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Govt contemplates amendment to juvenile law to legalise adoption.

The government is contemplating to amend J&K Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2013 to legalise adoption in the state.

The juvenile law of 2013, which was implemented in the state last year after delay of many years, contained no provision for adoption because J&K being a Muslim majority state, civil matters are dealt with under Sharia law.  But now the government seeks to add a separate chapter on adoption in the law through the amendment.

An official in the Social Welfare department said, “The act was framed during the PDP-BJP government and the former social welfare minister was very keen to legalise the adoption in the state, but the law department turned down the proposal.”“But now the social welfare department again has moved this bill and has put the draft on its website. The department, he said, has sought suggestions from all the stakeholders.

According to the draft bill, “A child in respect of whom an adoption order is issued by the court, shall become the child of the adoptive parents, and the adoptive parents shall become the parents of the child as if the child had been born to the adoptive parents, for all purposes, including intestacy, with effect from the date on which the adoption order takes effect and on and from such date all the ties of the child  in the family of his or her birth shall stand severed and replaced by those created by the adoption order in the adoptive family.”

The draft law states, “provided that any property which has vested in the adopted child immediately before the date on which the adoption order takes effect shall continue to vest in the adopted child subject to the obligations, if any, attached to the ownership of such property including the obligations, if any, to maintain the relatives in the biological family.”

The bill also talks about having ‘specialized adoption agencies’ in the state for the “rehabilitation of orphans, abandoned or surrendered children, through adoption and non-institutional care”.

The bill proposes to have state adoption resource authority to facilitate adoptions and frame regulations on adoption and related matters as may be necessary from time to time.A day after the government came up with this draft bill, the child right experts have called for an “emergency” meeting to discuss the bill.

“Bringing adoption through this bill will be an attack to our special status, for a child if brought from outside will get property rights in the state. And, keeping in view the sensitivity of 35A this would not be a good idea,” a child right expert said on condition of anonymity.

The expert said, “What is the need of having a new act, when the existing one has not been implemented as yet.”

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