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Is NOC from CARA mandatory for adoption: Punjab and Haryana HC to Centre

The response was sought on the plea from a two- year- old girl, adopted by an NRI couple
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Surender Sharma
UPDATED ON MAY 26, 2020 10:17 PM IST

The Punjab and Haryana high court has asked ministry of external affairs (MEA) to apprise it whether for adoption under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act (HAMA)-1956, no objection certificate (NOC) from the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is mandatory.

The response was sought on the plea from a two- year- old girl, adopted by an NRI couple. She was one of the twins born to a Jalandhar couple and subsequently adopted by NRI sister of her natural mother. They had applied for passport, but it was refused on the ground that there was no NOC from CARA. It is a statutory body for adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions. CARA is established under Juvenile Justice Act (JJA), 2015.

The girl was born in November 2017 to a Sikh family in Jalandhar. She was adopted as per Sikh rites performed at a local Gurdwara as both the sides of parents were Sikhs to which a certificate too was issued. An adoption deed was executed between both the parents in November 2018 under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act (as applicable to Sikhs). Thereafter, the family applied for girl’s passport which was rejected by authorities stating that NOC from CARA was mandatory.

As per petitioner girl’s advocate SS Nara, Section 56 (3) of the JJ Act 2015 states that the provisions of the JJ Act would not be applicable to the adoption of children made under the provisions of HAMA, latter being a ‘special law’. JJ Act does not override the provisions of HAMA Act, it was argued adding that in view of this passport cannot be denied.

On the other hand, Central government counsel had argued it is a mandatory procedure for the adoption to be ratified by CARA, even though JJ Act would not be applicable to an adoption under HAMA. There are notifications which categorically state that the Hague Convention itself mandates adoptions to be through CARA alone, the counsel had added.

The bench of justice Jaishree Thakur sought Centre’s response observing that a pertinent question has been raised whether an NOC is to be obtained and whether the provisions of the JJ Act would apply to adoptions under HAMA. “Let a detailed reply be filed by the respondents raising all objections therein and by placing on record all notifications as relied upon,” the bench said posting the matter for June 10.

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