MUMBAI: In special circumstances, foreign or NRI adoptive parents can be directed to submit a deposit and make investments in the name of the adopted child, the Bombay high court has ruled in an important order. Justice Suresh Gupte said ordinarily the court would not require such deposits and investments to be made before allowing foreign adoptions. The court was called upon to clarify the issue by an adoption agency in light of the 2017 Adoption Regulations that had specified that foreign nationals no longer needed to submit the deposit or investments.
The Central Adoption Resource Authority that regulates inter-country adoptions had also made a representation to the high court urging it to withdraw the condition.
As per the practice laid down by the courts, a foreign national intending to adopt an Indian child has to deposit Rs 60,000 and invest around Rs 3.5 lakh in the child’s name. For Indian parents, the investment amount is Rs 1 lakh.
“Of course, ordinarily the court shall not ask the adoptive parents to execute any bond or make any investments in the name of the child…For special reasons and with a view to enforce compliance with any special conditions depending upon the exigencies of the case, the court may use its discretion and insist on any condition, including execution of a bond or deposit,” said the judge.
The practice of deposits and investments in the name of the child was based on a 1991 Supreme Court order in a public interest litigation about malpractices in foreign adoptions. At that time, foreigners could only be appointed as guardians and the adoption formalities had to be completed in their respective countries. According to the high court, “bond money was insisted upon with a view to ensure it would facilitate repatriation of the child in case the adoption did not go through in that country and it became necessary to bring the child back to India.”
However, in 2015, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act was enacted which allows foreign couples to adopt Indian children. The new regulations also allow for monitoring of the children and regular reports being filed about the adopted children.