Power to issue orders goes to magistrates
Parents in Bengaluru are anxious as new adoption rules are making them wait longer to adopt a child.
According to a report in The Hindu, The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021, which gives District Magistrates the authority to issue adoption orders, was approved by Parliament in July 2021. The goal of the amendment was to avoid adoption delays brought on by court-related issues due to the high number of cases. Earlier, adoption orders were issued by District Courts.
An official at the State Adoption Resource Agency informed The Observer: “Currently…, we have 3,000 pending cases of adoption. So far, we had 102 children adopted and given a new family since January 2022.”
The number of parents/couples wanting to adopt is high, while children available for adoption are few. Last year, 281 children were available to be adopted.
”In Bengaluru, we have only five adoption agencies. Only 10 children are allotted per agency. It’s very hard to complete every application because very few children are available to be adopted,” The official added.
M. Nupura, who works at Saint Michael’s Home, said:”We have faced many issues with district courts while filing adoption petitions. Now that we have to file all of these petitions to a District Magistrate, we are not sure how it’s going to work. It’s too early to comment on it.”
M. Salma, who works for Amulya Shishu Mandir, an adoption agency, said, “We received a new notification from CARA (the Central Adoption Resource Authority) to bring back the pending adoption petitions from the district court. As of now, we are still waiting for CARA to notify us about transferring the cases to the District Magistrate. It doesn’t matter in which court we have to file adoption petitions, It’s a very lengthy process and won’t make much difference.”
Pending cases are at a halt right now. Only when the District Magistrate gets instructions and starts accepting existing petitions, the adoption process will resume. “We have to wait for now. We are not sure when the process of adoption will restart,” she added.
V. Kishore, a parent who adopted a child through CARA, explained: “Adopting a child has become very complicated in our country. I was lucky because my process was completed in six months. Usually, it takes at least one to two years for the whole adoption process to finish. I know of a lot of parents who wanted to adopt children, but they had to back off due to the adoption process.”
K. Uma Shankar, who works for Anaatha Shishu Niwas, an adoption agency, stated: ”At the initial stages, finding children that are legally free is hard. When an abandoned or orphaned child is found, there are a lot of formalities required to be done. First, we file an FIR to find the child’s parents and post missing advertisements about the child. If nobody claims the ownership of the child, we proceed with health checkups and other procedures. Only after this is the child ready to be adopted by people.”
Explaining the legal aspect, lawyer Shaik Gousse said: “Be it a District Sessions court, a family court or a District Magistrate, the delay in processing of adoption petition doesn’t depend on courts. After CARA is done with its verification of background of the parents and assigns them a welfare officer, the parent is eligible to file an OP (open petition) to the court for the final clearance for the adoption. CARA and the assigned welfare officer stand as the official witness and testify to the court that the parents are eligible to adopt a child. So it always depends on the summons of the respective judge. The process is supposed to be completed in 90 days, but given the court’s condition and number of pending cases in every field, the delay happens.”
The transfer of adoption petitions from District courts to District Magistrates came as a surprise to the adoption agencies. The amendments became effective September 1, 2022.