Adoptions: India

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States with the highest number of adoption cases; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, September 8, 2016

This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.


The law

Adopted child has same rights as biological offspring

Ambika Pandit, Sep 19, 2019: The Times of India

The Central Adoption Resource Authority (Cara) has said the law makes it clear that any child once adopted legally has rights equal to that of a biological child.

Cara’s observations have come in response to a railways circular shared on micro-blogging site Twitter in connection with a case where a Bengaluru-based railway employee, who applied for the unique medical identification (UMID) smart card for health facilities, was told that only the first of her two adopted children was eligible for facilities as a dependent.

The woman officer, Veena A Nayak, now wants to include her son’s name as a dependent. The daughter is now 18 years old and son is 14.

Nayak had applied for the UMID card for her son in August, but she received a response which said that “only the first adopted child (if already accepted by administration, provided you had intimated) is eligible for facilities as your dependent. Hence you may please submit the UMID application of the first adopted child for further action”.

Her case found mention in a tweet shared by voluntary organisation, Families of Joy, that shared the response of the railway division she works for. The NGO also shared a circular dated September 9, 2000. In the circular related to health facilities in the definition of family members it is stated that step sons, unmarried step daughters, married step daughters and one adopted child are covered.

Cara CEO Deepak Kumar responded to the tweet, stating, “These are dated letters of the railways and definitely requires to be revisited and amended in line with the present laws. In this direction, attention of the railways must be drawn to Sections 2 (2) and 63 of the JJ Act, 2015 as well as Section 12 of Hindu Adoption & Maintenance Act.”

Section 2 (2) makes it clear that “adoption” means the process through which the adopted child is permanently separated from his biological parents and become the legitimate child of his adoptive parents with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities that are attached to the relationship. Section 63 states emphasises on the adopted child’s rights as equivalent to a biological child after the adoption order is legally formalised.

Adoption can’t be restricted to those in need of care: HC

Vaibhav Ganjapure, July 2, 2021: The Times of India

NAGPUR: In a landmark verdict, the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court has ruled that adoption can’t be restricted to orphaned, abandoned and surrendered children, those in conflict with law or ones in need of care and protection.

While partly allowing a revision application filed by the biological and adoptive parents of a girl, Justice Manish Pitale quashed the Yavatmal district court’s order rejecting their adoption plea. The district court held that provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, weren’t applicable in this case since the child wasn’t abandoned, orphaned or surrendered, or in conflict with law and in need of care and protection.

“A perusal of the JJ Act shows that an elaborate procedure is laid down and contemplated for adoption of a child by relatives, who are also specified under the said enactment. If adoption was to be restrictively applicable only to children in conflict with law or those in need of care and protection, such elaborate provisions governing the procedure for adoption by relatives or step-parents wouldn’t have been provided,” the HC said.

Justice Pitale directed the Yavatmal judge to hear the application once again on merit, while considering the new provisions of the legislation.

After both set of parents knocked the judiciary’s doors through counsel Ira Khisti, the HC had appointed Firdos Mirza as amicus curiae to assist it. The latter informed that if the JJ Act, 2015, is compared to the earlier enactment, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000, it becomes evident that various new provisions have been enacted in the law, thereby broadening the scope of legislation and including in its fold specific procedure for adoption of children.

Pointing out to Chapter VIII of the JJ Act, 2015, he contended that no such chapter existed in the earlier Act and that this is a significant departure. He also stated Section 2(3) defines ‘adoption regulations’, 2(12) defines ‘child’, 2(52) defines ‘relative’ and 2(57) defines ‘Specialized Adoption Agency’ to contend there was a conscious departure from JJ Act, 2000.

Quoting adoption regulations of 2017, Justice Pitale said those have been framed by exercising powers under the JJ Act, 2015. “...The JJ Act, 2015, not only intends to take care of children, who are in conflict with law and those in need of care and protection, but also to provide for and regulate adoption of children from relatives and step-parents”.

Those who lost

Chakshu Roy, July 17, 2022: The Indian Express

In July of 1987, Mithilesh Kumar Sinha was the most protected man in the country. The authorities housed the frail 67-year-old man in a Lutyens bungalow. Police officers surrounded him, and a doctor checked on his health regularly. He headed an organisation called the Goodman’s party, which wanted the creation of a Ministry of Character Training. Shri Sinha was the third candidate in the election for a new President after Giani Zail Singh, and his continued good health was vital. He told the media, “My life has become entwined with that of Rajiv Gandhi. If anything happens to me, the election will be postponed, Zail Singh will continue as a caretaker president, and you know how eager Mr Gandhi is to get him out.”

