Nov 15, 2013,
Indian parents should be given preference in child adoption over NRIs, Overseas Citizens of India and foreign nationals, the Bombay high court has ruled.
MUMBAI: Indian parents should be given preference in child adoption over NRIs, Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs) and foreign nationals, the Bombay high court has ruled.
A division bench of justices V M Kanade and S C Gupte recently laid down additional guidelines while deciding a dispute between an Indian couple and an OCI couple over the adoption of a girl child.
“Preference should be given to Indian parents first,” the judges said. “If the Indian parents decline to accept the child in adoption, only then the child may be shown to foreign parents. Only if the child is not accepted by Indian parents and the adoption agencies, on account of their experience, come to the conclusion that the child is not likely to be taken in adoption by Indian parents, then it should be shown to foreign parents.”
The court said there was no specific number of Indian parents to whom a child must be shown; it was, however, of the opinion that in a period of three to four weeks a child should be shown to as many Indian parents as possible. “But at a time, the child should be shown only to one parent,” said the judges.
The court asked adoption agencies to follow norms prescribed in 2011. According to these, 80% children were to be given in adoption to Indian parents and 20% to foreigners. The priority order, as per the guidelines, is that the child should be first shown to NRI parents, then to parents with OCI cards and only after that to foreign nationals.
The judges directed various state and central adoption agencies to work together and asked the authorities to initiate action if norms were not followed. They ordered the Adoption Recommendation Committee (ARC) and State Adoption Resource Agency (SARA) to process recommendation letters within five days for a child with special needs and 15 days for other children. “ARC and SARA should work not in conflict, but in coordination with CARA (Central Adoption Resource Authority), it being the centralized nodal agency,” they said.
The court’s orders came on a petition filed by a Pune-based couple, who opposed a decision to give a girl child in adoption to a US-based couple of Indian origin, claiming they were shown the child first. The court studied the records, which proved the US-based couple were shown the child first and the adoption then approved. The court dismissed the Pune couple’s petition, but decided to lay down additional guidelines to streamline the process of foreign adoptions.