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Inde. La Haute Cour resserre les normes d'adoption pour les étrangers.
High court tightens adoption norms for foreigners
Mumbai: Foreign adoptions may become a bit more expensive but much safer for children. According to the guidelines suggested by a court-appointed expert committee on Tuesday, prospective parents would have to deposit an amount over and above the standard adoption fee of US $3,500 while the child would have to undergo a complete psychological evaluation before going abroad. But couples adopting children with special needs would not have to pay the additional amount.
The court had appointed additional solicitor-general DJ Khambata as amicus curiae (friend of the court) and sought the assistance of Asha Bajpai from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences to frame the guidelines. The committee was set up in the light of the case of 14-year-old Mita (name changed), who was sent back to India from the US in September 2008 after developing behavioural problems.
Most children adopted by foreign couples have led hard lives as they are orphaned or deserted, justice DY Chandrachud observed. "Chances of maladjustment are extraordinarily high in these children," he said.
The guidelines propose evaluation by a psychologist from a government hospital or a panel of the Central Adoption Regulatory Authority (Cara). Children would be allowed to acclimatise themselves with the prospective parents for two weeks in India. Only after the psychologist certifies that the child is ready would the adoption move ahead.
Khambata said that only the court that had allowed the adoption would have the power to revoke it.
The amicus curiae also told the court that children should be sent abroad only after the adoption is completed and not during the period of guardianship. This would give the child the citizenship of the adoptive parents.
Jagannath Pati from Cara told the court that there were only five reported instances of children being sent back in the past 10 years. So, the court felt that the earlier proposed amount of US $5,000 would be a deterrent for prospective parents and reduced it to Rs25,000. With about 700 foreign adoptions each year recorded by Cara, justice Chandrachud said this would generate a corpus of Rs1.75 crore as a safety fund for rehabilitation of children in failed adoptions.
The court allowed an intervention application filed by Sakhee, an NGO. Jamshed Mistry and Pradeep Havnur, advocates for Sakhee, suggested that the guidelines should also cover instances of malpractice in foreign adoptions. They said there are a number of cases where adopted children changed several foster homes and came back to trace their roots.
Pati said increased awareness had brought down the number of foreign adoptions while adoptions within the country had surged.
The court has asked the committee appointed by the central woman and child development ministry to consider the suggestion of a safety fund and a trust. It indicated that the guidelines would be accepted at the next hearing on January 8.
Source: Daily News & Analysis India.