Union minister Maneka Gandhi has called for punitive action against “unscrupulous” elements who do not register children born to unwed mothers and undesiring parents, under the legal system of adoption.
The women and child development (WCD) minister has written to JP Nadda, asking his health ministry to crack the whip on the “unscrupulous” nursing homes, hospitals and their agents who do not register such children.
Government and NGO sources said that such children often end up becoming victims of trafficking.
Under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, the concerned healthcare institutions have to report such children within 24 hours so that they get registered under the legal system of adoption. A healthcare institution faces hefty fine and jail under Section 34 of the JJ Act for not reporting.
“There are very few children brought into the adoption system of the ministry through this route despite tens of thousands of children who are born under such circumstances...,” she said.
Currently, 13,000 parents have registered with Central Adoption Resource Authority, a statutory body under WCD ministry for adoption of Indian children. As against this number, only 3,011 children were given up for adoption in 2015-16.
Gandhi has said that the main reason for this is that a very large number of children, often born to unwed mothers or parents not desiring a child, are put into illegal system of adoption.
“The scale of this problem, as per some ground information, is disturbing,” she said in her letter and asked Nadda to direct healthcare institutions to comply with the provisions of JJ Act. Besides, state level enforcement agencies should undertake “preventive, deterring and sensitisation exercise” in this direction.