• Said, no such process can be allowed without the participation of the Central Adoption Resource Authority

The Supreme Court has directed all states and union territories to take strict action against NGOs and people involved in the illegal adoption of orphaned children during the Corona pandemic.

A bench of Justices L Nageswara Rao and Aniruddha Bose observed that inviting persons interested in adopting orphans was contrary to law, as no such process could be permitted without the involvement of the Central Adoption Resource Authority.

The bench, while issuing a series of directions for the care and protection of children who have lost their guardians or are destitute, orphaned, said that contrary to the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, the affected children should not be allowed to be adopted.

Additional Solicitor General KM Natraj, appearing for the Central Government and advocate Shobha Gupta, appearing for the NGO ‘We the Women of India’, referred to the collection of funds and illegal adoptions by some NGOs in the name of orphan children. After this, the Supreme Court gave these directions.

Gupta said that several advertisements inviting people to adopt orphans are publicly available. Such posts have also been seen on social media. However, most of those posts were fake.

The bench gave time to the Center to file an affidavit within four weeks with regard to the details of the recently launched ‘PM-Cares for Children’ scheme for children orphaned due to COVID-19. The bench gave these directions while hearing an application filed by advocate Gaurav Agarwal. The next hearing in the matter will be on July 27.

Provide food, medicine, and clothing to affected children
The bench asked the District Child Protection Units to immediately contact the affected children and their guardians on coming to know about the death of the child’s parent or guardians and to ascertain the willingness of the present guardian to take care of the child. The bench asked the child protection units to ensure that the affected children are provided with food, medicine, clothing, and other necessities.

In a detailed order issued by the Supreme Court in the suo motu case, the bench directed the State Governments or Union Territories to continue to identify children who were orphaned after March 2020 either due to COVID-19 or any other reasons. Gone or lost one of the parents. The data should be uploaded to the website of NCPCR without any delay.

The top court has said that the affected children can be identified through Childline (1098), health officials, Panchayati Raj institutions, police officers, NGOs, etc.

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