Stringent Action Against Illegal Adoption: The Supreme Court gave directions on a suo motu petition over the illegal adoption of children orphaned by COVID-19. The top court asked all the states and Union Territories to take stringent actions against individuals and NGOs who are indulging in the crime.
A bench headed by Justice Aniruddha Bose and L Nageswara Rao directed, “The state governments/Union Territories are directed to take action against those NGOs/individuals who are indulging in illegal adoptions.”
During the second wave of COVID-19, many children were reported to have lost one or both parents. Some social media posts also started circulating where people put up information about such children for adoption purposes, the Supreme Court was informed about the same.
Stringent Action Against Illegal Adoption:
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) informed the top court about the complaints of such posts received by them. According to the Juvenile Justice Act, putting up information about orphan children is illegal in India. Children can only be adopted through the Central Adoption Resources Authority (CARA).
Advocate Shobha Gupta, who represented NGO We The Women Of India, told the court that the NGO received adoption requests for children but they were found to be fake. Gupta urged the court to take immediate action in the matter so that the circulation of such posts can be stopped.
The Supreme Court bench asked all states and UTs to stop NGOs from collecting funds in the name of orphaned children by revealing information about them.
The court said, “Stringent action shall be taken by the state governments/Union Territories against agencies/individuals who are responsible for indulging in this illegal activity. 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.”
The states and Union Territories was also directed by the court to ensure that the COVID-19 orphans continue their education in both private and government schools. This came after amicus curie advocate Gaurav Agarwal suggested the same to the court. The top court had directed the states to identify the children orphaned or abandoned during COVID-19 on June 1. The states were told to upload information about these children on the Bal Swaraj website which is run by the NCPCR.
According to the NCPCR, 30,071 children were reported (as of June 6) to have either one parent, both or were abandoned. Out of the total number, 3,621 children lost both their parents since March 2020, 30,071 lost one parent and 274 got abandoned.