The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the state governments and union territories to prevent any NGO from collecting funds in the names of children orphaned by Covid-19, by disclosing their identity and inviting interested persons to adopt them.
A Bench of Justice L Nageswara Rao and Justice Aniruddha Bose directed the governments to take action against NGOs or individuals who are indulging in illegal adoptions.
"The State governments/Union Territories are directed to take action against those NGOs/individuals who are indulging in illegal adoptions. No adoption of affected children should be permitted contrary to the provisions of the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act, 2015," stated the order.
The NCPCR had sounded the alarm on a spate of complaints about illegal adoption of children orphaned by Covid-19 through private individual and organisations and added that it has received many complaints in May that private individuals and organisations have been actively collecting data on these children while claiming that they want to assist families and children in adoption.
The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) statistics show that 3,621 children were orphaned, 26,176 children lost either parent and 274 children were abandoned between April 1, 2021, to June 5, 2021.
The top court also directed that financial assistance which the disconsolate child is entitled to under the prevailing schemes by the Central Government and the State Governments/Union Territories should be provided without any delay.
The Bench in its order further directed the state governments and union territories to continue identifying the children who have become orphans or lost a parent after March 2020 either due to Covid-19 or otherwise and provide the data on the website against NGOs, individuals indulging in illegal adoptions of children orphaned by COVID: SC to States, UTs of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) without any delay.
It directed that the identification of the affected children can be done through Childline (1098), health officials, Panchayati Raj Institutions, police authorities, NGOs, etc.
The District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) is directed to contact the affected child and the guardian immediately on receipt of information about the death of the parent/parents, the Bench stated in its order.