The Centre on Monday asked states to carry out inspections at all child care homes run by Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity. The directive comes days after it emerged earlier this month that staffers in a shelter run by the organisation in Ranchi, Jharkhand, had allegedly sold four infants.

“Taking cognizance of the recent cases of illegal adoptions carried out by Missionaries of Charity in Jharkhand, [Women and Child Development Minister] Maneka Gandhi has instructed the states to get child care homes run by Missionaries of Charity all over the country inspected immediately,” an official press release said.

Gandhi also asked the states to get all child care institutions registered with and linked to the Central Adoption Resource Authority within a month. The press release said that the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, makes registration of child care institutions with the adoption authority mandatory.

The minister added that the Supreme Court has dismissed petitions by some orphanages against these registrations. It said that so far, approximately 2,300 child care institutions have been linked with the authority, while around 4,000 are pending.

The press release said that Gandhi has also “expressed displeasure” that even the children living in the 2,300 institutions have not been brought into the adoption system. “The minister is expected to take up this matter very strongly in the meeting of the Women and Child Development ministers of states scheduled to be held on July 17, 2018,” the press release added.

The case

The alleged sale of babies at Nirmal Hriday shelter in Ranchi came to light when the Child Welfare Committee’s Ranchi unit realised a baby boy was missing during a routine inspection of the shelter earlier this month. Subsequently, the committee found at least four cases in that shelter in which newborns were given up for adoption without documentation.

The Jharkhand Police on Sunday found a fourth baby allegedly sold by an employee and a nun of Nirmal Hriday.