Baby-selling scandal: The Union government has instructed governments of all states to conduct immediate inspection of all childcare homes run by the Missionaries of Charity (MoC), which is a Roman Catholic order founded by the late Mother Teresa. This comes days after authorities in Jharkhand had shut down a Missionaries of Charity home following the arrest of a nun and a worker for alleged baby-selling. The home provided shelter for pregnant and unmarried women.
Here are the top developments in the scandal that has shocked the nation:
– In a statement on Monday, Union Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said she had instructed states to ensure that all childcare institutions be registered and linked to the Central adoption authority within the next one month. “Taking cognizance of the recent cases of illegal adoptions carried out by Missionaries of Charity in Jharkhand, Maneka Gandhi has instructed the states to get childcare homes run by Missionaries of Charity all over the country inspected immediately,” the statement said.
– On Tuesday, Gandhi said the Women and Child Development Ministry will amend the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act to make the district magistrates and collectors “competent officers” for approving adoptions, instead of courts. “We are bringing in an amendment to the JJ Act for making District Magistrate/Collector as the competent officer for approving adoptions, instead of courts,” Gandhi was tweeted as saying by the WCD ministry..
– Reports of babies and children being sold by the charity-run homes and hospitals have appeared recently. It has been claimed by many campaigners that the illegal trafficking of babies and children is is driven by a long waiting list for adoption.
We are bringing in an amendment to the JJ Act for making District Magistrate/ Collector as the competent officer for approving adoptions, instead of courts: Smt. Maneka Gandhi at the National Conference in New Delhi. pic.twitter.com/ufQGle63Ra
— Ministry of WCD (@MinistryWCD) July 17, 2018
– The Union minister has directed all state governments to ensure that all child care institutions get registered and linked to CARA within a month.
– According to the ministry, under the Juvenile Justice Act, which came into effect over two years ago, it was mandatory for every shelter home dealing with children and their adoption to register and also link the organisation to the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA). Around 4,000 institutions are yet unlinked, approximately 2,300 child care institutions have been linked since December last year.
– According to a report by news agency Reuters, MoC had stopped organising adoptions in India in 2015 over disagreement with government rules that made it easier for single, divorced, and separated people to adopt children.
– The shelter home run by Mother Teresa-founded Missionaries of Charity in Jharkhand was reportedly involved in selling three children for money and giving away a fourth child. On July 5, Jharkhand police had arrested a nun and an employee of the Ranchi-based home for allegedly “selling” a baby for Rs 1.2 lakh.
– Jharkhand State Commission for Protection of Child Rights chairperson Arti Kujur has said that all four infants sold by the nun and the worker arrested this month had been recovered by officials.