NEW DELHI: Kolkata-based Kaunish Dey Sarkar and Aparna Banerjee had hopes of adopting their cousin’s child as a trangender couple as they waited for the SC judgment on same sex marriage. But SC’s 3:2 verdict upholding one of the adoption regulations prohibiting queer couples from adopting a child has left them in depair. And that’s true of many LGBTQIA+ couples.
Keen to embrace parenthood and unable to do so as they were shown the law book each time they approached adoption agencies, Kaunish and Aparna could only think of parenthood when their cousin agreed to let them bring up his daughter born with down syndrome in 2020.
“We have been trying to legally adopt the child since then and have now chosen to move forward with adoption under the Hindu Adoption And Maintenance Act with his partner Aparna having applied as a single parent. Let us see how things take shape but the government must think about couples like us who wish to legally live with dignity as legally married and parents to our child,” he added.
The verdict brings into focus on what happens to requests for adoption from transgender persons before the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA). According to the adoption regulations, single parents, besides heterosexual couples, can adopt a child. The regulation further states that single women can adopt a child of any gender, while single men cannot adopt a girl child. However, the regulations under the Juvenile Justice Act have no such provision for transgender couples.
But requests from transgender couples keep coming to CARA which discussed the issue at its steering committee meeting in July. The committee is learnt to have decided to refer the issue to the law ministry for opinion. While it is learnt that no opinion has been received from the ministry, sources said the government is unlikely to steer any changes related to the adoption rules.
The parliamentary standing committee on law and justice in its report in August 2022 had recommended that LGBTQIA+ community members be allowed to adopt children. The panel recommended that a new adoption law must cover the LGBTQ community as well.
On how the lack of legal recognition to marriage and adoption impact their daily lives, Bengaluru-based Dr Kiran Nayak, a disabled transman, said that while he married his wife in a traditional temple wedding in 2008, he had not been able to legally register his marriage. “I could not adopt so finally my brother let me bring up his daughter as our own child. I wish we could adopt her legally as a couple,” Nayak said.

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