Organizations advocating child rights in Nepal have hailed Patan Appellate Court’s verdict in favor of a mother, Kanchi Tamang, in a case in which she had accused a non-government organization, Helpless Children Protection Home (HCPH), of falsifying documents to facilitate illegal adoption of her child possible.
The verdict issued by Judges Shiva Raj Adhikari and Sahadev Bastola reads that if parents and legal guardian decide to relinquish their right over their child, that child then becomes the responsibility of the state, not a childcare organization like HCPH.
Action for Child Rights International Nepal (ACRI-Nepal), an organization that helped Tamang to fight for justice by filing a case against HPCH, praised the verdict as a victory for those working to promote child rights at a time when children are being exploited without any fear of impunity.
Tamang, the mother of a child who was adopted by an American couple in January 2008, was made to sign documents that proved that she relinquished her child. She said that she thought she was signing an agreement for her son to be cared for in a local child care home until she was released from prison.
“Illiterate and poorly educated, Tamang was unable to understand the legality of the documents and only learned of her son’s whereabouts after she was released from prison in 2009,” reads the ACRI/Nepal statement issued on Saturday.
The organization claims to have itself begun an investigation on the alleged falsification of documents by HCPH. “The investigation led to the discovery of the location of Tamang’s son and the identity of his adoptive parents,” the statement read.
Later, it was revealed that more than 90 other children had been internationally adopted under HCPH’s care. On behalf of Tamang, ACRI/Nepal’s Advocate Bhuwan Niraula had filed legal complaints with the Adoption Development Committee and the District Administration Office (DAO), Kathmandu.
The DAO’s decision not to take action on the basis of the agreement signed between Tamang and HCPH was challenged at the Appellate Court.
During the process of classifying children as orphan and making them eligible for adoption, the judges said that HCPH had lied on numerous occasions.
The full text of the verdict is yet to be issued by the court, which will include the details of sentencing and relief for the victim.