From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : CARA
Mains level : Child Adoption
The Supreme Court has decided to examine a plea to simplify the legal process for the adoption of children in the country.
Why in news?
- The petition filed said that there were only 4,000 child adoptions annually though there were 3 crore orphan children in the country.
- The Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance (CARING) System ought to appoint trained “adoption preparers” who could help the prospective parents to complete the cumbersome paperwork required for adoption.
What is Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA)?
- CARA is an autonomous and statutory body of Ministry of Women and Child Development set up in 2015.
- It functions as the nodal body for the adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.
- It is designated as the Central Authority to deal with inter-country adoptions in accordance with the provisions of the 1993 Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, ratified by India in 2003.
Why was CARA established?
- Some people are offering infants for instant adoption by stating how the children have lost their parents to pandemic.
- However, such adoptions are illegal.
- The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) law was enacted in 2015.
- The Juvenile Justice Act is a secular law, all persons are free to adopt children under this law.
- The Juvenile Justice Rules of 2016 and the Adoption Regulations of 2017 followed to create the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA).
- The eligibility of prospective adoptive parents living in India, duly registered on the Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System (CARINGS), irrespective of marital status and religion, is Procedure for adoption adjudged by specialised adoption agencies preparing home study reports.
- The specialized adoption agency then secures court orders approving the adoption.
- All non-resident persons approach authorized adoption agencies in their foreign country of residence for registration under CARINGS.
- Their eligibility is adjudged by authorised foreign adoption agencies through home study reports.
- CARA then issues a pre-adoption ‘no objection’ certificate for foster care, followed by a court adoption order.
- A final ‘no objection’ certificate from CARA or a conformity certificate under the adoption convention is mandatory for a passport and visa to leave India.
Harmonization created by CARA
- India has multiple adoption laws.
- Traditionally, the 1956 Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act (HAMA), adoption, subject to the requirements and rigors of the Act, is available in India to Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs, and others subject to Hindu family law or custom.
- For others, the 1890 Guardians and Wards Act applies, but which provides only guardianship, not adoption, for those not subject to Hindu family law or custom.
- CARA primarily deals with the adoption of “orphaned, abandoned and surrendered” children through recognised adoption agencies.
- In 2018, CARA has allowed individuals in a live-in relationship to adopt children from and within India.
- As required by the 1993 Hague Convention, Article 4(b), children residing in India are always offered to Indian families before any foreigner.
- However, after taking office in 2014, PM Modi changed the law to put Non-Resident Indian (NRI) citizens and couples on par with Indians residing in India.
- From this point on, all adoptable children are offered to Indian families in order of seniority instead of distinguishing between resident and non-resident Indians.
- CARA must conduct an outreach programme on social media, newspapers and TV, warning everyone not to entertain any illegal adoption offers under any circumstances whatsoever.
- The National and State Commissions for Protection of Child Rights must step up their roles as vigilantes.
- Social activists, NGOs and enlightened individuals must report all the incidents that come to their notice.
- Respective State Legal Services Authorities have the infrastructure and machinery to stamp out such unlawful practices brought to their attention.
- The media must publicise and shame all those involved in this disreputable occupation.
- At the same time, the police authorities need to be extra vigilant in apprehending criminals.