SC flags issue of delay in child adoption process

Referring to one of the petitions, the bench said it has been highlighted that only 4,000 adoption takes place in the country annually.

October 13, 2023 06:54 pm | Updated 06:54 pm IST - New Delhi

“Hundreds of children are awaiting adoption in hope of a better life,” the CJI observed. File image for representation.

“Hundreds of children are awaiting adoption in hope of a better life,” the CJI observed. File image for representation. | Photo Credit: G. Ramakrishna

Terming child adoption a "human thing", the Supreme Court on Friday flagged the issue of "great delay" in the process and said several children are awaiting adoption in hope of a better life.

A bench headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud, which was hearing two pleas including one seeking to simplify the legal process for child adoption in India, said the petitioners have said this process has virtually come to a standstill.

"There is great delay which is taking place in this," said the bench, also comprising justices J.B. Pardiwala and Manoj Misra.

Terming it a serious issue, the bench observed if a couple in their twenties have to wait for three or four years to adopt a child, their position as parents as well as position of the child to be adopted might change due to passage of time.

"Why are they (Central Adoption Resource Authority) stalling adoptions? Why CARA is not doing it. Hundreds of children are awaiting adoption in hope of a better life," the CJI observed.

Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Aishwarya Bhati, appearing for the Centre, said their affidavit in the matter is ready and they will be filing it in the apex court.

"Permit us to place before the court the exercise which we have done," she said.

The bench asked Bhati to apprise the court about the number of adoptions which has taken place in the past three years compared to the number of children for adoption.

An advocate, appearing for one of the petitioners, stressed on the need for simplification of the adoption process and said adoption of children with special needs is more abysmal.

"Our feedback is that CARA does not allow adoption ….There are so many persons who are willing to adopt. Many of them are good people. It is a human thing," the bench observed, while asking the ASG to discuss the issue with CARA.

Referring to one of the petitions, the bench said it has been highlighted that only 4,000 adoption takes place in the country annually.

One of the petitioners referred to the difficulty in the adoption process and said India has become the orphan capital of the world.

The bench has posted the matter for further hearing on October 30.

In April last year, the apex court had agreed to hear one of the pleas seeking to simplify the legal process for child adoption in India.

It had issued notice to the Centre seeking its response while hearing a plea filed by NGO The Temple of Healing.

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