Stating that “private adoption” is illegal in the country, the Maharashtra State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (MSCPCR) has ordered action against the parties involved in a case of adoption that took place without the involvement of an authorised agency.
The MSCPCR was hearing the case of a minor girl whose unwed mother had handed her over to her adoptive parents without following due legal procedure. The girl has now been kept in a children’s home by the order of the child welfare committee.
“Initiate proceedings of prosecution against the persons concerned under provision of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and for violation of the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) guidelines,” says the order passed last week. CARA is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India, and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.
In the adoption deed, which was drawn up in Sindhudurg, the natural mother has declared that her four-year-old daughter has been transferred to the adoptive family.
“Adoption as defined under the law is creation of a parent-child relationship by judicial order between two parties who usually are unrelated. This relationship is brought about only after a determination that the child is an orphan or has been abandoned or that the parental rights have been terminated by the court’s order.
The Hindu Adoption and Guardianship Act is clear. Adoption should be acted only after following the due procedure of law. The power to issue an order for adoption is with the sessions court. CARA guidelines are also clear in this regard,” says the order.
In the present case, adds the order, the child was handed over to the adoptive parents by her natural mother and not by the hospital authorities. Subsequently, the district women and child development officer had sought guidance from the commission in the matter. The commission issued notices to the adoptive parents and members of the child welfare committee.
“In this case, without the judicial order, an agreement was reached upon between the adoptive parents and the natural mother. This is illegal and, therefore, attracts provision of the penal code,” observed the commission.