Lakshmi Kant Pandey vs Union of India : Case Facts, Issues, Judgement & Analysis

Citation: 1973 AIR 23

Date of Judgement: 6/ 02/ 1984

Parties Involved: Petitioner- Lakshmi Kant Pandey and Respondent- Union of India


The  petitioner,  an  advocate  of the  Supreme  Court addressed  a   letter  in the public  interest  to  the  Court, complaining  of malpractices indulged by social organizations and  voluntary agencies engaged in the work of offering Indian Children in adoption to foreign parents, the petitioner alleged  that not  only Indian Children of tender age is under the  guise of  adoption “exposed  to the long horrendous journey  to distant foreign countries  at  great risk to  their lives  but in  cases where  they survive and where these  children are  not placed  in  the shelter and Relief Houses, they in course of  time become beggars  or prostitutes for want of  proper care from  their  alleged foster parents.”

The petitioner, accordingly, sought relief restraining Indian based private agencies “from carrying out the further activity of routing children for adoption abroad” and directing the Government of India, the Indian Council of Child Welfare and the Indian Council of Social Welfare to carry out their obligations in the matter of adoption of Indian Children by Foreign parents. Being public interest litigation, the letter was treated as a writ petition.


Whether alleged adoption agencies perform malpractice and neglect when approving intercountry adoptions?



The Supreme Court of India in its judgment gave directives and guidelines in processing adoptions to foreign parents under the Guardian and Wards Act, 1890. Supreme Court formulated the normative and procedural safeguards to be followed in giving an Indian child in adoption to foreign parents. Supreme Court held that any adoption in violation of or non-compliance with the directives outlined in this judgment may lead the adoption to be declared invalid and expose the person concerned to strict action including prosecution.

The Supreme court laid rules and norms. The recognized placement agency processing the application of a foreigner for being appointed guardian of a child with a view to its eventual adoption should be entitled to recover from the foreigner, cost incurred in preparing and filing the application and prosecuting it in court including legal expenses,  administrative expenses, preparation of child study report, preparation of medical and I.Q. Reports, passport and visa expenses, and conveyance expenses, and other such expenses may be fixed by the court, not exceeding Rs.6000. This rule is made, so that adoption agencies do not sell Indian children for money, in foreign markets.


In my opinion, Human trafficking is no foreign concept to us, and we all are aware that this malice act is practiced all over the world. And inter-country adoption, without any laws, makes it easy for people with greed and malicious intentions all the easier. And after the laws being stricken for inter-country adoption, fewer cases of Indian children being abandoned on a foreign land by their adoptive parents are reported and we can certainly see a dip in human trafficking on Indian children in foreign, which shows that the supreme court once again has proved itself and decided the case with brilliancy.

Given that the Court treated a letter as a petition, this case is an excellent example of how the procedural innovation of public interest litigation in India has eased rules of standing towards making the court system more accessible to disadvantaged sections of society. It also stands as an example of the judicial activism of the Indian Supreme Court.

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