Smriti Irani On Public’s Legal Responsibilities Regarding Orphaned Children

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Smriti Irani took to Twitter to inform people about their legal responsibilities regarding orphaned children who lost their parents to COVID-19 and have no caretakers.

As the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate India, the number of children who lost their parents to COVID-19 has increased. Social media posts with information about orphaned children that plead for their adoptions have been circulating, which is illegal according to government rules.

The Karnataka government appointed an officer to ensure that the children orphaned by COVID-19 received immediate and long-term assistance. Officer KP Mohan Raj was appointed to identify and address the needs of the orphaned children.

The Chairperson Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights, Anurag Kundu, flagged social media posts about adopting orphaned children as possible cases of trafficking. Under Section 80 and 81 of the Juvenile Justice Act, such posts are illegal. The aforementioned sections prohibit offering or receiving children outside the process described in the Act.

Smriti Irani’s Tweets Stated The Following:

  1. It is a person’s legal responsibility to contact the police or Childline 1098 or Child Welfare Committee (CWC) of the district about any child who lost both parents and has no caretakers.
  2. The children need to be taken to the CWC as the committee will act in the best interest of the child. It is illegal to give or take children in adoption.
  3. The process of legal adoption must be followed to ensure that children are not trafficked in the name of being adopted.
  4. If a person makes contact regarding the direct adoption of children, one must inform the authorities as it is illegal.
  5. Images or contact details of the children should not be shared via social media. As per the law, their identity is to be protected.

Smriti Irani emphasised that direct adoption was illegal and that Childline 1098, the Child Welfare Committee, or the police should be contacted in such situations.