Couples in live-in relations cannot adopt, says CARA

‘Cohabitation not considered a stable family in India’

June 14, 2018 10:26 pm | Updated 10:26 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Indian family at outdoor. Rear view of parents and children walking on garden path. Exploring nature, leisure lifestyle.

Indian family at outdoor. Rear view of parents and children walking on garden path. Exploring nature, leisure lifestyle.

The nodal body for adoption in the country has barred partners in live-in relationships from adopting a child on the ground that cohabitation without marriage is not considered a stable family in India.

The Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) permits a single woman to adopt a child of any gender, while single men can adopt only boys.

In case an applicant is married, both spouses must give their consent for adoption and should be in a stable marriage for at least two years. Candidates must be physically fit, financially sound, mentally alert and highly motivated to adopt a child, as per the Adoption Regulations 2017.

Foreign agency approval

“It has been decided that the cases of single PAP (prospective adopting parent) in a live-in relationship with a partner will not be considered eligible to adopt a child and their registration through the AFAAs (authorised foreign adoption agencies) will not be considered for approval,” according to the CARA in a circular issued last week.

CARA’s CEO, Lt. Col. Deepak Kumar, told The Hindu that the decision was taken in a meeting of its Steering Committee last month as there were “three to four” applications pending because of a lack of clarity on the issue.

He added that all these cases involved foreign applicants and the status of their relationship came to the fore when a team from a partner agency paid them a visit to prepare a home study report to determine their suitability for adoption.

Explaining the rationale behind the decision, Lt. Col. Kumar said, “In India, a live-in relationship is not considered a stable family and we need to ensure the best interest of the child is served.”

To a question on what happens if a single parent decides to enter into a live-in relationship after adopting a child, the officer said, “We can’t predict what happens in future but what we look for [at the time of assessing a candidate’s suitability] is a stable family.”

‘Not a sin’

The Supreme Court has on several occasions said that a live-in relationship is neither a crime or a sin.

Last month, the Supreme Court had said that adult couples have the right to live together even if they were not married.

It said that even the legislature recognised live-in relationships through the provisions under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005.

Under the Act, women in a live-in relationship have been accorded protection as it allows females living with a male person in a relationship in the nature of marriage to file a complaint of domestic violence.

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