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Now we have a new legislation called "Juvenile & Justice Act, 2015" replacing the JJ Act of 2000. In this new act, adoption has assumed a significant importance with an exclusive chapter. Subscribe and follow this blog for more information in the days to come.

Monday, July 23, 2007

New CARA guidelines # 2

(These guidelines are reprinted from the guidelines that are on CARA web site for comments. Kindly join in the discussion to debate about the pros/ cons of these new guidelines. Feel free to leave your comments in the comments section below)

5.5 PROCEDURE FOR ADOPTION FROM INDIA BY NRIS/OCIS/ PIOS/FOREIGNERS*

In the light of Supreme Court directions in L.K.Pandey vs. Union of India (WP No 1171 of 1982 and its subsequent Orders) and Guidelines issued by various High Courts in the country and India ratifying Hague Convention on Inter-country Country Adoption in the year 2003, it has now been decided to receive all applications from all prospective NRI/OCI/PIO/Foreign adoptive parents directly from Central Authority/Government Department or EFAA at CARA. The procedure will be followed as under and termed as “Adoption proceedings under the Hague Convention”.

5.5.1 Step I (Registration for NRI/OCI/PIO/Foreign PAPs)

All PAPs may register with the nearest Enlisted Foreign Adoption Agencies (EFAA) and Central Authority/Government Department dealing with adoption matters. Nearest Indian Diplomatic Mission or Central Adoption Resource Agency, New Delhi are contact points for adoption information/application form/checklist of documents. Such information may be retrieved from CARA’s website, i.e. www.adoptionindia.nic.in

· The applicants will have to contact or register with an Enlisted Foreign Adoption Agency (EFAA)/Central Authority/Govt. Deptt. in their country, in which they are resident.

· The applicants should obtain the permission of the competent authority for adopting a child from India. Where such Central Authorities or Government departments are not available, then the applications may be sent by the EFAA with requisite documents including documentary proof that the applicant is permitted to adopt from India. However, NRI and OCI parents residing in Middle East are exempted from such permission as adoption is not recognized in such countries.

5.5.2 Step II (Home Study and Other requirements)

· A home study report of the prospective adoptive parents will be prepared based on the standard Guidelines by the professional social worker of the EFAA or Central Authority/Government Department dealing with adoption matters. The adoption application dossier should contain all documents prescribed in Annexure H2. All documents are to be notarized. The signature of the notary is either to be attested by the Indian Embassy/High Commission or the appropriate Govt. Department of the receiving country. If the documents are in any language other than English, then the originals must be accompanied by attested translations (see apostle convention).

· Each application should include all the required documents along with authentications and translations in English if required so. In addition, each application should indicate any preferences the prospective adoptive parents might have about the child’s age, sex, physical/medical condition, or region of origin within India.

5.5.3 Step III(Advance NOC to PAPs by CARA)

· EFAA/CA/concerned Government Department of the receiving country has to submit copies of the adoption applications (not original) directly to the CARA for consideration. On receiving complete dossier, CARA shall make entry into the central registry and approve the same.

· A listing of CARA-enlisted agencies can be found on www.adoptionindia.nic.in. Applications may also be forwarded through concerned CA/Government Department. On receiving dossaire, a case file will be opened at CARA and it will advise the PAPs through their sponsoring agency whether additional documents are required.

Once CARA approves the application, it will communicate the EFAA/CA/Government Department to send the original proposal to the particular RIPA for arranging a suitable match if already indicated on the application; otherwise, CARA shall suggest the name of alternate SAA (RIPA) to send its original dossier where children are available for inter-country adoption to respond to such applications. Initial approval given by CARA to the PAPs will no way guarantee referral from India nor it will be obligatory on the part of CARA to match a child. Any referral depends upon availability of children for inter-country adoption.

5.5.4 Step IV (Matching, Referral, Consent and confirmation of adoption proposal)

· SAA (RIPA) shall be responsible for placement decision, matching and referral to PAPs in each case. RIPA need not transmit matching information to prospective adopters directly, on the other hand, it will transmit such information to the EFAA/CA/Govt. Department as the case may be as required under regulations of Hague Convention.

· On receiving information about CARA’s initial approval and further original dossier of the PAP, the SAA (RIPA) shall make every effort to match a child according to the choice given by the PAPs and accordingly it shall forward the sponsoring agency a copy of the CSR and PER of the child along with a letter of introduction about the child. This document is commonly called a ‘referral.’

· Once the matching information has been received and discussed by the adoption agency with the PAPs, the PAPs then may visit the child in India. At this stage, the child can not be entrusted to PAPs as a result of this initial visits to/meetings with, the child. Before agreement under 17© of the Convention, no child can be entrusted to PAP.

