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There can be no greater imaginable tragedy in the world than of a child who is orphaned or abandoned, the Delhi High Court Friday said while asking the authorities to assist in expeditious conclusion of legal formalities relating to inter-country adoption of a minor girl with special needs, who was found abandoned in October 2019 in a cremation ground.

The high court said the bonds of family are not forged merely by blood but “bonded by the love and care which is extended to those around us” and observed that the child must be placed in the warmth of a loving family and a home enabling her to find her place in the world in the years to come.

“The court shudders at even imagining the first waking hours of child ‘S’ as she entered this world. Her fate thus cannot be left to the vagaries of litigation or to competing forces which seek to stake a claim upon her very existence and life, her body and soul.

“The court notes that the process of adoption has stretched over three years already. It is thus imperative that she be placed in the warmth of a loving family, a home and a hearth enabling her to find her place in the world in the years to come” Justice Yashwant Varma said.

The high court said an orphaned or abandoned child impacts the very foundation of civilised society and shakes the core of our conscience.

“The act of adoption is not one of redemption or grace. An evolved human being, as we recognise ourselves to be, cannot perhaps perform a more pious duty than to embrace an infant who is left abandoned in this world. It is a reiteration of our pledge to provide a home, a family and secure the future of every child,” it said.

It added that, “There perhaps can be no greater imaginable tragedy in the world than of a child who is orphaned or abandoned”.

The high court said child ‘S’ was not only orphaned but was also found to be of ‘special needs’ and it becomes the bounden duty of the court to not only empower her to erase and overcome the trauma she underwent, but to also enable her to find the warmth of a home and enable her to stand on her feet as expeditiously as possible.

The high court allowed the plea by a foreign couple, who had been earlier granted a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) for adoption of the child, who was housed in an orphanage in Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly for over two years before she was matched for adoption.

However, before the adoption could be finalised, a letter was issued by the orphanage – the adoption agency, to the couple on August 10 informing them that an instruction had come from CARA to withdraw the pending adoption petition, in respect of the child’s adoption, before the district court.

The proposed adoption was stated to be under investigation after a complaint was made to the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) alleging that the adoption was illegal as it violated the priority principle, which grants preference to Indian parents over foreign parents.

Setting aside the CARA’s August 10 communication, Justice Varma directed it to take further steps to complete the process of adoption in accordance with the NOC which was issued by the agency.

The court noted that as no resident Indian, NRI or OCI card holder made a reservation for adopting the child during the statutorily prescribed period of 15 days, the case was opened for inter-country adoption where the petitioners made a reservation in favour of this minor.

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