Mr. Sannaki Munna, Ph.D. Scholar under the guidance of Prof. Sripathi Ramudu at the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion & Inclusive Policy (CSSEIP), University of Hyderabad was selected for the Workshop on ‘Struggles for Hope: Negotiating the Future in Times of Global Crises’ at the Hochschule Fulda (Fulda University of Applied Sciences) on 07- 08 April, 2022. Due to pandemic, the program was conducted online.
Sannaki Munna presented his paper on ‘Between Struggle and Hope: Orphan Rights in India’ under the theme of ‘Children’s Struggles over Rights and Recognition’.
Abstract of the paper:
Orphan children are neglected for a long time in the public policy and rights discourses in India. Orphan children do not have legal rights and hence, they do not have social security benefits. This problem arises from the lack of recognition and legal guarantee. Legally speaking, there is no category of orphan recognized in law. The cases related to orphan children are addressed within Juvenile Justice Act (JJ Act), 2015. However, the problems and social contexts of orphan children are different from the category of children in general. The lack of the recognition of orphans as a category in legal and public policy debates and laws has led to complete neglect of orphan children in India who comprise almost 4 percent of India’s population. Even the JJ Act, 2015 does not attend these problems as it only focuses on adoption rather than a legal recognition for the orphan as a separate category for legal and social security purposes. As a result, orphan children face challenges in education, employment, health, and other sectors. In this context, this paper provides a perspective on the need for legal recognition of the category orphan, and their categorization to shed light on how the lives and rights of orphan children can be secured in India. It provides a rights-based critique of legal and public policy discourses on the issues of exclusion of orphan children as a separate category. The paper then provides a rationale for why orphan categorization is a necessary step towards legal and constitutional guarantees of the rights of orphan children. The term categorization refers to the recognition of orphans as a separate legal category from children in general based on their socio-economic and family histories.