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  • Child Rights Centre, CNLU

Legal Rights of Orphan Children In India

By Peddireddi Udaya Bhanu* and Nalluri Gowthami**

“Children are sacrificed, kidnapped, and sold, while others are imprisoned, abused, and sodomized; the list goes on and on. We are still spectators, despite the fact that this is only the tip of the iceberg.”

The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, which is currently sweeping India, has orphaned and made children vulnerable. As indicated by assessments in the study published in The Lancet, 1.19 lakh kids in India lost their essential guardian because of COVID-19, placing the country in the third spot.[1] 10.42 lakh children lost either their mother or father, with 1.16 lakh in India.

Because of their young age and underdeveloped minds, children require extra attention and protection. They have specific legal entitlements and special privileges that are recognized both nationally and globally. From the Indian perspective, India first time acknowledged children’s rights and enacted numerous measures concerning their liberty, livelihood, and early development, as well as non-discrimination in educational settings and compulsory and free education in its main rule book, i.e., Constitution of India and has from time to time, developed it further for protection of children. [2]

It is critical to know the current legislation and processes governing the care and protection of orphaned children. The National Policy for Children of 1974 perceived that children’s projects should become the dominant focal point in public designs for human asset improvement, so kids grow up to be solid residents, in great shape, awake, and ethically sound, with the abilities and inspirations that society gives. Equal opportunities for all children’s improvement during their development stage were additionally underscored in the policy.

The National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) was set up in March 2007 with the mission of guaranteeing that all laws, arrangements, programs, and authoritative systems are in accordance with the viewpoints on child rights cherished in the Indian Constitution and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. Childhood has been popularly understood as a “golden period” associated with innocence, freedom, joy, play, and the like worldwide.

Established Process

Anyone who comes across an orphaned child, or any child who requires care and protection under the circumstances, should contact the toll-free Childline number 1098 or the local district protection officer right away. Once an outreach organization rescues an orphan kid, it is the responsibility of that agency to present the child to the district’s Child Welfare Committee within 24 hours.

After an investigation, the Children Welfare Committee decides whether the child should be placed in a children’s home, a fitness facility, or a fit person. If the child is under the age of six, he or she will be placed in a specialized adoption agency. As a result, the state looks after all such children in need of care and protection until they reach the age of 18. The Supreme Court of India ordered states and union territories to register all child care organizations in Sampurna Behrua v. Union of India. [3] As a result, any volunteer or non-governmental organization (NGO) that is not registered under the Juvenile Justice Act of 2015 will be unable to host children in need of care and protection.

Indian prospective adoptive parents can adopt non-resident Indians or foreigners, in that order, if a child has been proclaimed legally free for adoption by the Child Welfare Committee. Another notable element of the Juvenile Justice Act of 2015 is its secular orientation and straightforward approach. The adoption process