By Suchitra Mohanty
NEW DELHI (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - India's top court has ordered the government to draw up strong guidelines for screening and tracking adoptions after a charity appealed for a federal probe into allegations that adopted children were being abused.
Parliament passed a law in January aimed at streamlining the adoption of orphaned and abandoned children, but the rules have not yet been framed by the responsible body, the Central Adoption Research Agency, CARA.
"We hope and trust the authorities concerned take speedy steps. Children are to be protected against abuse and trafficking," a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur said on Monday.
"The interest of children, whether it is intra-country or inter-country adoptions, has to be protected. The process of adoption has to be transparent. It should ensure welfare of the child," the court order said, adding that guidelines must be drawn up within three months.
The court issued the order after the Bangalore-based Advait Foundation alleged the existence of child adoption rackets involving both Indian and foreign adoption agencies.
Kunal Cheema, a lawyer representing the charity, said it wanted the court to order the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe such rackets, but the court dismissed the plea, asking for specific evidence.
"To prevent the infringement of the fundamental right to life of millions of Indian children, who have become amenable to kidnapping or abandonment, a thorough impartial CBI probe is required," Cheema told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Government data show that 4,362 Indian children were adopted within and outside the country in the year to end-March 2015.
(Reporting by Suchitra Mohanty. Writing by Nita Bhalla, editing by Tim Pearce. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit news.trust.org)