HC asks family court to decide on adoption of seven NRI couples

Published on Nov 25, 2006 09:17 PM IST

Seven NRI couples and a single (NRI) woman had adopted children from an adoption home Preet Mandir in Pune early this year, reports Urvi Jappi.

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None | ByUrvi Jappi, Mumbai

Ajay and Priya Hingora (name changed) are among the seven NRI couples who have been waiting since March 2006 to take their adopted twins—Reshma and Karishma to the US. Despite their documents having been cleared by the adoption co-ordination agency, the final go-ahead is awaited from the family court in Pune.

Seven NRI couples and a single (NRI) woman had adopted children from an adoption home Preet Mandir in Pune early this year, whose recognition has been suspended by the central adoption resource agency (CARA) for allegedly selling children in the international market under the guise of inter-country adoption.

A division bench of Justice Ranjana Desai and Justice VM Kanade directed the Pune family court to dispose off in two months the Guardianship Petitions filed by them under Guardian & Wards Act which would finally permit them to take the children abroad.

CARA had suspended the recognition of Preet Mandir in July this year with immediate effect after it was reported that the adoption home was allegedly involved in selling babies to foreigners for 12,000 US dollars. The Maharashtra government had then asked the Department of Women and Child Development to cancel their license. Pending the inquiry its recognition is suspended by CARA.

Hingoras had approached Preet Mandir through Children's Home Society and Family Services, US-based adoption co-coordinating agency which started its center in India in 1968. They were referred to twin girls by Preet Mandir.

As required by law, the adoption co-coordinating agency cleared their papers on March 22, 2006. They were given a No Objection Certificate for adoption by the Indian Council for Social Welfare on August 22. The couple then filed a guardian petition in the Pune Family court for acquiring custody of the children.

As their petitions were not being heard by the Pune Family court due to suspension of Preet Mandir's recognition, the eight persons approached the HC seeking relief that since their papers were cleared, atleast they should be allowed to take the children abroad.

While directing the family court to dispose off the matter in two months, the HC has permitted the couple to keep children with them as the children "have developed affection towards them. However, the children are not to leave the state limits."

The Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA) is an Autonomous Body under the Ministry of Women & Child Development. Its mandate is to find a family for every orphan/abandoned/surrendered child in the country. In-country adoption of Indian children is governed by In-country Guidelines-2004 while Inter-country adoption procedure is governed by a set of guidelines last issued on 14th February 2006. These guidelines are a follow up of various directions given by the Supreme Court of India in LK Pandey Vs Union of India (1.1.71) of 1982. These guidelines are amended and updated from time to time keeping in mind the welfare of adopted child.

The criteria for Foreign Prospective Adoptive Parent/s (FPAP) as recommended by CARA:

Married couple with 5 years of a stable relationship, age, financial and health status with reasonable income to support the child should be evident in the Home Study Report.

Prospective adoptive parents having composite age of 90 years or less can adopt infants and young children. These provisions may be suitably relaxed in exceptional cases, such as older children and children with special needs, for reasons clearly stated in the Home Study Report. However, in no case should the age of any one of the prospective adoptive parents exceed 55 years.

Single persons (never married, widowed, divorced) up to 45 years can also adopt. 

Age difference of the single adoptive parent and child should be 21 years or more.

A FPAP in no case should be less than 30 years and more than 55 years.

A second adoption from India will be considered only when the legal adoption of the first child is completed. 

Same sex couples are not eligible to adopt.

Email Urvi Jappi: urvi.jappi@hindustantimes.com

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