Presidential elections are a straightforward affair. The ruling party’s candidate wins easily, and sometimes the opposing candidate loses his deposit. Like in 1997 when K R Narayanan trounced former Chief Election Commissioner T N Seshan. And it started with the first election in which President Rajendra Prasad was the consensus candidate despite the reluctance of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Opposing Prasad was K T Shah, a professor of economics and an active contributor to the framing of the Constitution. As a Constituent Assembly member, he suggested that people elect the President by a popular vote rather than an electoral college of elected representatives. In his unsuccessful bid for the highest office in the country, he received 15% of the votes.

President Prasad did not face a serious challenge for his second term, nor did President Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, when he was elected in 1962. But the elections of 1967 were a different matter. In the general elections held earlier that year, the Congress had lost power in multiple states and had reduced majority at the Centre. The Opposition convinced Chief Justice of India (CJI) Kota Subbarao to resign and challenge the government’s candidate, Zakir Hussain. In his last acts as CJI, Subbarao authored the judgment where the Supreme Court ruled that Parliament could not curtail fundamental rights. He secured 43% of the votes in the first stiffly contested presidential election.

Two years later, President Zakir Hussain’s untimely death necessitated an election in 1969. PM Indira Gandhi faced resistance from within about the choice of the presidential candidate. Her opponents wanted Lok Sabha Speaker Neelam Sanjiva Reddy. She saw it as a bid to remove her as PM. Things took a strange turn when Vice-President V V Giri resigned and stood for the election as an Independent. The ruling party’s candidate was Speaker Reddy, and some of the Opposition parties supported Shri C D Deshmukh, who had been RBI Governor and Finance Minister. There was massive cross-voting by Congress legislators for Giri. It led to the defeat of the party’s official candidate.

The election of the 6th President in 1974 was a tame affair. By then, PM Gandhi had a firm grip on her party, and its candidate Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed easily defeated the Opposition’s Tridib Chaudhuri, a freedom fighter and veteran parliamentarian. During his fifth term in the Lok Sabha, Chaudhuri contested the presidential poll and continued to serve two more terms in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha after his loss.

President Ahmed’s death in office resulted in another early poll, in which Sanjiva Reddy won unopposed.

In the 1982 elections, another former Supreme Court judge, H R Khanna, was the Opposition candidate against the Congress’s Giani Zail Singh. Justice Khanna was the judge who had stood up for the inviolability of the basic structure of the Constitution and the protection of fundamental rights during the Emergency. The government later superseded him for the position of CJI.

A third apex court judge, V R Krishna Iyer, contested the presidential election, in 1987. Justice Iyer and Mithilesh Sinha stood against the Congress’s R Venkataraman. Iyer had won an MLA election in Kerala and been a minister in the state. His interpretation of the right to life as a judge influenced the court in later years.

In this election, both Iyer and Sinha urged the government to give them time on television and radio to air their views, which was rejected. The election is remembered less for Venkataraman’s victory and more for Sinha hogging the media attention and getting seven votes.

Child once given for adoption cannot be taken back

The Times of India, December 5, 2016

Jolt to mom as HC says child will stay with adoptive parents

The Calcutta high court has directed that a two-year-old child would remain with a couple who had adopted her, despite the biological mother's tearful plea to get her back, noting that a lower court had passed the order for adoption of the child.

A division bench comprising justices Ashim Kumar Ray and M M Banerjee observed that since it was hearing a habeas corpus petition by the girl's biological mother Jayashree Chowdhury , it would not tinker with the order of a Malda district court that had allowed the adoption.

Jayashree had married in her teens and had given birth to the child in September 2014. Within a few months of the birth of the child, she filed a complaint of having been thrown out of her in-laws' house. The child was then handed over to an NGO and Jayashree was sent to a government home. A few months later, Jayashree was reunited with her husband and pleaded with authorities to get her child back.

HC: Biological mother has no right over child adopted by 2nd husband

Ajay Sura, October 28, 2018: The Times of India

Punjab and Haryana HC recently ruled that a biological mother has no right over her child after the latter is adopted by her second husband.

Justice R K Jain passed these orders while dismissing a petition filed by a 13-year-old girl through her mother, who resides in Australia. The woman’s second husband had adopted her daughter in 2009. The woman now wants to shift her daughter to Australia without the adoptive father’s permission.

In the petition, the woman had sought directions to the Australian high commission that it should not insist on a no-objection certificate/signatures of the adoptive father on the NOC that she had filled to obtain a visa for the girl.

An objection was raised by the Australian high commission — it said since the petitioner was less than 18 years of age, the form submitted by her mother should also be signed by the non-accompanying adoptive father.

The minor through her mother then approached the HC, submitting that it is the right of a child as per the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child to decide which parent he/she would like to live with. Hearing the petition, Justice Jain observed, “Even if it is presumed for the sake of arguments that the petitioner minor girl is the biological daughter of her mother, yet there is no dispute that the mother has given her daughter in adoption by way of an adoption deed.”

