June 20, 2023 11:51 pm | Updated June 21, 2023 07:19 am IST - New Delhi
Uncertainty created by Bombay High Court halted adoptions in Maharashtra
Over 2,297 adoptions took place in India in the last nine months under amended adoption rules which came into force in September last year, a senior official from the Women and Child Development Ministry (WCD) on Tuesday said.
At present, 2,191 children are available for adoption in India. As many as 30,217 Prospective adoptive Parent (PAP) are registered for adoption in India and 984 in countries abroad.
According to the WCD Ministry records, as many as 997 cases of adoption were pending in court when the amended Juvenile Justice Act came into force.
Among the pending case, maximum adoptions took place in West Bengal where 139 cases were pending and 130 have been cleared. In Bihar, among the 92 pending adoption cases, 20 are pending.
“Among the 997 pending cases of adoptions, 858 Adoption Orders have been issued till June 2023 and 139 are pending,” said the official.
The data accessed by The Hindu shows that Maharashtra lags in adoptions due to the Bombay High Court’s interim order in implementation of new rules. In September, 2022, total 174 cases were pending in the court in the State.
“To be precise, 35 new matters of adoption are pending with District Magistrates (DM) in Maharashtra and 329 cases are pending at either Specialised Adoption Agency (SAA) or District Child Protection Unit level due to uncertainty created as a result of the interim order of the Bombay High Court.
Under the new adoption rules, as per Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill, 2021, the DMs were empowered to give adoption orders. The Bill came into force with an aim to prevent court-related delays in the process of adoptions which has crated a lot of pendency. The amendments came into effect on September 1, 2022.
Not just the adoption orders, the Bill also empowers DMs to independently evaluate the functioning of all the Child Protection Units in the districts along with the Child Welfare Committees and Juvenile Justice Boards along with Specialised Juvenile Police Units.
Also, 359 cases of adoptions are pending with the Child Welfare Committees and 332 with the SAA.
The official said adoption counselling had been stipulated at pre-adoption, adoption and post-adoption levels both for older children and the adoptive parents. Counsellors were being trained with the help of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences under SAMVAD, the official said.