The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights on Monday alerted the Supreme Court about illegal adoption of children who have lost their parents to the coronavirus disease, The Hindu reported. The court said it will pass an order in the matter.
In an affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the child rights body said that it has received several complaints about individuals and organisations claiming to help orphaned children and collecting information about them.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights told the court that there were posts on social media about children being up for adoption, which were in violation of the Juvenile Justice Act.
The child rights body alleged that government officials were disclosing children’s personal details to private organisations, which were circulating them.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights argued that this made the children vulnerable to illegal adoption, abuse and trafficking, PTI reported. It urged the court to direct the states to ensure that confidential information about children is not made publicly available.
“It is further humbly submitted that care must be taken by the authorities to ensure that their any action is not in violation of Section 74 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015,” the child rights body said. It is humbly submitted that the aforesaid provision prohibits disclosure of identity of children with regard to the name, school, age, address etc. of the child, which would reveal the essential details of the child and could help in identifying the child.”
The commission submitted before the court that the adoption process is only legal when procedures laid down under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 are followed, according to The Hindu.
The child rights body informed the court that 30,071 children were orphaned, had lost one parent or were abandoned due to the Covid-19 crisis.
Providing state-wise numbers, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights said that 7,084 children have lost one parent, been orphaned or abandoned in Maharashtra since April 1 last year, PTI reported.
This is followed by Uttar Pradesh, where 3,172 children have been orphaned or abandoned. In Rajasthan, 2,482 children have been affected, in Haryana 2,438, Madhya Pradesh 2,243, Andhra Pradesh 2,089, Kerala 2,002, Bihar 1,634 and Odisha 1,073, the child rights body said.
Last month, the Centre had announced a financial assistance scheme for children who have lost parents to the coronavirus disease.
These children will get a monthly stipend once they turn 18 from a corpus of Rs 10 lakh in order to meet personal expenses and higher education costs. Once they turn 23 years old, the government will give them the entire Rs 10 lakh.
The government will also assist these children with school education. If the child is admitted in a private school, the fees will be paid from the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations or PM CARES fund as per guidelines under the Right To Education Act, 2009.
All children will be enrolled as beneficiaries under the Ayushman Bharat Scheme with a health insurance cover of Rs 5 lakh, where the premium amount will be paid by PM CARES till a child turns.
India has registered 2,89,09,975 Covid-19 cases and 2,427 since the pandemic broke out in January last year.