SC flags issue of delay in child adoption process; asks Centre to find solution | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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SC flags issue of delay in child adoption process; asks Centre to find solution

ByAbraham Thomas
Oct 14, 2023 02:26 PM IST

NGO Temple of Healing, which is one of the petitioners, through its founder Piyush Saxena informed the Court that in a country of over 30 million orphans, there are only 4,000 adoptions that happen annually

The Supreme Court on Friday raised serious concerns over the “grave” delay in the process of adoption of children and asked the Centre why no steps are being taken to simplify the process.

Supreme Court of India (Representative Photo)
Supreme Court of India (Representative Photo)

Terming child adoption a “human thing” the Supreme Court flagged the issue and said several children are awaiting adoption in the hope of a better life.

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A bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dhananjaya Y Chandrachud said, “There is a grave delay taking place in adoptions. Couples have to wait for three to four years...why are we stalling adoptions? Why is the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) not doing anything about it?”

The observations came as the Court was hearing two petitions pointing out lacunae in the adoption process that were delaying adoptions and making the entire process a farce.

NGO Temple of Healing, which is one of the petitioners, through its founder Piyush Saxena informed the Court that in a country of over 30 million orphans, there are only 4,000 adoptions that happen annually.

The bench, also comprising justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra said, “It’s a human thing as people want to adopt and are dying to have children.”

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Aishwarya Bhati requested additional time to file a response to the petition.

Listing the two petitions for hearing on October 30, the Court allowed the Centre represented by ASG Bhati to file its response by then indicating the steps to be taken to simplify the procedure.

The Court pondered over the practical difficulties caused by the delay in adoption that defeats the process. “There may be a couple which wants to adopt when they are 26 and by the time the time comes for adoption they are 32-33 years. By then, the position of parents changes as also that of the child to be adopted,” the bench said.

Bhati informed the Court that the identification of children is a time-consuming issue as the Centre wants to be fully assured of the child’s safety and future. “We want to be collaborative in this process and not adversarial. There are several steps that we have taken after this Court’s order,” the ASG said.

The Court had issued notice on the petition in August last year.

Saxena told the Court that the problem could be resolved if adoptions under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act (HAMA) is permitted to be processed by the family courts without CARA’s intervention as India has become the ‘orphan capital’ of the world.

To this, Bhati said that earlier this (process of adoption) was possible but under the present regime, all adoptions are made under CARA regulations.

The other petitioner represented by advocate Rohan Shah pointed out the facet involving the adoption of children with special needs which presents an even worse situation as parents are few who come forward to adopt these children.

The Court agreed to examine all aspects of the matter on the next date and even asked Bhati to sit with the petitioners and come out with some solutions.

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