Adoption in India is a legally bound and helps in protecting the interest of the child and parents, alike. The Indian adoption is governed majorly by Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015 (JJ (C&PC) Act, 2015).
Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act 2015-
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act 2015 read with Adoption Regulation,2017 has
recognized five kinds of adoption namely,
- an abandoned, surrendered, destitute children adopted by unrelated person/s living within the
- an abandoned, surrendered, destitute children adopted by unrelated person/s living outside the
- a related child by relatives living within the country
- a related child by relatives living outside the country
- adoption of a child by step parents within the country
As per the law, the age difference between prospective adoptive parents( PAP) and the child should not be less than 25 years of age. In general, PAPs who are physically, mentally and emotionally stable, financially capable and who do not have any life threatening medical conditions are eligible to adopt.
When it comes to adoption in India, the religion can also play a major role. The two other Acts that can influence adoption in India are –
- The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956.
- Guardians and Wards Act, 1890
The Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 –
Under THE HINDU ADOPTIONS AND MAINTENANCE ACT, 1956 following category of people can make adoptions –
- “Any male Hindu (including Buddhist, Jain or Sikh by religion) who is of sound mind, not a minor and is eligible to adopt a son or a daughter”. But if such male has living spouse at a time of adoption then he can adopt a child only with a consent of his wife (unless she has been declared incompetent to give her consent by the court).
- “Any female Hindu (including Buddhist, Jain or Sikh by religion) who is not married, or if married, whose husband is not alive or her marriage has been dissolved or her husband has been declared incompetent by the court has the capacity to take a son or daughter in adoption”.
On a personal note, I find it gender biased as a married female is not considered the major applicant for adoption and it has to be filed by the husband. She can only give the consent for the adoption requested by the husband. Whereas, an unmarried female can legally adopt under this law. Isn’t it time we change our mindsets?
Guardians and Wards Act, 1890-
For other religions like, Muslim, Christian, Parsi and Jews, the personal laws do not recognize complete adoption. Such parents can only take guardianship of the child under section 8 of the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890.
The child then becomes a ward of these parents. But, after attaining 21 years of age, he is no longer a ward and would be treated as an individual identity.
This act does not have any specific guidelines for the adoption of orphans, abandoned and surrendered children. And, thus the Chapter VIII of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 deals with adoption in such category of the child. Any Indian citizen irrespective of the religion can apply to a Specialized Adoption Agency for adopting an orphan or abandoned or surrendered child.
I am raising awareness about Child Adoption in India with #BlogchatterProjects. If you know someone who has adopted or is an adoptive parent, then do share their story with us. You can also share the details anonymously with us by mailing at [email protected]. We respect your privacy.
You can read my previous post talking about adoption here. Join us in raising Adoption Awareness by commenting and sharing the post with your friends and family.
Note – All the information provided here has been posted after carefully reading through the laws. But, it should not be considered legal advice. Please visit Cara website for more details or contact a legal aid for any clarifications.