The Women and Child Development Ministry (WCD) is set to amend the Juvenile Justice Act (JJ) to ensure that district magistrates and collectors become “competent officers” for approving adoptions, instead of courts, Union minister Maneka Gandhi said on Tuesday during a conference in Delhi.
Addressing a national conference of the ministers in-charge of the women and child development departments in all the states and Union territories, Gandhi also directed the states that all child-care institutions (CCIs) get registered and linked to the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) within a month, which is mandatory as per the JJ Act, 2015.
On July 5, a nun and an employee of the Ranchi-based organisation, run by the Mother Teresa-founded Missionaries of Charity (MoC), were arrested in Jharkhand for allegedly ‘selling’ a baby for Rs 1.2 lakh and Gandhi on Monday had directed state governments to inspect all the child-care homes run by MoC.
However, Gandhi clarified that the announcement of the amendment has no connection with the incident that took place in Jharkhand.
Some orphanages have challenged the validity of the law under the JJ Act, a WCD official was quoted by PTI.
Around 2,300 CCIs are linked to CARA, while another 4,000 remain pending for linkage. Gandhi brought to notice that the 2,300 institutions linked to CARA were not under an adoption system.
Further, Gandhi pointed out that around 7,300 institutions had completed their registrations, however, about 1,400 remain unregistered. “I request states to immediately register,” the Union WCD minister said.
Sixteen ministers, including Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia and Uttar Pradesh Minister Rita Bahuguna Joshi were the attendees at the conference.