Adoption cases: City activist files PIL against exposing unwed mothers

Posted: Tue Apr 12 2011
City-based child rights activist Jyoti Ronghe has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court raising the issue of non-government organisations – Adwait Foundation and Sakhee – exposing unwed mothers in adoption cases in the Preet Mandir case.

With reference to the Preet Mandir case, the petitioner along with her advocate Ajit Kulkarni in the PIL has objected to NGOs ignoring the directives of the Supreme Court wherein biological parents should not be contacted under any circumstances, once the period of 30 days is over after the execution of a relinquishment affidavit in the case of Laxmikant Pandey vs. Union of India case. “There has been violation of the rules in exposing the unwed mothers as has been done by the NGOs in the Preet Mandir case. The NGOs contacting the biological mothers/parents have created fear in the minds of the biological parents, expecially the unwed mothers, who may now out of fear of their identity being revealed, abandon the children and dump them in garbage bins rather than relinquish them to adoption agencies. The case was filed in the High Court on Wednesday and the hearing of the case has been scheduled for April 21.

The activist who has been working with an adoption agency as a consultant for the last 20 years thought of filing the PIL as she feels that it was totally unethical to expose unwed mothers who had already relinquished their children. “I feel that it is unnecessary intervention of the NGOs which are affecting the children in the adoption agency. My aim is to request the High Court to ask these agencies from refraining themselves from contacting biological parents, including unwed mothers for rehabilitation to various adoption agencies,” says Ronghe.

With the matter of Preet Mandir being subjudice, Ronghe has also requested to direct all the concerned authorities to “act expeditiously to rehabilitate the destitute children of Preet Mandir first with Indian families and if that is not possible place them in inter country adoption and the necessary orders and directions for the same may be issued,”she says in her petition. Even as the case is in court, she feels that it’s the children who are suffering. “It’s injustice on the children and they should get homes,”says Ronghe, on the PIL. Working closely on the issue of child rights she says that it is injustice on the child who is in the agency who has to face the brunt of the agency. In her PIL she has also directed the court to demand Rs 5 lakh towards compensation for the irreparable losses and damage caused to the destitute children who are yet in Preet Mandir as the process of rehabilitation has got delayed due to this act.

Meanwhile, Anjali Pawar from Sakhee when contacted said that she had yet to receive the summons and was not aware of the petition. However she maintained that adoption agencies are hiding criminalities under the unwed mother tag. “Enough research material is available and cases too are there where the children are from legitimate relationships. Why should people stop us from exposing such rackets,” she asks

While Adwait Foundation’s Sangeeta Punekar who has a researched book on unwed mothers that their aim is to expose the racket of demand and supply. “Our aim is to expose the supply mechanism. I am opposed to the violation of the biological mother not being counselled, victimised and commodified, it is cheating the adoptee family as well,” says Punekar who too is not aware of the PIL yet.