Second surge of COVID-19 has not only brought fatalities, economic losses and temporary devastation to our society but it has given additional permanent bruise, which is, more and more children are becoming orphans. Amidst this corona pandemic, many Children have lost their parent(s) to the current malady, and this has given birth to the new term that is ‘Covid-Orphans’. Though the below mentioned guidelines and regulations are applicable for almost every orphan or abandoned child anywhere in the Indian territories, but the article is principally centred on covid orphans. With the people succumbing to corona disease is on the rise, posts regarding ‘Adoption of Children’ started doing rounds on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram and so on, hence the issue of Covid – Orphans needed to be tackled specifically.
Legality Of Such Adoption Requests On Social Media
The social media posts concerning adoptions of children are absolutely illegal, as they are not protected by lawful procedure. These posts are unlawful underneath Section 80 and Section 81 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
Where Section 80 sums up to that, If somebody or any organisation offers or gives or receives, any orphan, abandoned or surrendered child, for the purpose of adoption without following the provisions or procedures as provided in this Act, such person or organisation shall be punishable with imprisonment of either description for a term which can extend up to 3 years, or with fine of 1 lakh rupees, or with both: Provided in case where the offence is committed by a recognised adoption agency, additionally to the above penalty awarded to the persons in-charge of, and responsible for the conduct of the day-to-day affairs of the adoption agency, the registration of such agency under Section forty one and its recognition under Section sixty five shall also be withdrawn for a minimum amount of 1 year.
And Section 81 concludes, If someone sells or buys a child for any purpose shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for the term which can be up to 5 years and shall also be liable to fine of 1 lakh rupees: Provided that where such offence is committed by a person having actual charge of the child, including employees of a hospital or nursing home or maternity home, the term of imprisonment shall not be less than three years and may extend up to seven years.
Adoption Process Of Orphans In India
Adoption in India is principally controlled by CARA guidelines and is also in accordance to the Juvenile Justice (care and protection of children) Act, 2015
CARA is the central body for adoption of Indian children and is mandated to promote and facilitate In-country adoptions and regulate Inter-country adoptions, as Central Authority of Government of India. There are other stake holders too vis; for State level “bal vikas samiti’; for District level, ‘child care unit’. These agencies are regulated and coordinated by guidelines of the same issued by CARA.
Who Is Eligible To Adopt:
- The potential adoptive parents should be physically, mentally and emotionally stable; financially capable; motivated to adopt a child; and should not have any life-threatening medical condition;
- Any prospective adoptive parent, regardless of his marital status and whether or not has his own biological son or daughter, can adopt a child;
- Single female can adopt a child of any gender;
- Whereas Single male shall not be eligible to adopt a girl child;
- In case of a married couple, the consent of each of the spouses is mandatory;
- No child shall be given in adoption to a married couple unless they have at least two years of stable marital relationship;
- To adopt a child whose age is less than 4, the maximum combined age of both parents can be 90 and 45 when it comes to single parent. For adoption of child above the age of 4, the maximum composite age for the potential adopters can be 100 years and 50 years in case of single parent. For adoption of a child between 8 and 18 years, maximum composite age is 110 years and 55 years for single parent.
- The parent(s) who are looking for adoption of a child have to register online with CARA and after that they can give their preferences and upload the documents, as mentioned on CARA official website. Such as AADHAR card (Husband + Wife), passport size photo, income certificate, age proof (Husband + Wife), marriage certificate, investment details, same medical report i.e., HIV report, any other document mentioned on website.
- Once the registration is completed, the potential adoptive parent(s) can select a ‘Specialised Adoption Agency’, nearby their place of residence, for Home Study Report.
- The Home Study Report remains valid for three years and confirms the suitability of the parents for adopting a child.
- once the potential adoptive parent(s) are found to be eligible and suitable, they are given referrals of children legally free for adoption.
- The prospective adoptive parents have to reserve a child referred to them within forty-eight hours. An appointment is thereafter fixed with the adoption committee of the agency for matching the Prospective adoptive parents with the appropriate child.
What Else Can Be Done
Other than this, any information of such a child must be given to concerned authorities which are these 4 agencies.
- child-line 1098,
- child welfare committee,
- district child protection officer,
- state commission for protection of child rights.
- And any such child must be produced before the child welfare committee as per Section 31 of Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 which states that, (1) Any child in need of care and protection may be produced before the Committee by any of the following persons, which are:
- (i) any police officer or special juvenile police unit or a designated Child Welfare Police Officer or any officer of District Child Protection Unit or inspector appointed under any labour law for the time being in force;
- (ii) any public servant;
- (iii) Childline Services or any voluntary or non-governmental organisation or any agency as may be recognised by the respective State Government;
- (iv) Child Welfare Officer or probation officer;
- (v) any social worker; or
- (vi) any nurse, doctor or management of a nursing home, hospital or maternity home: Provided that the child shall be produced before the Committee without any loss of time but within a period of twenty-four hours excluding the time necessary for the journey.
- (2) The State Government may make rules consistent with this Act, to provide for the manner of submitting the report to the Committee and the manner of sending and entrusting the child to children’s home or fit facility or fit person, as the case may be, during the period of the inquiry
With death toll rising each passing day in second wave of COVID-19, more and more children are becoming orphan, still even in good faith of adopting a child for proper care and affection, one should not take the adoption without following the proper procedure and guidelines. The loss is weighed more than the mere death counts, it will burden a whole coming generation. And hence it is responsibility of all of us to not let the COVID-19 become a tool for people with ill intentions, paedophiles and traffickers.