Woman moves HC to get back grandkids

Date: 2009-04-10

Swati Deshpande

MUMBAI: Kisabai Lokhande, a 66-year-old illiterate woman from a Satara slum has filed a habeas corpus petition in the Bombay high court to get back her two granddaughters who were given in an inter-country adoption and sent to Spain.

The issue which highlights the need for greater check in processing eligibility for adoptions, is that the agency had claimed that the two minor girls were abandoned and no consent was required from family members.

Lokhande had initiated a search for her grandchildren last year although they had been adopted in 2005. She moved court as the last resort, wanting the HC to direct the DGP and the local cops to register complaints for various offences including kidnapping, cheating, using forged documents and illegally declaring a child under 12 as being abandoned-an offence attracting up to seven years in jail.

She had complained to the police this January but to no avail, her lawyer Pradeep Havnur said. He added, "She is aggrieved at the police apathy in not registering an FIR against the accused, including Preet Mandir, an adoption agency in Pune. The agency allegedly colluded with the Satara Child Welfare Committee to declare the girls as destitute.''

The petition said inter-country adoption is a lucrative business and private adoption agencies working in collusion with government authorities are offered free foreign travel sponsored by international adoption agencies.

Lokhande said with the help of a local NGO, she learnt that her granddaughters had been identified by a Spanish Adoption Agency Ninos-Sin-Fronteras (Children without Frontiers), who worked in tandem with agencies in Satara, Centre Adoption Resource Agency (CARA) and Preet Mandir.

Baby-shopping means big business with transactions going up to Rs 5 lakh, the petition alleged, and reports are easily doctored for a price.

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