A directive issued by the Central government to all concerned states and Union territories to again conduct inspection of the homes and institutions which are run by Missionaries of Charities (MoC) has brought to the forefront the issue of gross negligence and violation of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, by the child care institutions (CCIs), said government officials to the media on condition of anonymity.

This directive from the centre comes following the unveiling of an adoption racket at a MoC home in Jharkhand.

Under Section 66 of the Juvenile Justice Act makes it mandatory for a CCI to get itself registered with the state government where it is operational even though it might not be recognised as Specialized Adoption Agency (SAA).

There are some rules which should be followed by all the CCI. These rules are meant to confirm that all orphans, abandoned or surrendered children under its care are reported, produced and declared to be free for adoption legally. Details of the children declared legally free for adoption are to be furnished by the CCIs and they are mandated to create formal linkages with local and nearby SAA. Violation of this section draws a penalty of ₹50,000.

An official of the Union women and child development (WCD) said “the home in question did not follow any of the rules and was allegedly giving children for adoption illegally. We have asked the states to link details of all children at CCIs with Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA).”

The officials said that about 2300 CCIs have not yet been brought under the formal adoption system. these CCIs are linked to CARA.

All the state governments have bene directed by the WCD ministry to submit reports on the current situation after inspections by July 31.

MoC said in a statement on Tuesday that “even while we place our full trust in the judicial process that is underway, we wish to express regret and sorrow for what happened and desire to express in unequivocal terms our condemnation of individual actions which have nothing to do with the congregation of the MoC. We are fully cooperating with the investigations and are open to any free, fair and just inquiry.”

Their role of running adoption homes were withdrawn by the MoC itself in 2015 following the adoption of new guidelines that permitted adoption of children even by single, separated and divorced individuals.

The MoC said that complying with the requirements of the new guidelines was difficult for it because such guidelines “go against the well-established and widely accepted principles, set up by Mother Teresa, and the principles of ethics and human dignity.”

Running under the name of Nirmala Shishu Bhawan, which offers shelter, food, medical care and schooling for the children who are abandoned and the needy, 16 orphanages are run by the MoC. 13 of them had been authorized by the government to run as adoption centres prior to 2015.

Sister Alisa from MoC, Indore said “we started an orphanage and adoption centre in Indore in 1985. But now we run only an old age home.”

MoC’s shelter home for poor women in Ranchi was the place from where two sisters from Nirmal Hriday had been arrested for their alleged role in selling four newborns for money on July 5. An investigation by a district child welfare committee brought the adoption racket into the light.

(Adapted from TheHindustanTimes.com)