Commenting on the sale of children under the garb of adoption, a Delhi court has noted with regret that no specific laws exist to prevent such atrocious exploitation of both child and would-be parents.
"Children/infants are sold in adoption market/'bachcha baazar' like potatoes, tomatoes and onions," Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau said, adding that a "big racket of illegal sale of children for adoption exists in many states".
She noted that many countries have already banned the sale of children, and introduced laws to prevent such “adoption fraud.”
The court further noted that the Law Commission had, over 21 years ago, recommended for a cause to be inserted for punishing those involved in selling minors. The Commission had suggested a seven years sentence for such offences.
"Unfortunately in India despite a strong recommendation by the Law Commission in its 146th Report (in 1993) recommending extending of the scope of legal provisions so to cover cases where a woman or a child is sold, whatever be the immediate or ultimate objective of the transaction...till date no steps have been taken in this direction by the Government of the land," the judge said.
A thriving black market exists in India, China and other South-East Asian countries, where experts estimate that up to 70,000 children are kidnapped annually for sale. Between in-country and cross-border trafficking, the International Labour Organization believes approximately 1.2 million children worldwide are victims of human trafficking.
Chairman of the 20th Law Commision, AP Shah told HT, “We are planning to take up the proposal in the 146th Law Report again.”
The court was hearing the case against a mid-wife engaged in selling of a month-old girl, who had been left in her care by the mother. The sale price had been set at Rs. 1 Lakh.
In a sting-operation, the police sent some decoy women constables, who approached the mid-wife under the guise of being childless. When the mid-wife agreed to sell the baby for Rs. 1 lakh, the police team arrested her, the cops said.
Because no offence of baby-selling exists in the IPC, the court was constrained to acquit accused Anita, Santosh (mid-wife) and Islamudin (the OT attendant) of the charges of criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, abandoning a child and trafficking of a person. “No matter how immoral the act was, still it has not been defined as an offence under the IPC,” the judge said.
However, the trio was convicted and sentenced to three months jail for the offence of cruelly treating the infant under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act.
According to the police version, on July 5 last year, Anita, Santosh and Islamudin conspired and kidnapped a month-old girl child from a hospital in Rohini in north west Delhi for exploiting her.