Siblings can be separated during adoption with consent

Siblings can be separated during adoption with consent: Maneka, January 3, 2018: The Times of India

In a significant development that will play a decisive role in the adoption of siblings, soon the consent of a child above five years of age in the adoption pool of the Child Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) could be sought before separating him or her from the sibling to enable adoption.

This will be a break from the current position wherein siblings are adopted together by a prospective parent. The Juvenile Justice Act 2015 too prescribes that all efforts must be made to keep siblings together, unless it is in the best interest of the child.

However, it has been clarified that the change being made will be a decision on a case-to-case basis and siblings will not be split as a norm. A detailed assessment by the Child Welfare Committee and CARA will determine if the siblings are to be separated even after a child agrees for adoption. There are over 80 sets of siblings accounting for 176 children in CARA’s adoption pool at present.

In keeping with the JJ Act, CARA has been placing siblings with the same family except in rare cases. “But this will now be changed,” women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi said on Tuesday. While children above five will have to give consent, CARA will assess the best interest in consultation with other stakeholders in case of younger ones, an official explained.

Gandhi justified the decision by citing a prospective parent’s complaint. “The woman was told she can’t have a child as it was a sibling. Now we have changed that to say that if it is a child above five, we’ll do what the child wants.”

Currently, siblings are adopted together. The JJ Act 2015 too prescribes that all efforts must be made to keep them together

Adoption agencies

2016-19:  776 children died in adoption agencies

July 13, 2019: The Times of India

As many as 776 children, including 124 in Uttar Pradesh and 107 in Bihar have died at specialised adoption agencies between 2016-17 to July 8, 2019, the women and child development (WCD) ministry informed Lok Sabha on Friday in response to a question. WCD minister Smriti Irani gave the data according to which the highest number of deaths of children have been reported from Uttar Pradesh. These deaths occurred across 19 specialised adoption agencies in the state.

Specialised adoption agencies (SAA) cater to children in the age group of 0-6 years. The minister said so far, a total number of 10 complaints have been received by the government against SAAs from across states, which were found to be not complying with the adoption regulations.

Before this in February, the government informed Parliament in response to a question in the Lok Sabha that a total number of 1,265 children have been reported to have died in the SAAs across states between April 2014 to January 31, 2019. The highest number of deaths over these five years years were reported from Maharashtra (172) followed by 170 in Uttar Pradesh and 134 in Bihar.

Adoptions by foreigners

2015: adoption rooms for foreigners eased

The Times of India

Mar 27 2015

Centre eases adoption rules for foreigners

Indrani Bagchi

Foreign nationals adopting Indian children can look forward to a less traumatic experience of taking home a child with the foreign ministry streamlining the passport issuance guidelines. The ministry will no longer insist on a separate birth certificate to issue a passport to an adopted child. The court order which is necessary for adoption will suffice as proof of birth date.

The order gains significance since prospective parents, instead of running from pillar to post to obtain a birth certificate, can now get an Indian passport for their adopted children based only on the court order.

Despite being a member of the Hague Convention from 1993, there were some rules that made things interminably long and difficult for people wanting to take home children from India.

Muktesh Pardeshi, chief passport officer, told TOI, “While our systems have become much better, we found that it was not serving or phans and abandoned children effectively.“ For interested parents, the route to adoption was tricky , because the process demanded a court order, a “no-objection certificate“ from Central Adoption Resource Authority , the nodal agency in the Indian government, and a birth certificate.

Adoptions by foreign citizens with Indian husbands

The Times of India, Jul 17 2015

Rosy Sequeira

`American with Indian hubby can adopt kid'

An American woman's prayers to adopt a 6-year-old boy with special needs in India were answered when the Bombay high court directed a district court to quickly process the application of the adoption agency .

The woman, along with her Indian husband, had moved court after the Central Adoption Resource Authority , the nodal body for adoption of Indian children, refused to grant an NOC, saying it was an inter-country adoption matter and she was required to comply with a rule pertaining to adoption by foreigners living in India. The HC allowed the couple to retain foster care of the born, born to an unwed mother and kept at a Pune orphanage-cum-adop tion agency, Arun Aashray .

The American, a trained nurse living in India since 2008, had volunteered with the agency and got acquainted with the boy . The court was earlier informed that he faced rejection thrice and suffered from behavioural and health problems.

CARA's advocate D A Nalawade told a bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice B P Colabawalla that it will treat the matter as an “exceptional case“ and insisted it was an inter-country adoption issue.Nalavade argued the American will have to comply with a CARA rule for foreigners and apply to the US embassy for an NOC. He said that also applicable would be the order of priority (NRIs, followed by overseas citizens of India, persons of Indian origin and foreign nationals).

