Published on: November 21, 2023 at 03:35 IST
In a significant move, the Supreme Court has directed the nodal departments responsible for implementing the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act in all states to conduct bi-monthly drives for identifying orphaned, abandoned, or surrendered children, facilitating their adoption into the Indian system.
The first of these identification drives is set to take place on December 7, 2023. The bench, consisting of CJI DY Chandrachud, Justice JB Pardiwala, and Justice Manoj Misra, also mandated all States and Union Territories to establish Specialized Adoption Agencies (SAAs) in every district by January 31, 2024.
The directive came during the hearing of a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by “The Temple of Healing,” a charitable trust, seeking simplification of adoption procedures in India.
The Supreme Court, expressing concerns over adoption process delays in previous hearings, emphasized the need for expedited procedures benefiting both aspiring parents and children in need of homes.
Additional Solicitor General of India Aishwarya Bhati addressed three key issues in the adoption process: identification of adoptable children, staffing vacancies in adoption-related agencies, and compiling data for effective foster care and adoption.
ASG Bhati pointed out the disparity between the number of Prospective Adoptive Parents (PaPs) and available children for adoption, highlighting a waiting period of 3 to 4 years for PaPs to adopt healthy children.
Accepting ASG Bhati’s suggestions, the court directed bi-monthly identification drives and the establishment of SAAs in all districts, aiming to streamline the identification of children in Child Care Institutions and from the community for adoption.
Dr. Piyush Saxena, representing the petitioner “The Temple of Healing,” raised concerns about officers’ reluctance to allow adoptions under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 (HAMA).
ASG Bhati clarified that the HAMA adoption process operates independently of the JJ Act and CARA jurisdiction. The court concurred, stating that CARA intervenes only when an adoption certificate is required by adoptive parents.
Case Details: The Temple of Healing v. Union of India | WP(C) 1003/2021