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January 9, 2011
Inter-country adoption of orphans and the destitute through the family court in Lucknow has come under the scrutiny of the Allahabad High Court following allegations of irregularities.
Chief Justice F.I. Rebello took note of a complaint made by Saksham Foundation, an organization working in the field of child rights, and ordered an inquiry into alleged violation of children's rights.
The irregularities pointed out by Saksham Foundation chief Anjali Singh were prima facie found to be correct.
Since 2003, around 33 children have been given in adoption through the family court in Lucknow and almost all the children were minor girls.
The issue also came up for discussion at a workshop on inter-country adoptions for judicial officers who converged here from different parts of Uttar Pradesh Saturday.
The chief justice urged Uttar Pradesh State Legal Services Secretary A.N. Mittal to make family court judges aware about the procedures laid down to prevent exploitation of orphan and destitute minors being given for adoption to foreign lands.
Speaking to the judicial officers and the NGOs, Chief Justice Rebello said that the welfare of a child was paramount when being given for adoption in a foreign country.
Principal Judge of the Lucknow Family Court Chandra Mouli Shukla said: "Since 2003, around 33 children have been given in adoption from the family court in Lucknow, all of whom were destitute and orphans. But what was even more worrisome was that almost all the children were minor girls and there were very few boys."
It baffled him further to see that only a single agency - Uttar Pradesh State Council, a NGO - was involved in providing the girls for inter-country adoptions.
There was also a clear violation of Supreme Court guidelines laid for inter-country adoptions which stated that attempts should be made to place the child in a Indian home before putting them up for adoption in a foreign country, Shukla said.
"I was unable to understand what was the need to send 33 minor girls to foreign countries when they could quite easily be cared for in their own country," Shukla said.