Two NGOs based in Pune (Sakhee) and Thane (Advait Foundation) have filed a PIL in Supreme Court seeking complete ban on inter-country adoption of children.
They claim under the garb of adoption, children are being allegedly kidnapped and sold. Will banning such adoption help in stopping these malpractices or introducing stringent laws is the answer to this problem? Speak Up explores
It is wrong to use the word ‘sold’ as it gives a negative meaning to adoption
Inter-country adoption process in India is complex and many clearances are needed before any overseas parents can adopt a child from here. The whole process to complete can take more than 6 months because here the laws of both the countries are applicable.
The documentation is very strict and the legal fees involved are paid through Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act (FCRA), 1976. After all the details of adoption, including the details of family adopting, the baby involved is accounted for and then a request is filed in the court.
The court, which is the final authority, takes the decision after scrutinising all the details filed. It is wrong to use the word ‘sold’ as it gives a negative meaning to adoption. In fact, it is very rare for Indian families to adopt children with special needs who have health problems or are grown-ups.
These children are only adopted by families based overseas. The process is also screened by the police and social security of the foreign country.
Narendra Kharaley, trustee, Renuka Shishu Gruh
There should be bilateral treaties between countries to facilitate adoption
Generally, India is careless when it comes to following international laws, particularly related to child rights. In case of adoption process in India, there is no clear policy or procedure defined and the existing laws must be reviewed. In case of inter-country adoption, there should be bilateral treaties between countries and not just a universal treaty. The demand of the NGOs to ban such adoption is not wrong because they have observed various unfortunate cases.
There are malpractices going on under the garb of inter-country adoption and the government must keep a check if human trafficking too is taking place. The reality is that there are no laws to follow up on the adopted child once he/she leaves the country. If these children are considered as our country’s assets, we have to either ban such adoptions till stringent laws are not implemented to keep a tab on malpractices.
Asim Sarode, human rights lawyer and activist
Children with special needs are adopted by foreigners, not here
In my opinion, there is nothing wrong in inter-country adoption. This is because at least children with special needs get a chance to grow up in a loving and caring family who otherwise are not adopted in our country. Malpractices and corruption exist everywhere in our country, so banning inter-country adoption is not a solution to the problem. Rather, the government should implement strict laws to protect child rights. For example, most of the children who are disabled because of polio rarely find Indian families who are willing to adopt them. But foreigners adopt them because they are financially in a better position to take care of them.
Rakesh Jain, adoptive parent
First preference must be given to Indian families
At present, there are loopholes in our adoption process whether it is inter-country or done within the country. For example, there is a rule that in case of adoption of Indian children through various adoption centres, the first preference must be given to Indian families within the country. However, after a specified period of time, if no family steps in to adopt the child, then he/she can be adopted by overseas families. But I doubt whether this rule is being followed. At present, many Indian parents are on the waiting list who are willing to adopt in our country. So, I fail to understand how kids are being adopted by foreigners.
Anuradha Sahasrabuddhe, executive director, Dnyanadevi Childline
Siblings must not be separated during adoption process but the rule is ignored
Our demand is that we must have a foolproof system and stringent laws for inter-country adoption in our country to ensure that child trafficking does not take place. For example, rules are different for NRIs when they want to adopt in another country but in India, we allow them to adopt. These NRIs are financially better off and therefore the centres allow them to adopt a child by allegedly demanding more money. In the process of inter-country adoption, there are cases wherein the papers are also sometimes forged.
The number of children with special needs is hardly 1 to 2% in any centre and nowadays, there are many Indian families who are willing to adopt such children. Also, another sticky issue is the Hindu Adoption Act. An adopted child also has a right to property, so parents who adopt are very choosy.
In other countries, especially in the West, parents decide whether the adopted child can inherit their property or not once
18 years old. Another point to note is that in our country, we have a rule that siblings must not be separated during adoption process, but it has been observed that many times this rule has been ignored.
Nakul Kate, trustee, Sakhee, child rights organisation