamp out such unlawful practices brought to their attention.
- The media must publicise and shame all those involved in this disreputable occupation.
- At the same time, the police authorities need to be extra vigilant in apprehending criminals.
- Tough times call for tough measures. This business of criminal trading of children must be checked with an iron hand.
Back to Basics
Hague Adoption Convention
- The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (or Hague Adoption Convention) is an international convention dealing with international adoption, child laundering, and child trafficking in 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.
- As of March 2019, the Convention has been ratified by 99 states. South Korea, Nepal, and Russia have signed but not ratified it.
- India has ratified the Convention.
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