Supreme Court: Stop illegal adoption of children orphaned by COVID-19

Adoption Law Insider
Adoption Law Insider

Deepali Kalia

The Apex court while conveying its concern regarding the illegal adoption of children orphaned by COVID 19, directed the Central and State governments to:

  • To take the necessary action against the NGOs and individuals engaged in illegal adoptions of such children.
  • To widely publicize the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 and the welfare schemes of the union and state that would benefit the affected children.

It was noted by the Top Court that around 30,071 children have become orphans or have lost one parent or have been abandoned due to COVID 19, as per the data gathered by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) till June 6 (3,621 orphans, 26,176 have lost one parent and 274 children have been abandoned).

“No adoption of affected children should be permitted contrary to the provisions of the JJ Act, 2015.Invitation to persons for adoption of orphans is contrary to law as no adoption of a child can be permitted without the involvement of CARA. Stringent action shall be taken by the State Governments/Union Territories against agencies/individuals who are responsible for indulging in this illegal activity”, the Court ordered.

The Bench also added that, “The State Governments/Union Territories are directed to prevent any NGO from collecting funds in the names of the affected children by disclosing their identity and inviting interested persons to adopt them”.

Justices L Nageswara Rao and Aniruddha Bose passed the following order in the suo moto case initiated by the court in order to deal with the problems faced by children affected  by COVID 19.

It was submitted by Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj, appearing for NCPCR that certain immoral organizations and individuals are engaged in illegal adoptions of children affected by COVID 19 and publishing public advertisements in order to collect funds.

An application in the suo moto case was filed by Advocate Shobha Gupta on behalf of ‘We the Women of India’ organization which highlighted several issues and brought them to the court’s notice.

Following submissions were made by her:

  • Most of the public advertisement and social media posts inviting people to adopt orphans are fake.
  • No adoption is permissible without the involvement of CARA.

Following were the direction she had sought:

  • The state governments and UTs be directed to take immediate action to stop the circulation of such posts on social media.
  • Stringent action should be taken against those found to be responsible.
  • She also relied upon Section 108 of the JJ Act, 2015 and asserted that schemes which benefit the affected children should be widely publicized.

We share the concern of the learned Additional Solicitor General and Ms. Shobha Gupta about the illegal adoption of affected children”, the Bench observed.

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