Case Summary: Laxmi Kant Pandey vs. Union of India


This post has been written by Parishkriti Atri, a first year law student pursuing LL.B. (H) from Amity Law School, Noida.

Date: Feb 6, 1984

Court: Supreme Court of India

Number of Judges: Three

Bench: P.N Bhagwati, A.N Sen and R.S Pathak 


Acts: Guardians and Wards Act, 1890

Constitution of India

Citations: 1987 AIR  23


Laxmi Kant Pandey was an attorney who through a letter wrote to the Supreme Court regarding neglect and malpractice in adoption of Indian children to foreign parents. This was done by social organisations and adoption agencies.He mentioned the long and toxic journey these children made to the countries And the incidences of neglect they had to go through because of their adopted parents, sometimes also resulting in sexual exploitation of the children which was treated as a writ petition.

Groups involved in the case: 

Apart from the Government of India, several government agencies and social welfare organizations (both national and international) filed affidavits and statements before the court in this case. The institutions included the Indian Council of Social Welfare, Enfants Du Monde, Missionaries of Charity, Enfants De L’s Espoir, Indian Association for promotion of Adoption Kuan-yin Charitable Trust, Terre Des Homes (India) Society, Maharashtra State Women’s Council, Legal Aid Services West Bengal, SOS Children’s Villages of India and the Bhavishya International Union for Child Welfare. The Supreme Court explicitly acknowledged their contribution in its judgment stating that the valuable recommendations provided for the consideration of the Court helped the judges formulate the principles and norms to be observed in the case of inter-country adoptions.

Source: Here


It was brought to attention that there was no regulation of intercountry adoptions in India which might lead to trafficking of children. For the same purpose, a comprehensive framework was formulated for regulating intercountry adoption to have the children get a healthy family life.

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The international adoptions would follow the regulations of guardians and wards act, 1890.

Provisions like article 15 (3), 24 and 39 of Indian constitution were used as a reference along with the UN declaration on the rights of the child.

It was made compulsory that foreigners who wish to adopt Indian children should be sponsored by licensed agencies of their own country. 

There was a supplement judgement on 27th September, 1985 due to certain difficulties in implementation of the principles laid down. The Supreme Court held that in case of violation of the principles the adoption would be declared as invalid and the concerned person would have to face strict action.

Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA) Was set up by the government with branches in different areas for easy adoption across the country. They also published guidelines for the same.

Read about Procedure of Adoption of a Child in India


Image Source: Here

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