SC: NOC is mandatory

Abhinav Garg, July 1, 2019: The Times of India

Foreigners looking to adopt a child from India must first get an No Objection Certificate from their country, Supreme Court has said in an important ruling governing inter-country adoptions.

A bench of justices Indira Bannerjee and Ajay Rastogi noted that as per Indian law and international covenants, “a foreigner or a person of Indian origin or an overseas citizen of India who habitually resides in India can apply for adoption of a child to Central Adoption Resource Authority along with a NOC from the diplomatic mission of his country.”

The apex court, in a recent ruling, agreed with the original decision of Delhi high court not to waive off requirement of an NOC in the case of an Australian woman seeking to adopt two children.

Despite a positive home study report declaring Karina Jane Creed eligible to adopt the children, HC had rejected her plea to allow the adoption, saying she should ensure an NOC from Australia, after CARA took a stand that an all-clear from the country of destination is mandatory.

The agency, through standing counsel Gaurang Kanth, cited the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2016 to underline that without an NOC, no adoption can be permitted.

Creed, who has been living in India for the past four years, had moved HC against the decision of CARA to deny her a chance to adopt the two children whom she had started visiting and they identified her as their mother. She argued that once her application for adoption had been registered and cleared, CARA should have allowed the process to finish.

But Kanth opposed her claim before SC, arguing that she has preferred a short-cut by moving the court instead of acquiring an NOC from Australian authorities, pointing out since India and Australia are signatories of the Hague Convention, which aims to ensure best interests of the child and guard it against trafficking, an NOC from the receiving foreign country is mandatory.

The SC saw merit in CARA’s stand and asked Creed’s counsel how, after the expiry of her visa, she proposed to ensure travel for the adopted children to Australia. She could only reply that the Australian authorities have issued a letter, but could not clarify if it would be sufficient to avail the visa.

According to the Article 5 of the Hague Convention, the receiving country has to determine if the prospective parents are eligible and suited to adopt, ensure the prospective parents have been counseled and the child will be authorised to enter and reside permanently in the country.

The Supreme Court agreed with the original decision of Delhi high court not to waive off requirement of an NOC in the case of an Australian woman seeking to adopt two children here


Australia resumes adoptions from India/ 2018

August 15, 2018: The Times of India

Australia resumes adoptions from India after 8 years of suspension:

Australia has resumed adoption of children from India after it was suspended eight years ago over charges of trafficking by some recognised Indian placement agencies, a senior WCD official said on Tuesday. The suspension was enforced in 2010 and the women and child development ministry along with Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) were constantly engaging with the Australian government for resuming the programme, he said. “The ministry was in constant touch with the Australian government to relent and allow adoptions from India and they have finally agreed,” the official said.

Creating awareness

September 2017/ "Jan Sampark" Program

Press Information Bureau, September 27, 2017

CARA launches monthly “Jan Sampark” Program to facilitate adoption

The Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) of the Ministry of Women & Child Development has started a monthly “Jan Sampark” program to enable the public to have interaction with its officials and staff for seeking information related to Adoption as well as flagging their concerns.

The first of its kind programme was held in New Delhi yesterday. Nearly 150 Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPs), Adoptive Parents and representatives of agencies participated in the session, which lasted for more than four hours.

Details pertaining to Immediate Placement and Special Needs Adoption Module of Child Adoption Resource Information & Guidance System (CARINGS) as well as the newly launched Grievance/Query portal were shared with all the stakeholders. Also many of the PAPs were counselled and motivated to go for adopting older children.

Different perspectives

Missionaries of Charity’s stand

The Times of India, Oct 14 2015

Picture courtesy: The Times of India, Oct 14 2015
Who can adopt a child in India, and who cannot? The broad guidelines; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, Oct 14 2015

Govt can't force nuns to continue adoption work: Legal experts

A recent decision by the Missionaries of Charity (MoC) to discontinue adoption work

Lawyers, pointed out that no one had a right to force MoC -the Roman Catholic order founded by Mother Teresa 65 years ago -to continue adoptions. Though the Missionaries of Charity has not clearly specified its opposition to the single-parent rule, the release it issued did link the decision to the new adoption guidelines, under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 which came into effect from August 2015. The new rules require registration of every prospective parent online. The Central Adoption Resource Authority (Cara) then assigns them a registered adoption agency when their turn comes.

This means that the issue of “religion will now come to the fore, said Bharati Dasgupta of Catalysts for Social Action which works towards rehabilitation of abandoned, destitute children in Maharashtra. “Even earlier guidelines permitted adoption by single parents, but some agencies were perhaps not following that norm. Now that there is no escape route--due to centralized database of registration by adoptive parents--the MoC may have decided to opt out.“ But having said that, Dasgupta added that it was MoC's choice and no one could compel them to continue working as an adoption agency. “An agency cannot give precedence to religion over national laws or guidelines. But every agency needs to apply for renewal of its license regularly and the government authority can extend it or cancel it; similarly, the agency can choose to seek renewal or not.

