HC asks union govt for clarity on adoption guidelines
mumbai Updated: Sep 10, 2016 21:49 IST
The Bombay high court has sought replies from the union government and the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) on the steps taken to mitigate concerns raised by prospective adoptive parents and activists on the new online adoption guidelines.
A bench lead by Justice VM Kanade granted the authorities three weeks to submit their replies.
The directions came while the bench was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) raising concerns on the new online system of adoption. The PIL said that there was a conflict between the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act 2015 and CARA’s own rules. It had thus sought that CARA be asked to either withdraw or amend its guidelines.
In February this year, the bench had granted CARA two months to clear the air on the guidelines and to take remedial measures addressing the other concerns raised in the plea.
However, in the last hearing on Thursday, the petitioners informed the bench that CARA was yet to take such steps.
“While it is still not clear if CARA’s guidelines will supersede the Act in case of a conflict, the agency is still continuing with the ‘pick and choose system’ of adoption, in which the photographs and personal details of minor children are openly displayed on the CARA website. Anyone posing as a prospective adoptive parent can access these details,” the petitioners told HC.
At this, the bench directed both the centre and CARA to submit their replies and an action-taken report.
“Hearings on the plea have been going on since the beginning of this year but the authorities are yet to take effective steps to implement the court’s orders. We would like to know what has been done so far and what the status is of domestic and foreign adoptions in the state,” the bench said.
In February, the union government told the bench that CARA’s adoption guidelines must be read in agreement with the Act and in cases of conflict, the guidelines prescribed by the Act would take precedence.
Earlier, specialised adoption agencies had informed the high court that while CARA mandated that the entire adoption process be online, the Act did not mandate an online process.