Missionaries of Charity may have to shut down orphanages
The government could derecognise 13 orphanages run by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity after it refused to give children up for adoption to single, divorced or separated people.
Women and child development (WCD) minister Maneka Gandhi said on Thursday the charity was not complying with the adoption guidelines, leaving the government with no option but to derecognise them.
The NDA government guidelines notified by the WCD ministry in July made adoption rules more stringent. The Missionaries of Charity has refused to comply with the provisions related to adoptions by single, separated or divorced people.
“They have cited ideological issues with our adoption guidelines related to giving a child up for adoption to single, unwed mothers. They have their own agenda and now when they have to come under a unified secular agenda, they are refusing it,” Gandhi said.
Gandhi, however, said the Missionaries of Charity had itself written to the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), an autonomous body under the ministry that regulates adoptions, seeking de-recognition of 13 of its orphanages.
A Missionaries of Charity sister, who did not want to be identified, said, “We are stopping adoption. We have written to CARA.” But she refused to say why the charity was taking this step.
“We are trying and persuading them because they are valuable, good people and have experience. But if they do not follow the central guidelines, we will be left with no option but to derecognise the orphanages run by them and shift the children to other places,” Gandhi added.
It all started when CARA received complaints from two prospective single parents from Assam and Bihar.
“The Missionaries of Charity refused to give them children for adoption on the grounds that they were single,” said a ministry official.CARA officials then visited Kolkata to urge the organisation to follow the guidelines. “It’s the rule of the land and they will have to abide by it. We told them there is a no reason to refuse a single parent who is eligible and fulfills all conditions in the guidelines. Why deny a good home to a child where there are such a large number of children in orphanages waiting to be adopted,” CARA secretary Veerendra Mishra told HT.
Mishra said even under the old guidelines, single parents were allowed to adopt. “Parents could register with individual orphanages or adoption agencies. If the agencies did not register them, there was no way we could know. But under the new guidelines, parents have to mandatorily register with the central database where all applications are monitored. Any violation is reflected automatically,” he added.