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The tedious process of adoption

GS paper 2

Syllabus: Government policies and interventions for the development of various sectors and issues arising out of them etc

 

Source: The Hindu

Context:

  • District Magistrates (DM) have been empowered to give adoption orders instead of courts.
    • All cases pending before courts have to be transferred.

 

Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021:

  • Section 61 of the JJ Act: Authorizing District Magistrates and Additional District Magistrates to issue adoption orders by striking out the word “court”.
  • Empowerment of DM: The District Magistrates can:
    • Inspect child care institutions
    • Evaluate the functioning of district child protection units, child welfare committees, juvenile justice boards etc.

 

Concerns over the revised rules:

  • Start cases afresh: Cases already before courts for the past several months will have to be transferred and the process will have to start afresh.
  • Issues with parents registering for adoption: A delay in such an order can often mean that a child can’t get admission into a school because parents don’t yet have a birth certificate.
  • Awareness about the cases: Parents and lawyers claim that neither judges, nor DMs are aware about the change in the JJ Act leading to confusion in the system and delays.

 

What is the adoption procedure in India? Adoptions in India are governed by two laws:

  • Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 (HAMA): A “dattaka hom” ceremony or an adoption deed or a court order is sufficient to obtain irrevocable adoption rights.
  • Juvenile Justice Act, 2015: Parents have to register on CARA’s portal after which a specialized adoption agency carries out a home study report.

 

What are the challenges?

  • Adoption pool: According to the latest figures there are only 2,188 children in the adoption pool, while more than 31,000 parents waiting to adopt a child
  • Trafficking: Less availability allows traffickers to take advantage of loopholes in HAMA.

 

What is the Hague Convention?

  • The Hague Convention protects children and their families against the risks of illegal, irregular, premature or ill-prepared adoptions abroad.

 

Conclusion:

  • Need for child-centric laws: Optional, enabling and gender-just” special adoption law like in other countries.
  • Check malpractices: There is a need to check malpractices and improve monitoring

 

Insta Links:

Child Adoption Regulatory Authority (CARA)

JJ Amendment Act

 

Mains Links:

Q. Examine the main provisions of the National Child Policy and throw light on the status of its implementation. (UPSC 2016)

 

Prelims Links:

What is the Hague convention?

Eligibility criteria for prospective adoptive parents in India.

Overview of JJ Act.

About CARA.

With reference to Hague Convention, consider the following statements:

    1. The convention applies only to children below the age of 14 years.
    2. India has not signed the Hague Abduction Convention.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

a. 1 only

b. 2 only

c. Both 1 and 2

d. Neither 1 nor 2

Ans: (b)

Justification:

  • The Hague Abduction Convention specifically deals with the issue of the international abduction of children by parents.
  • The convention was signed in 1980 and entered into force in 1983.
  • India has not signed the Hague Abduction Convention.
  • The convention applies only to children below the age of sixteen.