ILLEGAL ADOPTION OF COVID ORPHANS IN INDIA- JUDICIAL ACCOUNTABILITY BY NIRZANA BANIKYA AT LEXCLIQ

INTRODUCTION

Adoption is the process of socially, emotionally and legally taking another’s child, who is not being raised by the birth parents because of some reason, and bringing the child up as one’s own or making the child a full and permanent legal member of the family. Adoption is a pure and kind deed. The adopted child is given rights and privileges by the adoptive family. It is the duty of the adoptive family to provide for the child with all the basic needs.

Some of the reasons why a child is given up for adoption are- Financial crisis of the birth parents to raise the child, death of birth parents, single or young mother unable to raise the child and so on.

ADOPTION UNDER HINDU LAW

Under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956, a Hindu may adopt subject to their fulfilment of certain criteria. Section 5 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 is found to deal with Adoption, to be made as per the provisions of this Act. If the Adoption is made as per the provisions of this Act, then only Adoption is valid. The person taking in and giving in adoption must be competent, the other requirements must also be fulfilled.

*DOCTRINE OF RELATION BACK- ADOPTION BY A WIDOW

The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 has incorporated the Doctrine of Relation Back. A Hindu widow was not allowed to adopt a child. The Doctrine of Relation Back allows a Hindu widow to adopt a child. This adoption will be valid as per the Doctrine of Relation Back, however, the date of the adoption will be related back to the date of the death of the husband.

WHAT IS ILLEGAL ADOPTION?

Illegal adoption is the process where the child is illegally adopted by any person or institute or the child given up for adoption illegally. This violates multiple child rights and is also famously referred to as Adoption fraud.

ILLEGAL ADOPTION OF COVID ORPHANS

In the recent Covid situation, many messages doing the rounds of Social media, which were supposedly, seeking support for Covid orphans is a source of children for the dealers, according to the experts. These messages might seem to be brimming with goodwill but experts warn that the demand for adoption may open up a market for child trafficking with covid orphans, being the easy as well as latest victims of this crime. Child rights experts have voiced concern against such social media messages and claims that they could be tricks by trafficking gangs to expand their pool of clients and targets, and subject unsuspecting children to violence and abuse, thus encroaching upon their basic rights.

JUDICIAL ACCOUNTABILITY

The Supreme Court directed the State Governments and Union Territories to take action against individuals or organisations which are illegally adopting children. It held that no adoption of child was permitted without the involvement of Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA). Moreover, the Supreme Court asked the District Child Protection Units (DCPU) to contact the affected child and the guardian immediately on receiving information about the death of either one or both parents.

CONCLUSION

It is a shame that even the innocent children who are orphan are exploited in the name of adoption. Stringent laws and punishment shall be taken against individuals or organisations that are responsible for indulging in such illegal and heinous crime.

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