Delhi High Court: In a petition filed challenging the communication dated 10-08-2022 issued by the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) informing the Specialized Adoption Agency (SAA) concerned, of a complaint that had been received by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) alleging violation of the adoption regulations that apply and wherein CARA in terms of that communication apprised the SAA that till the aforesaid complaint is investigated, it should withdraw the adoption petition, Yashwant Varma, J., allowed the petition, quashed the impugned communication,and directed Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA)to take further steps to complete the process of adoption in accordance with the No Objection Certificate which has been issued by it.
In the instant case, a child ‘S’ of the special needs category was open for adoption on the Child Adoption Resource Information & Guidance System (CARINGS) portal. No resident Indian, NRI or OCI card holder made a reservation during the statutorily prescribed period of 15 days because of which the case was opened for inter-country adoption.
The petitionersmade a reservation in favour of Child “S” and a No Objection Certificate thereafter was issued by CARA on 15-03-2022.The dispute emanates from a complaint which is stated to have been made to the NCPCR wherein it has been alleged that Child “S” had been rescued by the complainant’s family and had been taking care of her needs along with her medical expenses and has become emotionally attached to the child.
The complainant stated to have consequently applied for adoption and registered on the CARINGS portal on 13-11-2019 but could not see the details of Child “S” and despite having made the application on 13-11-2019 did not receive any response from CARA with respect to their adoption application. It was further alleged that onreceiving information through a source that Child “S” has been given in adoption to persons residing in a foreign country despite their pending application, the complaint was made.
The Court noted that from a conjoint reading of Regulations 8, 9, 10, and 48 of the Adoption Regulations, 2017, a child once declared legally free to be adopted is made live on the CARINGS portal whereafter all registered Prospective Adoptive Parents (‘PAP’s) may reserve a child. The said portal is dynamic, and the status of children is made live based upon the date when the Child Welfare Committee may have declared them legally free for adoption and the uploading of their details on CARINGS.
It was further noted that the registration of a PAP on the system is solely aimed at enabling a reservation to be made in respect of a child who may at any given point of time become available for adoption on the CARINGS portal. However, no PAP can claim a right in law to be entitled to adopt a child of his or her choosing or desire.
The Court stated that undisputedly no reservation came to be made by a resident Indian, NRI, or OCI card holder within the stipulated period prescribed under the regulations. It was only thereafter that Child “S” was made available for inter-country adoption. This was therefore not a case where the priority accorded to resident Indians including the complainant was violated or ignored.
The Court remarked that while the regulations accord primacy to resident Indians, NRI’s, and OCI card holders, they cannot be interpreted to require CARA to continually defer the process of adoption till such time as a PAP falling in the aforesaid genre condescends to make a reservation.
Thus, the Court allowed the petition and directed CARA to take further steps to complete the process of adoption in accordance with the No Objection Certificate which has been issued by it and further directed other concerned authorities to take further steps to complete the process of adoption in accordance with the No Objection Certificate which has been issued by it.
[Michelle Camilleri v. Central Resource Adoption Authority, 2022 SCC OnLine Del 4091, decided on 25-11-2022]
Advocates who appeared in this case :
Dr. Menaka Guruswamy, Sr. Adv. with Ms. Tara Narula, Mr. S. Debabrata Reddy, Ms. Sonal K. Chopra, Mr. Yash S. Vijay and Mr. Utkarsh Pratap, Advocates for the Petitioners;
Ms. Monika Arora, CGSC with Mr. Shivam Raghuwanshi and Mr. Yash Tyagi, Advs. for CARA. Mr. Veer Vikrant Singh, Adv. for R-2 for the Respondents.
*Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.