Centre plans to tweak law to fast-track child adoption | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Centre plans to tweak law to fast-track child adoption

New Delhi | By
Jan 02, 2018 09:23 PM IST

Ministry of Women and Child Development has also decided to separate siblings — orphaned or abandoned by their family — at the time of adoption if they are aged above five.

The government plans changes to a law governing adoption of children to ease the process of court clearance, which is considered one of the major reasons for delays.

Union minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi outside Parliament in New Delhi.(PTI File Photo)
Union minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi outside Parliament in New Delhi.(PTI File Photo)

The Union women and child development (WCD) ministry proposes an amendment to the Juvenile Justice Act of 2015 and empower district courts to declare a child legally free for adoption.

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The act covers adoption of children and, currently, people willing to adopt a child must get legal clearance from a civil court, which is the final authority in the process.

As most civil courts are saddled with a large backlog of various pending cases, the adoption gets least priority and the process often drags for more than two years.

“There is a huge pendency as civil courts handle a large number of cases. So we want to empower the district courts. This will bring down the delay from the current two years to less than two months,” women and child development secretary Rakesh Srivastava said.

The process will get fast-tracked as there are more district courts, thereby handling lesser number of cases than civil courts.

The ministry will move the Cabinet soon to start the process of amending the law, Srivastava said.

Only 2,671 children were adopted in India between 2016 and March 14, 2017. There is no official data, but surveys by non-government organisations say there are approximately 50,000 orphans in the country.

The government has adopted an exhaustive framework in 2015 to plug holes in the system, but the adoption figures continue to be dismal because of the delay in getting legal clearance.

The ministry has also decided to separate siblings — orphaned or abandoned by their family — at the time of adoption if they are aged above five.

The Child Adoption Resource Authority, a central agency, allows adoption of siblings only if they are getting adopted by the same family.

“We have changed this rule. If a child above five wants to be adopted and does not have an issue being separated, the prospective parent can adopt the child,” WCD minister Maneka Gandhi said on Tuesday at the launch of NARI, a website that will provide information on government schemes for women.

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