October 4, 2022

Procedure for Inter-country adoption laid down by Supreme Court in relation to destitute children

The supreme court got the chance to laid down principles and norms relating to Inter-country adoption in case[1] where a petition was filed a lawyer complaining of malpractices indulged in by social organisations and voluntary agencies engaged in the work of offering Indian children in adoption to foreign parents.

The supreme court laid down following procedure for inter-country adoption in case of destitute children.

Sponsored by Foreign Agency  

  • Every application from a foreigner desiring to adopt a child must be sponsored by a social or child welfare agency recognised or licensed by the government of the country in which the foreigner is resident.
  • No application by a foreigner for taking a child in adoption should be entertained directly by any social or welfare agency in India working in the area of inter-country adoption or by any institution or centre or home to which children are committed by the juvenile court.

Why these precautions are important?

This is essential primarily for three reasons-

Firstly, it will help to reduce, if not eliminate altogether the possibility of profiteering and trafficking in children, because if a foreigner were allowed to contact directly agencies or individuals in India for the purpose of obtaining a child in adoption, he might in his anxiety to secure a child for adoption, be induced or persuaded to pay any unconscionable or unreasonable amount which might be demanded by the agency or individual procuring the child.

Secondly, it would be almost impossible for the court to satisfy itself that the foreigner who wishes to take the child in adoption would be suitable as a parent for the child and whether he would be able to provide a stable and secure family life to the child and would be able to handle trans-racial, trans-cultural and trans-national problems likely to arise from such adoption, because, where the application for adopting a child has not been sponsored by a social or child welfare agency in the country of the foreigner, there would be no proper and satisfactory home study report on which the court can rely.

Thirdly, in such a case, where the application of a foreigner for taking a child in adoption is made directly without the intervention of a social or child welfare agency, there would be no authority or agency in the country of the foreigner who could be made responsible for supervising the progress of the child and ensuring that the child is adopted at the earliest in accordance with law and grows up in an atmosphere of warmth and affection with moral and material security assured to it.

It is not necessary that there should be only one social or child welfare agency in the foreign country through which an application for adoption of a child may be routed; there may be more than one such social or child welfare agencies, but every such social or child welfare agency must be licensed or recognised by the government of the foreign country and the court should not make an order for appointment of a foreigner as guardian unless it is satisfied that the application of the foreigner for adopting a child has been sponsored by such social or child welfare agency.

Home Study Report

Every application of a foreigner for taking a child in adoption

  • must be accompanied by a home study report and
  • the social or child welfare agency sponsoring such application should also send along with it a recent photograph of the family, a marriage certificate of the foreigner and his or her spouse as
  • also a declaration concerning their health together with a certificate regarding their medical fitness duly certificate by a medical doctor,
  • a declaration regarding their financial status along with supporting documents including employer’s certificate where applicable, income tax assessment orders, bank references and particulars concerning the properties owned by them, and
  • also a declaration stating that they are willing to be appointed guardian of the child and undertaking that they would adopt the child according to the law of their country within a period of not more than two years from the time of arrival of the child in their country and
  • give intimation of such adoption to the court appointing them as guardian as also to the social or child welfare agency in India processing their case,
  • they would maintain the child and provide it necessary education and up-bringing according to their status and they would also send to the court as also to the social or child welfare agency in India reports relating to the progress of the child along with its recent photograph, the frequency of such progress reports being quarterly during the first two years and half yearly for the next three years.

Power of Attorney

  • The application of the foreigner must also be accompanied by a Power of Attorney in favour of an Officer of the social or child welfare agency in India which is requested to process the case and such Power of Attorney should authorise the Attorney to handle the case on behalf of the foreigner in case the foreigner is not in a position to come to India.
  • The social or child welfare agency sponsoring the application of the foreigner must also certify that the foreigner seeking to adopt a child is permitted to do so according to the law of his country.

Notarising the documents

These certificates, declarations and documents which must accompany the application of the foreigner for taking a child in adoption, should be duly notarised by a Notary Public whose signature should be duly attested either by an Officer of the Ministry of External Affairs or Justice or Social Welfare of the country of the foreigner or by an Officer of the Indian Embassy or High Commission or Consulate in that country.

Undertaking by Agency

The social or child welfare agency sponsoring the application of the foreigner must also undertake while forwarding the application to the social or child welfare agency in India, that

  • it will ensure adoption of the child by the foreigner according to the law of his country within a period not exceeding two years and as soon as the adoption is effected,
  • it will send two certified copies of the adoption order to the social or child welfare agency in India through which the application for guardianship is processed, so that one copy can be filed in court and the other can remain with the social or child welfare agency in India.
  • The social or child welfare agency sponsoring the application must also agree to send to the concerned social or child welfare agency in India progress reports in regard to the child, quarterly during the first year and half yearly for the subsequent year or years until the adoption is effected, and
  • it must also undertake that in case of disruption of the family of the foreigner before adoption can be effected, it will take care of the child and find a suitable alternative placement for it with the approval of the concerned social or child welfare agency in India and report such alternative placement to the court handling the guardianship proceedings and such information shall be passed on both by the court as also by the concerned social or child welfare agency in India to the Secretary, Ministry of Social Welfare, Government of India.

Duty of Government

 The Government of India shall prepare a list of social or child welfare agencies licensed or recognised for inter- country adoption by the government of each foreign country where children from India are taken in adoption and this list shall be prepared after getting the necessary information from the government of each such foreign country and the Indian Diplomatic Mission in that foreign country.

Reference

lakshmi Kant Pandey vs Union Of India; 1984 AIR 469, 1984 SCR (2) 795


[1] lakshmi Kant Pandey vs Union Of India; 1984 AIR 469, 1984 SCR (2) 795