An OCI cardholder couple has moved to Delhi High Court seeking direction to CARA (Central Adoption Resource Authority), to whom they have filed an application but that hasn’t been processed since 2018.

The couple argued that subsequent applicants have received referrals while they are still waiting for a referral date from the central authority. They realised that the central authority is not following the seniority wait-list and people are getting adoptions out of turn.

On hearing their plea, Justice Rekha Palli issued notice to CARA to file its reply on the matter in two weeks. The next hearing is on October 18.

The petitioners submitted that they are OCI cardholders and have been residing in Delhi for the past four years. They had registered with CARA for adopting a child in March 2018 and their seniority in the wait-list is in effect from May 2018. To date, they have not received any referral even though considerable time has ceased.

In the meantime, the plea maintains, the domestic and NRI couples seeking adoption are given preference. Hence, they have asked for a direction to the defendant to take mandatory steps under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and the Adoption Regulations, 2017, and treat them equal to NRI PAPs (Prospective Adoptive Parents), among others.

“In terms of Central government notifications issued under section 7B (1) of the Citizenship Act, 1955, OCIS are to be treated at par with NRI PAPs in the matter of inter-country adoption of an Indian child. Concomitant;y, under Regulation 14 of the Adoption Regulations, 2017, NRI PAPs are to be treated at par with resident Indian PAPs in terms of Priority for Adoption of Indian orphan, abandoned or surrendered children. Thus, from a combined reading of Regulation 14 and the aforementioned Notifications, it emerges that OCIS, NRIs and resident Indian parents are to be treated equal insofar as priority/seniority for adoption is concerned,” the plea states as quoted by LiveLaw News Network.

The plea further added that from publicly available data, it has been observed that there is a sharp reduction in the number of children given for “inter-country” adoption over the past two years, denoting a change in policy/treatment of PAPs in the above-mentioned category.