Eligibility to adopt children

Single working women can adopt: HC

Swati Deshpande, April 13, 2023: The Times of India

Mumbai : Observing that “by no stretch of imagination, a single parent can be held to be ineligible to be an adoptive parent on the grounds that he or she is a working person”, the Bombay high court Wednesday allowed a divorced working woman to adopt her sister’s child, reports Swati Deshpande.

The juvenile justice law provides that “a single or divorced person” is eligible to adopt, said the high court, adding that the district court’s denial reflected a “medieval” concept of family. A Bhusawal court denied adoption “only on the grounds that the prospective parent is a single lady and a divorcee, and, she being a working lady, will not be able to give personal attention to the child”.


2014-18: girls preferred

Indians prefer to adopt girls; Maha at forefront, May 7, 2018: The Times of India

Nearly 60% of children adopted in the last six years were girls across states in India, led by Maharashtra which also recorded the highest number of adoptions in recent years, government data showed. Of the 3,276 children adopted in the country in 2017-18, a total of 1,858 were girls, the data showed.

In reply to an RTI filed by this correspondent on the number of adoptions in every state since 2012, Child Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) said Maharashtra was at the forefront in adopting girls.

The number of girls adopted in 2017 was 353 out of a total of 642 adoptions in the state.

Karnataka followed with 286 adoptions, 167 of them girls, CARA, the apex body for adoption in the country, said.

Maharashtra’s high score was not just because of the size of the state, but because of the large number of adoption agencies there, said CARA CEO Lieutenant Colonel Deepak Kumar. “Maharashtra has the highest number of adoption agencies in the country at 60 while other states that are bigger have on an average 20 adoption agencies,” he said.

In 2017-18, there was an increase in the number of incountry adoptions. Of the 3,276 children adopted within India, 1,858 were girls and 1,418 boys, according to the data given in response to the RTI query.

The inter-country adoption also saw an increase, with the number rising from 578 in 2016-17 to 651 in 2017-18.

In 2016-2017, out of the 3,210 children adopted within

India, 1,915 or almost 60% were girls. Maharashtra (711) and Karnataka (252) again recorded the highest numbers, followed by West Bengal (203).

Data for the past five years showed that on an average, 59.77% of couples adopted a girl and 40.23% a boy. “This reflects that things are changing now. Moreover, people feel that it is easier to manage a girl child than a boy, and that’s another big plus point for the girl child to be considered for adoption,” Kumar said.

Kumar refuted reports that more girls were adopted because many more of them were given away for adoption.

"It is not that availability of the girl child is higher but that parents are opting more for a girl child. We give them three choices — one can either opt for a girl or a boy or can give no preference...The percentage of those opting specifically for girls to boys would be 55:45," he said.

Similar trends were observed for the years since 2012, the period the RTI query focused on. Of the 5,002 adoptions in 2012-13, 3,050 were girls, and of 4,354 in 2013-14, 2,601 were girls.

In 2014-15, 2,555 of the 4,362 children adopted were girls while in 2015-16, 2,295 of the 3,677 adopted were girls. Even states with low sex ratios such as Haryana and UP, couples were opting for adopting girls. In Haryana, 31 girls and 19 boys were adopted while in UP, 86 girls and 40 boys were adopted in 2016-17, according to the data.

The data come amid a report by NITI Aayog which said the sex ratio at birth in India had seen a decline in 17 out of the 21 large states.

2015: Girl child preferred

The Times of India, December 4, 2015

Children adopted in India, 2012-15, total number and gender-wise break up ; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, December 4, 2015

Himanshi Dhawan  When it comes to adoptions, Indians prefer the girl child

The famed Indian preference for boys is turned on its head when it comes o adoption. It appears that when Indian parents, deprived of a child by nature, go seeking an offspring -it's usually for a girl. Data for the ast three years reveals that a significantly higher number of girls are adopted than boys. According to Central Adoption Resource Author ty (CARA) records, 1,848 boys were adopted in 20122013 as compared to 2,846 girls. Total adoptions in the year were 4,694. Since then, adoptions declined in 2013 but he preference for girls has persisted. In 2013-2014, prospective parents adopted 2,293 girls as compared to 1,631 boys while in 2014-2015, 2,300 girls were adopted as compared to 1,688 boys. While total domestic adoptions have come down from 4,694 to 3,924 in 2013-2014, it has increased marginally to 3,988 this year.

While lesser availability of boys for adoption is a factor which could be driving this trend, it is also true that couples who have given up hope of having a child of their own do not mull too much over gender since adoption in India continues to be a long-drawn process.