· On acceptance of the child by the PAPs, the sponsoring agency shall transmit its original copy to RIPA and photocopy/scanning copy to CARA. CARA shall maintain an online updating system to enable PAPs to see their status of applications.

· If prospective adoptive parent(s) are declined to accept referral in consecutive 3 times, in such case, the PAPs may be advised by the EFAA/CA/Government Department to withdraw their application for adoption from India. SAA (RIPA) requires a response on a referral within 4 weeks of sending a referral to a family.

· PAPs are advised to visit the proposed child if they so desire after referral. Copy of any communication between SAA (RIPA) and foreign agency/authority shall be endorsed to CARA and it will endorse copy of relevant communication to the sponsoring agency or RIPA as the case may be.

· CARA shall maintain a list of special needs children on its website which will be updated from time to time for the benefit of PAPs and children. For such children, PAPs may approach CARA through their EFAA/CA/Government Department and CARA in such cases shall assist the SAAs to expeditiously send referrals to PAPs.

5.5.5 Step V(Issue of No Objection Certificate to Child by CARA)

CARA shall expeditiously issue NOC at this stage since it has already received HSR from the sponsoring agency, SARA Clearance from the State and CSR/PER initially from SAA and later their acceptance through the sponsoring agency.

NOC(No Objection Certificate) issued by CARA conveys that CARA has no objection to the adoption proposal and a copy of it shall be mailed to RIPA, SARA, CA, EFAA following which the concerned Central Authority under Article 17© of the Convention shall act promptly to conclude an Article 17© agreement with CARA and notify the CARA, EFAAs, RIPA and the PAPs accordingly. Only after such procedure is completed, a decision to entrust the child to the PAPs can be taken. It is urged that PAPs should not be pressurized to take physical custody of the child in case they do not have such papers.

Once the PAPs have received order under Article 17©, they may proceed to obtain a Court Order in India

· No SAA can file an application in the competent court for inter-country adoption without a “No Objection Certificate” from CARA and no child(orphan, abandoned or surrendered) can be allowed to travel out side the country without this valid document.

5.5.6 Step VI (Filing of Petition in the Court)

· On receipt of the NOC from CARA, the RIPA shall file a petition for adoption in the competent court as far as possible within 15 days if the court is not closed. The competent court may dispose the case as early as possible in the first hearing itself or within a maximum period of 2 months and issue an appropriate order for the placement of the child with the PAP and allow the PAP to take out of the country.

· On receiving the Court Order, RIPA shall immediately transmit a copy of it to CARA and SARA following which CARA will issue a certificate under Article 23 of the Hague Convention. The Hague Convention requires all States that have signed the Convention to recognize adoptions, which have been certified under Article 23. Through such process, the child might acquire automatic citizenship/nationality and enjoy more safeguards.

5.5.7. Step VII (Passport and Visa)

· SAA (RIPA) has to apply in the Regional Passport Office for obtaining an Indian Passport in favour of the child. The concerned Regional Passport Officer may issue the Passport within 10 days. Thereafter the VISA entry permit may be issued by the Consulate/Embassy/High Commission of the concerned country for the child.

5.5.8 Step VIII (Child travels to adoptive country)

· The adoptive parent/parents will have to come to India and accompany the child back to their country. They are required to spend at least one week with the child. By doing so, they get a chance to mingle with the baby before making final departure, they get to know more information about the baby’s food habits and attitudes from the child care staff of the adoption agency. Escorting a child by the RIPA is not permitted.

5.5.9 Step IX

The receiving central authority or its EFAA shall keep CARA informed about the progress of placement through post-placement reports as provided under Article 20 of the Hague Convention for a period of 2 years.

*NRI means Indian citizens who hold Indian passports and are presently residing abroad.
*Persons of Indian origin (PIO) means a foreign citizen (not being a citizen of Pakistant, Bangladesh and other countries as may be specified by the Central Govt. from time to time) if:
(i) he/she at any time held an Indian Passport; or
(ii) he/she or either of his parents or grand parents or great grand parents was born in and permanently resident in India as defined in the govt. of India Act 1935 and other territories that became part of India thereafter provided neither was at any time a citizen of any of the aforesaid countries (as referred to) above;
(iii) he or she is a spouse of a citizen of India or a person of Indian origin covered under
(a) or (b) above.
*OCI means a person registered as Overseas Citizen of India(OCI) under section 7A of the Citizenship Act, 1955.
*PIO Card Holder: A person registered as PIO Card Holder under MHA’s scheme vide Notification No 26011/4/98-F.I dtd. 19.08.2002.

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