Consulate General of IndiaSan Francisco, California
Serving the states of: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and territory of Guam
Adoption : Chapter 1
REVISED GUIDELINES TO REGULATE MATTER
RELATING TO ADOPTION OF INDIAN CHILDREN (1994)
Aims and Objects
1. 1 The objective of the present guidelines is to provide a sound basis for adoption within the frame work of the norms and principles laid down by the Supreme Court of India in the series of judgments delivered in L.K. Pandey vs. Union of India and Others between 1984 and 1991.
1.2 Adoption undoubtedly offers an important avenue for the care and protection of an abandoned, destitute or neglected child in a family setting and provides an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding for the realization of his/her talents and potentials. It carries with it all the emotional, physical and material security necessary for the proper development of the child and also serves as the most reliable means of preventing situations associated with the abuse, exploitation and social maladjustment of abandoned, destitute and neglected children.
1.3 The Government of India, in pursuance of its constitutional mandate, has evolved a National Policy for the Welfare of Children. The thrust of this policy is summed up in the following words:
"The nation's children are a supremely important asset. Their nurture and solicitude are our responsibility. Children's program should find a prominent part in our national plans for the development of human resources, so that our children grow up to become robust citizens, physically fit, mentally alert and morally healthy, endowed with the skills and motivations needed by society. Equal opportunities for development to all children during the period of growth should be our aim, for this would serve our large purpose of reducing inequality and ensuring social justice."
1. 4 There has been equally great concern for the welfare of children at the international level culminating in the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 20th November, 1989. Thereafter, in various international fora conferences and seminars, this subject of child welfare has continued to be constantly debated.
1.5 The National Policy for the Welfare of Children also stresses the vital role which the voluntary organizations have to play in the field of education, health, recreation and social welfare services for children and declares that it shall be the endeavor of the state to encourage and strengthen such voluntary organizations.
Need for Family Support for the Development of the Children
1.6 It is an accepted fact that the balanced development of a child-emotional, physical and intellectual, can be best ensured within the family, or where this is not possible, then in familial surroundings. The responsibility for providing care and protection to children including those who are orphaned, abandoned, neglected and abused rests primarily with the family, the community and the society at large. However, since many traditional institutions including the family structure are undergoing vertical as well as horizontal social changes on account of urbanization, industrialization and the general process of development, family support to a child is not always available. It, therefore, becomes the responsibility of the community, of the society and of the state to provide both institutional and non-institutional support to destitute children. Government of India considers adoption as the best non-institutional support for rehabilitation of children.
Traditionally, our society has been providing support through charitable institutions and non-institutional activities like adoption, guardianship and foster care. Due to rapid changes in the social structure and other related factors, the number of children who need care, protection and rehabilitation is on the increase. It is, therefore, necessary not only to expand both institutional and non-institutional facilities for the nurture of such children, but also to regulate and monitor all programs so as to ensure minimum standards in all child welfare activities. Among non-institutional modes, the interest of the child can best be served through adoption in a family. Further, it is also an accepted fact that the child develops best in his or her own cultural and social milieu. Thus, placement of a child through adoption in an indigenous setting would be ideal for his or her growth and development. Inter-country adoption, i.e. adoption of Indian children by adoptive parents residing abroad, should be resorted to only if all efforts to place the child with adoptive parents residing in India prove unsuccessful. Generally, in all matters concerning adoption whether within the country or abroad, the welfare and interest of the child shall be paramount. Therefore, private adoptions of abandoned, destitute and surrendered/relinquished children conducted by unauthorized individuals, agencies or institutions should be discouraged and it should not be open to any individual agency or institution whether owned or run by the Government or not to process an application from a foreigner for taking a child in adoption. It should be the endeavor of Government to facilitate in-country adoption and to regulate inter-country adoption of Indian children.
Review of Adoption Procedure
1.7 In pursuance of the Supreme Court directives, the Ministry of Welfare vide its resolution dated 4-7-1989 formulated a set of guidelines to regulate, monitor and supervise programs pertaining to adoption. That laid down the existing procedure and practices. The existing procedure and practices followed in the case of intercountry. adoption were thoroughly reviewed by the Supreme Court in their subsequent judgments dated 19th September, 1989, 14th August, 1991, 29th October, 1991, 14th November, 1991 and 20th November, 1991 respectively, in Writ Petition (CRQ No. 1171/ 1982 by Shri L.K. Pandey vs. Union of India and others. The Ministry of Welfare after a careful study of all the judgments of the Supreme Court of India and existing laws of the land and after taking into account the experience of the concerned governmental as well as voluntary agencies and the changing social realities, decided to modify these guidelines. In this direction, the Ministry of Welfare constituted a Task Force consisting of members representing various voluntary placement agencies under the chairmanship of Mr. Justice P.N. Bhagwati (The former Chief Justice of India).
1.8 The revised guidelines as contained hereinafter have emerged from the Task Force recommendations.