However, the number of adoptions is still way below the demand. There are about 9,000 prospective parents registered with CARA. Adoption data however paints a dismal picture so far. The highest number of children adopted was 6,593 in 2011-2012. Since then, the numbers have steadily declined till this year. There are an estimated 50,000 children in need for a secure home and care and protection. Women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi has set an ambitious target of 15,000 adoptions for this year.

Gandhi has in recent times been severely critical of the functioning of adoption agencies. In fact, the ministry introduced fresh guidelines for adoption in August this year. The norms mandate all agencies involved to be registered online with a central database of children.

According to experts, one of the reasons why girls may be preferred for adoption could be the increasing number of single women keen to complete their family . “In case a single woman adopts, the preference is for a girl child,“ an NGO representative said.

2015-18, girl child preferred

Shiv Sahay Singh, 60% children adopted in India between 2015 and 2018 are girls, February 11, 2019: The Hindu

About 60% of children adopted in India were girls. The figure is 69% when it comes to inter-country adoptions, 2015-December 2018
From: Shiv Sahay Singh, 60% children adopted in India between 2015 and 2018 are girls, February 11, 2019: The Hindu

Data from the Ministry of Women and Child Development shows that of the 11,649 children adopted, 6,962 were girls and 4,687 were boys

India may have a skewed gender ratio, but the female child happens to be the first choice when it comes to adoption. The number of female children placed for in-country adoptions and inter-country adoptions between 2015 and 2018 are relatively higher than male children.

During this period, about 11,649 children were put up for in-country adoptions; of them 6,962 were girls and 4,687 were boys. Of the 3,011 children that were placed for in-country adoption in 2015-16, as many as 1,855 were female children. In the year 2016-17, as many as 3,210 children were placed under in-country adoptions and of them 1,915 were females. The figures for 2017-18 and 2018-19 (till December 2018) were 3,276 and 2,152, of which the numbers of girl children were 1943 and 1249 respectively.

All the figures put together, female children comprise almost 60% of all in-country adoptions. When it came to inter-country adoptions, the number of female children was even higher: 69%. Of the 2,310 children placed under adoption between the same period, 1,594 were females.

The data was tabled by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in the Lok Sabha on February 8, in response to a question by members Tej Pratap Sigh Yadav, L.R. Shivarame Gowda and Anju Bala.

Prajakta Kulkarni, a member of the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), said there was little doubt that more girls were being adopted and it reflected that gender bias and the attitude of people against the girl child are changing across the country. Ms. Kulkarni, who represents the NGO-run Specialised Adoption Agency in the CARA steering committee, said the whole issue of more girls getting adopted needs to be looked into with research.

More girls for adoption?

Sindhu Naik, member, Adoption Scrutiny Committee, State Council of Child Welfare (Karnataka), said that one has to also look whether more girls were coming for adoption. Ms. Naik said that the urban middle class people were preferring female children because they are concerned and aware of the situation of the girl child. The situation may not be the same for villages and small towns, she said.

2018-22: girls preferred

Ambika Pandit, July 17, 2022: The Times of India

Children adopted in India, 2018-22, total number and gender-wise break up
From: Ambika Pandit, July 17, 2022: The Times of India

New Delhi: Of the 2,991 domestic ‘in-country’ adoptions made between April 2021 and March 2022, as many as 1,698 were girls. 
A closer look at the data from 2013-14 onwards, uploaded on the website of the Central Adoption Resource Authority, confirms that more girls are given for adoption in India than boys.

While this does indicate that more couples are willingly adopting girls and shows a change in mindset, it also brings into focus the fact that many more girls tend to be abandoned at birth than boys. Hence, many more of them are likely to make it to the adoption pool and get adopted. This change in mindset has been visible for the past 8-10 years and remains consistent.


To reduce delays, DMs likely to get final say

Ambika.Pandit, To reduce delays, DMs likely to get final say in adoption cases, January, 2018: The Times of India

In a move to prevent long delays in courts and expedite adoption, the ministry of women and child development (WCD) has prepared a proposal to delegate the power to give final approval for enabling adoption of a child to the district magistrate.

As of now civil courts have the power to enable adoption after due process. Data with the WCD ministry shows that an estimated 600 to 700 adoption cases are pending in civil courts, many of them for long.

The detailed proposal is currently under review of the ministry of law. If there is consensus between the two ministries, the proposal will need Cabinet approval and an amendment to the Juvenile Justice Act 2015.

When asked about the proposal, WCD secretary Rakesh Srivastava said that delay in approval in civil courts has prompted the ministry to explore the option of shifting the power to the level of the district magistrate. He pointed that it was felt that the civil courts were already burdened with a vast case load and often matters such as adoption keep getting delayed. “While the law stipulates a timeframe, the delay in approvals stretch way beyond the laid out time period. There are cases pending for years,” the WCD secretary said.

