Delhi High Court Seeks Centre Response On OCI Couple’s Adoption Plea

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The Delhi High Court on Thursday asked Centre and others to file a response on a petition by an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholder couple, residing in New Delhi for the last four years, with a grievance that despite having registered with the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) for the adoption of a child in 2018, have till date not received any referral for a child.

Justice Rekha Palli granted more time to Centre, and CARA to file a reply on the petition and listed the matter for further hearing on December 2.

Advocate Tara Narula, the counsel appearing for OCI cardholder couple, has filed the petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India seeking issuance of a writ in the nature of a mandamus directing Respondents to take the necessary steps as provided under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 (the JJ Act) and the Adoption Regulations, 2017, including, inter alia, ‘referring’ a child legally free for adoption to the petitioners and treating them at par with Non-Resident Indian (NRI) Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPs).

The petitioner said that despite having registered with the CARA for the adoption of a child on March 22 2018, wherein their seniority in the wait-list was with effect from March 16 2018, the petitioners have till date not received any referral for a child, whereas applicants who registered subsequently have already received referrals.

The petitioner submitted that the petitioners apprehend that CARA is neither following any seniority list nor the notification dated March 4, 2021, issued by the government reiterating that Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPs), such as the petitioners, who are OCI Cardholders shall be entitled to inter-country adoption, at par with domestic or NRI PAPs.

The petitioner has urged the Delhi High Court to issue direction to CARA in order to ‘refer’ a child legally free for adoption to the Petitioners and direct respondents to treat the Petitioners at par with NRI Prospective Adoptive Parents and Resident Indian Parents in terms of seniority for adoption.

The petitioners said that they have come to know that other PAPs who registered as late as August 2018 and had the same preferences as them have already received referrals.

In such circumstances, Petitioners apprehend that they have either been inadvertently skipped or that a differential policy is being applied in respect of OCI PAPs than domestic or NRI PAPs.

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