Specialised Adoption Agencies

Supreme Court: In a public Interest Litigation filed by ‘The Temple of Healing’, a charitable trust seeking the simplification of adoption procedures in the country, the Three Judge Bench of Dr. DY Chandrachud, CJI and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, JJ. while expressing serious concerns over the non-compliance of States in appointing Specialised Adoption Agencies (‘SAAs’) within every district by 31-01-2024, has directed the Chief Secretaries of the States and Union Territories to strictly comply with the earlier order by 30-08-2024, failing which contempt proceedings may be initiated against them.

After taking note of the Ministry of Women & Child Development’s compliance report, the Court noted that out of 760 districts in the country, only 390 districts have functional SAAs. Thus, 370 districts are without such agencies, hindering the adoption process in those areas.

Thus, the Court directed Chief Secretaries of all States and UTs to file compliance affidavits by 30-08-2024, and further directed those failing to meet the compliance requirements to appear personally before the Court on 02-09-2024, to explain why contempt proceedings should not be initiated against them.

After referring to Schedule 14 of the CARA Adoption Regulations, 2022 the Court also directed all the States and UTs to file affidavits explaining whether the timelines stipulated in the regulations for facilitating the process of adoptions are duly compiled with or not. They were further directed to file data on the actual time taken to complete the process, with reasons if the timelines stipulated are not complied with.

Concerning the petitioner’s prayer to sought guidelines for adoption procedure under Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, the Court said that it would be difficult for the Court to lay down guidelines, because the conditions for a valid adoption are laid down , and once the Statute is very clear it would not be appropriate for the Court to prescribe guidelines.

Source: Press

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