The change being sought pertains to section 2, sub section 23 of JJ Act. It is proposed to change the definition of “court” from “civil court” to “court of district magistrate”. The view in the WCD ministry is that the change will enable faster disposal of cases and also better scrutiny since the district magistrate is also incharge of the area and has access to all departments in case some verifications or field reports in a case are required urgently.

However, to effect this change may not be all that easy for it will require a significant nationwide shift from the existing system involving the role of civil courts in adoption. Also it is learnt that voluntary organisations, academicians and activists working in the field of child rights are planning to write to the WCD ministry asking it to reconsider the proposal.

The ministry of women and child development has prepared a proposal to delegate the power to give the final approval for adoption to the magistrate. As of now, civil courts have the power to enable adoption after the due process

Search for biological family

Attorney not a third party in particular cases

Swati Deshpande, Oct 10, 2019: The Times of India

Adopted rights of adopted children
From: Swati Deshpande, Oct 10, 2019: The Times of India

In a relief to an adoptee from India who lives in Switzerland, the Bombay high court allowed her to search for her Indian roots via a power of attorney (PoA) holder.

Though the Maharashtra department of women and child development had objected to the search through a third party, the high court recognised the hurdles the distance and her current location placed on her search and observed that her constituted attorney cannot, under such circumstances, be considered a third party.

Beena Makhijani Muller was born on March 31,1978, in India. She was adopted the same year and is currently in Albisstr, Switzerland. Her petition said she was adopted by V K Makhijani from Asha Sadan, an adoption agency in Mumbai, and later taken to Switzerland.

In 2013, she decided to search for her roots — her biological parents — and approached the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), which in turn wrote to the state adoption resource authority (SARA). In May 2015, she hit a roadblock after she appointed Anjali Pawar as PoA for the search.

In court, too, appearing for the state, assistant government pleader Pravin Sawant cited Rule 44 of the Adoption Regulations 2017 to argue that a PoA is a third party to whom details of an adoptee’s roots can’t be given. He said details could only be given to the beneficiary.

Muller’s petition pointed to a landmark SC order of 1984 that recognised an adoptee’s right to know about her/ his roots on turning adult. The HC asked the state authorities to assist the PoA in the search. It argued that her PoA is a Pune resident who has been working for child protection, women and other social issues since 1998.

Pawar, the plea said, has worked on inter-country adoption issues since 2006 and helped adoptees, who have been searching for their biological parents. Muller said she couldn’t stay in India longer and hence requested her constituted attorney to work on her root search case as it was an adoptee’s fundamental right to know their original identity.


2010-14: Trends

The Times of India

2010-14: in-country and tnter-country adoptions

Feb 21 2015

50% dip in figure from 2010 to 2014

With an estimated 50,000 orphan children in want of safe homes in the country, Union minister Maneka Gandhi on Friday blamed the “idleness and deliberate lying“ of adoption agencies for delays and bottlenecks in the process. Domestic adoptions in India have nearly halved from 5,693 in 2010 to 2,503 in 2014. Maneka, who holds charge as minister for women and child development, said she wanted 15,000 children adopted in a year instead of the annual rate of 800-1000. “I am actually appalled by all of you. I have found bottlenecks, idleness, unconcern, deliberate lying... in this process you have destroyed thousands of lives,“ she said.

The minister was addressing the national meet on adoption organized by Cara (Central Adoption Resource Authority). Describing the agencies as “irresponsible and unaccountable Gandhi said, “When I joined in 2000, the adoption rate was 1,500-1,200, which tumbled to 400-800 per year. In a country which has got 50,000 orphans who can be adopted, it is shameful that the number is 800 to 1,000,... and it continues to come down. The minister also accused some agencies of preferring foreign parents over Indians. “Many of you won't give (the child) to Indians, you wait for a foreigner. I have zero tolerance for anybody who denies adoption. In our new act, Cara will have a lot of power.One of its powers is to remove Sara (State Adoption Resource Authority), to remove adoption agencies, to completely ban them,“ he said.

The minister also said that a foster care scheme will be launched for orphan children under which families will be paid by the government to keep them.

In an effort to provide identity and improved monitoring of orphans, the ministry gave away Aadhaar cards to children from adoption homes.

The ministry is also hoping to notify the new adoption guidelines governing adoption that is expected to speed up the process and introduce transparency . Maneka gave directions that the entire process of adopting a child should not take more than four months and the performance of adoption agencies will now be monitored by the ministry and Cara on a weekly basis.

January-March 2015: A rise in adoption rate

The Times of India, Jul 07 2015

Adoptions up first time in 3 yrs; 50k still need homes

A doption of children in the country has gone up for the first time in three years, reports Himanshi Dhawan. An awareness campaign and a bid to cut down red-tape in the process of adoption can be credited for the spike in numbers -from 999 in October-December, 2014 to 1,368 between January and March 2015. The number is a fraction of 50,000 orphans requiring homes, according to latest data available with the Central Adoption Resource Authority . It has only 1,200 children lined up for adoption against the demand from 10,000 parents. Of them, 9,000 are Indians, the rest NRIs or foreigners.

