Time to crack whip on adoption racket: SC

Amit Anand Choudhary,TNN | May 7, 2015, 04.31 AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday expressed deep concern over foreign nationals taking away orphans for exploitation as part of an adoption racket, saying it’s high time to put an end to child trafficking and that the guilty should be brought to book.

A bench of Justices Ranjan Gogoi and N V Ramana said the fact that Indian children were being virtually traded through adoption is “very disturbing” and barred a Canadian woman of Indian origin from adopting a child from the country.

Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, appearing for an NGO seeking a ban on inter-country adoption, told the bench that under the guise of adoption, children were being used for organ trade in some cases and asked the court to frame stricter guidelines to regulate adoption. He referred UNICEF and TOI reports to substantiate his claim that a huge international adoption racket is operating in the country.

“Government has no time to look into the issue. We have a case where a girl was taken to US but she was not taken care by her adopted parents and she indulged in drug trafficking. She was also not granted US citizenship. Children are being exploited and lots of money is involved in the racket but government is not doing anything,” Naphade said.

He also pointed out that J K Mittal, chairman of Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), a nodal agency for adoption under the women and child development ministry, was himself arrested for alleged involvement in an adoption racket after he was caught taking bribe.

“These are very disturbing facts. CARA is supposed to keep an eye on adoption and was evolved after a Supreme Court verdict. But its head is himself facing prosecution,” the bench said and added, “I had a very high opinion of CARA. This is how institution comes down at the hands of an individual.”

The court rejected the plea of the Canadian woman, Mytreyi Bharadwa, for allowing her to take a child, adopted by her from a Kolkata orphanage six years ago, to Toronto after the bench came to know that her associate had given bribe to former CARA chief. It also restrained her from adopting any other child in the country.

“Don’t worry about the child. You will not get adoption from anywhere in the country. You go to some other country to adopt child,” Justice Gogoi said when her counsel Neela Gokhale said she has been taking care of the child for the last six years.

“We are of the view that she will not be entitled for any relief from any court for adoption. We dismiss her plea,” the bench said. The court said it would hear the issue of inter-country adoption on July 14.

The bench raised question as to how she was given a ‘no-objection’ certificate by CARA without a proper inquiry. “How did you reach the conclusion for giving no-objection certificate. We want to know the details. Where is the home study report of the person who wanted to adopt,” it asked the Centre.

The government, however, failed to answer the queries put by the bench which refused to grant more time and dismissed the woman’s plea.

As per government records, 21,736 children were adopted in India in the last five years of which 2,156 were adopted by foreign nationals. In 2010, 6,321 children were adopted. However, the number of adoptions came down to 4,354 in 2013 and 1,622 children were adopted during April-September in 2014.