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British Indian couple claims discrimination by UK adoption service

Press Trust of India  |  London 

A British-Indian couple on Tuesday took their local council authority in south-east England to court over alleged discrimination that prevented them from adopting a baby from their local adoption service.

Sandeep and Reena Mander launched their case with the help of the UK's Equality and Human Rights Commission against the Windsor and Maidenhead Council at Oxford County Court in Berkshire.

The British-born couple of Indian-origin, in their 30s, claim that Adopt Berkshire discriminated against them by saying white British parents would be given priority.

"Whilst things like cultural heritage is important, we think a number of factors need to be looked at financial stability, the couple you are, age and living conditions should all be considered," Sandeep Mander told the BBC in reference to their case.

"The fact that they (local council) looked at just one particular area of cultural heritage and didn't consider our application because of that made us feel very angry, he said.

"We want to raise awareness and make sure it does not happen to other couples," added wife Reena.

The couple were unable to have a baby and had several rounds of failed IVF treatment before they applied to adopt. But they claim that when they reached out to the local adoption services, they were told that adoptive parents of white British or European origin would be prioritised because more white children were in need.

However, the council denies the allegations as inaccurate and its lawyer told the court at the start of the case this week that the local authority "does not accept" the allegations.

The Manders have since adopted a child from the United States but decided to pursue their legal fight to try and influence policy changes because not everyone can afford to adopt internationally.

The case remains ongoing and is expected to conclude after a four-day hearing.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, November 05 2019. 20:25 IST