In February 2015, WCD minister Maneka Gandhi had pulled up adoption agencies for “idleness and deliberate lying and said the figures were “shameful“, adding she wanted 15,000 kids to find homes a year.

2011-16, year-wise

The Times of India, June 8, 2016

In-country and intra-country adoptions, India, 2011-16 year-wise; Graphic courtesy: The Times of India, June 8, 2016

Himanshi Dhawan

Domestic adoptions have dropped by half, hitting a five-year low with only 3,011 children being adopted by Indian parents in 2015-16. The highest adoptions so far have been in 2011 when 5,964 children were adopted. Conversely , adoptions by foreigners are the highest in the past five years.In 2015-16, 666 children were adopted by foreign parents compared with 629 in 2011. Despite a burgeoning population of children in need of care, adoption levels continue to be low. In 2012-2013, 4,694 children were adopted domestically , which dropped to 3,924 the following year. In 2014-2015, domestic adoptions climbed marginally to 3,988 but have seen a downward spiral to 3,011 in 2015-2016.

Inter-country or adoptions by foreign nationals and NRIs have meanwhile increased. The number of adoptions in 2012-2013 was 308 which increased to 430 in 2013-2014, then dropped again to 374 in 2014-2015 before increasing to 666 in 2015-2016.

This data comes nearly a year after new adoption guidelines were introduced by the ministry of women and child development. The new guidelines on adoption that became effective from August 1, 2015 were expected to push domestic adoptions. Minister Maneka Gandhi had in fact given adoption agencies a target of 20,000 in August 2015.

However the system suffe red from several hiccups including NGOs like the Missionaries of Charity choosing to opt out of the adoption system and reluctance by many agencies to adapt to the online system. Officials said that organisations had dragged their feet in registering to the new online system CARINGS. “In some cases like Karnataka, the state has been actively working to register all agencies that are involved in adoption to streamline them. But some other states are indifferent to the process and that is reflected in the results, an official said.

Government sources said that the minister received dozens of complaints every day on the slow pace of adoption.

2016, state-wise

The Times of India, Aug 08 2016

Himanshi Dhawan

Maharashtra leads again in domestic adoptions

Maharashtra has been leading in domestic adoptions of children in India for 2013-16 even as the number of domestic adoptions has been steadily declining.

In 2016, between April and June, 800 children were adopted by Indian parents and 102 by foreigners, according to data from the Central Adoption Resource Authority, the central agency for adoption in India under the women and child development ministry .

Among states, Maharash tra has again topped with 159 kids adopted domestically and 26 internationally this year, followed by Bengal with 72 domestic adoptions and Odisha with 51domestic adoptions. Madhya Pradesh had the fourth largest do mestic adoption of children, with 50 kids being adopted till June this financial year, while Karnataka placed 44 children in domestic adoptions.

Last year (2015-2016), Maharashtra, followed by Karnataka, Telangana, Odisha and Tamil Nadu were the top five states in domestic adoptions. In 2013-2014, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu were the top five states while in 2014-2015, the top states were Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu.

Arunachal Pradesh has a poor record with no children adopted since 2013-2014 to date, except six domestic adoptions in 2014-2015.

The number of domestic adoptions has been declining while inter-country adoptions went up, even though recently amended guidelines seek to put Indian parents at an advantage. Domestic adoptions came down from 3,988 in 2014-2015 to 3,011 in 2015-2016.The number of children adopted from Maharashtra, for instance, came down from 1,068 in 2013-2014 to 947 in 20142015 and 724 in 2015-2016.

The amended guidelines for adoption of children which came into force in August 2015 include provisions for taking the entire process online, treating non-resident Indians at par with Indian parents, reducing the timeframe for completion of home study report from two months to one and authorising only specialised agencies for adoptions. However, the impact of the new provisions are yet to kick in.

2018: India vis-à-vis comparable countries

2018: The number of children adopted by the USA from China, India and other comparable countries.
From: July 2, 2020: The Times of India

See graphic:

2018: The number of children adopted by the USA from China, India and other comparable countries.

Who can adopt?


: PTI/ May 10, 2023

Indian laws permit an individual to adopt a child irrespective of marital status, the Supreme Court said while asserting that the law recognises there may be situations apart from an “ideal family” having its own biological children.

The CJI observed that our laws do recognise that you can adopt for a variety of reasons. “Even a single individual can adopt a child. He or she may be in a single sex relationship. You can adopt even if you are capable of biological birth. There is no compulsion of having biological birth,” the CJI said.

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