Adoption a commercial deal in India: Plea in SC

The CARA has “failed on every count” to monitor and regulate placement agencies,contends the petition filed by 2011 Padma Shri winner Nomita Chandy’s adoption agency Ashraya

Written by Krishnadas Rajagopal | New Delhi | Published: April 22, 2011 2:10:33 am

Child adoption process in the country came under the Supreme Court’s scrutiny on Thursday with the court demanding an explanation from the Ministry of Women and Child Development and the government’s Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) on the charge that adoption of babies has become nothing more than a “commercial transaction” involving private placement agencies.

A three-judge Bench,led by Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia,issued notices to the government and CARA to explain why adopting parents are made to wait for months,entangled in “reams of red-tape”,and foreign parents find it easier to adopt than their Indian counterparts.

The CARA has “failed on every count” to monitor and regulate placement agencies,contends the petition filed by 2011 Padma Shri winner Nomita Chandy’s adoption agency Ashraya.

“Total apathy and corruption of the respondents (ministry and CARA) has led to the adoption process being reduced to a farce,and empowering opaque state-run children’s homes and criminal private individuals to play with the lives of adoptable children and adopting parents,very often reducing the solemn process of adoption to a commercial transaction involving little babies,” stated the petition argued by senior advocate K K Venugopal.

The petition drafted by advocate Gopal Sankaranarayan quoted official statistics on the abysmal fall in the number of adopted every year to just over 3,500.

Venugopal argued that every rule framed by the Supreme Court 26 years ago in the Laxmi Kant Pandey versus Union of India to safeguard the rights of adoptable children have been flouted by the authority. It was the 1984 Laxmi Kant ruling which led to the establishment of CARA in the first place,the senior lawyer told the bench.

The petition explained that judicial intervention seemed to be imminent as the government “has done little apart but appoint bureaucrats to the so-called autonomous body (CARA),and does not even possess the bare statistics regarding the number of abandoned,relinquished and homeless children in the country”.

It added: “The nodal Ministry of Women and Child Development has failed to co-ordinate among the states to collate such details,and,in fact,has shown absolutely no inclination to do so,” the petition said.

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