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Putting the future of scores of orphans at risk the Missionaries of Charity have sought de- recognition of 13 of its 16 orphanages opposing the new adoption guidelines. The contentious clause in the guidelines—notified in July this year—mandate that single parent (separated, divorced, unwed mothers) are eligible to adopt through online registration of prospective parents.
Women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi said that the orphanages had been following their own agenda but now would have to come under the “unified secular agenda.”
“Till now the Mother Teresa’s (Foundation) orphanages had their own agenda and now when they have to come under a unified secular agenda they are refusing it. They have decided not to follow the guidelines,” the minister said.
According to sources, the sisters had communicated to the government that giving children to single parents was against Mother Teresa’s instructions.
While single parents were allowed to adopt earlier as well, the new guidelines have brought the adoption process online with parents registered with the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA). Sources said that at least two cases, one in Bihar and another in Assam, had come to light where single parents had been rejected by Mother Teresa’s orphanages. “Earlier parents would approach the orphanage and it was entirely the prerogative of the institution to give the child for adoption. Now prospective parents have been registered online and there is no question of a single parent being rejected. We can track cases online,” a senior CARA official said.
Official sources said in one of the two cases the child had to be transferred out of the orphanage to facilitate the adoption. While no one from Missionaries of Charity spoke on record, they confirmed that a communication seeking de-recognition from CARA had been sought.
Gandhi said that the ministry will try to persuade them to put children up for adoption. “We will try and persuade them because they are valuable people and have experience. But if they do not listen then those children will have to be shifted to other places,” she said.
“They have ideological issues with our adoption guidelines such as they do not want to give child to separated or divorced parents,” said a senior CARA official.
Sources said that a senior CARA official had extensive consultation on the issue and CARA chairperson was likely to visit Kolkata to try and convince the sisters.