New Delhi: Nine retired judges have written to G20 leaders in advance of India's hosting of the summit, pleading for a humanitarian solution in the form of the repatriation of Indian children who have been taken from their families by state child agencies in western Europe, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Australia and New Zealand. Those who have signed include former Supreme Court justices Ruma Pal, Vikramajit Sen, A. K. Sikri, and Deepak Gupta; the Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, A. P. Shah; the Chief Justice of the High Court of Odisha, S. Muralidhar; and Justices Manju Goel, R. S. Sodhi, and R. V. Easwar, all of whom sat on the Delhi High Court.
The retired judges claimed that Indian children put with foster carers overseas suffer from isolation and identity loss when they are separated from their families and communities. They urged the G20 Summit to address this issue.
They said that every year, some children of expat families have to be taken into protective custody by authorities in their country of residency due to abuse, neglect, or risk of harm. Children in this situation are turned over to the foreign country's child protection agency. Since these children have no relatives living in their current nation, they are not eligible for kinship care, despite the fact that this is a right to which all children are entitled when parental custody is terminated, according to the letter. The retired judges argued that rather than having the children spend their entire childhoods in foreign state custody, it would be more humanitarian and compassionate to repatriate them to a safe placement in their native country. Child protection processes in these nations, they added, appear to require a greater knowledge of cultural variations and the supply of good quality translators. The letter alludes to situations in Norway and the United States that need intervention from the Government of India. They also bring up the current instances in Germany and Australia, the latter of which ended in the suicide of the grieving mother. Priyadarshini Patil, an Australian woman of Indian descent who was 40 years old, was discovered dead in Karnataka last week. She reportedly became enraged because Australian officials had taken her teenage children away from her two years prior.—Inputs from Agencies