Adoption Laws

Indian legal system allows not only the Indians but also the foreigners to adopt an Indian child legally and due procedure has been formulated for the same.

Adoption is a legal process and is very strict in nature because it can lead to multiple complications (like inheritance and succession issues) and illegal activities (like human trafficking). For that reason, whenever adoption is sought, all the Prospective Adoptive Parent(s) (PAPs) invariably engage adoption lawyer to ensure that the legalities are met without any hassles. All adoption process is completed with the final act of having and executing an adoption deed as ordered by the court of law.

What the adoption law is and what it does?

Adoption is a process wherein a child is taken into a family lawfully and post adoption the child gets all the legal rights from the adopting parent(s) as a biological child would have got. Post adoption the child loses all the legal rights to be transferred from the biological parents that he/she may have got.

Generally, adoption helps the society in two ways. Firstly, the parent(s) who are either issueless or have enough resources to support more kids get a chance to adopt and provide a good environment to the child. The adopting parents enjoy the bliss of having a child in their lives. Secondly, the child who is getting adopted, usually, gets an opportunity to lead a more conducive and better life. Most of the times in India a child is adopted from orphanages and that give the child a fair and right options to live a fruitful life and be part of the mainstream society

What are the fundamental principles governing adoption?

The following fundamental principles shall govern adoptions of children from India, namely:

  • the child’s best interests shall be of paramount consideration, while processing any adoption placement
  • preference shall be given to place the child in adoption with Indian citizens and with due regard to the principle of placement of the child in his own socio-cultural environment, as far as possible

all adoptions shall be registered on Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System and the confidentiality of the same shall be maintained by the Authority.

Who is eligible to adopt a child?

Following persons are eligible to apply for adoption of a child:

  • The prospective adoptive parents should be physically, mentally and emotionally stable; financially capable; motivated to adopt a child; and should not have any life-threatening medical condition;
  • Any prospective adoptive parent, irrespective of his marital status and whether or not he has his own biological son or daughter, can adopt a child;
  • Single female is eligible to adopt a child of any gender:
  • Single male person shall not be eligible to adopt a girl child;
  • In case of a couple, the consent of both spouses shall be required;
  • No child shall be given in adoption to a couple unless they have at least two years of stable marital relationship;

The age of prospective adoptive parents as on the date of registration shall be counted for deciding the eligibility and the eligibility of prospective adoptive parents to apply for children of different age groups shall be as under.

Who are the stakeholders in adoption process?
  1. Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) – CARA ensures smooth functioning of the adoption process from time to time, issues Adoption Guidelines laying down procedures and processes to be followed by different stakeholders of the adoption programme.
  2. State Adoption Resource Agency (SARA) – State Adoption Resource Agency acts as a nodal body within the State to promote and monitor adoption and non-institutional care in coordination with Central Adoption Resource Authority.
  3. Specialised Adoption Agency (SAA) – Specialised Adoption Agency (SAA) is recognized by the State Government under sub-section 4 of section 41 of the Act for the purpose of placing children in adoption.
  4. Authorised Foreign Adoption Agency (AFAA)- Authorised Foreign Adoption Agency is recognised as a foreign social or child welfare agency that is authorised by Central Adoption Resource Authority on the recommendation of the concerned Central Authority or Government Department of that country for coordinating all matters relating to adoption of an Indian child by a citizen of that country.
  5. District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) – District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) means a unit set up by the State Government at district level under Section 61A of the Act. It identifies orphan, abandoned and surrendered children in the district and gets them declared legally free for adoption by Child Welfare Committee.

 

Which laws govern the Adoption?

Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956

Indian citizens who are Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, or Buddhists are allowed to formally adopt a child. The adoption is under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956. Under this act, a single parent or married couple are not permitted to adopt more than one child of the same sex.

Guardian and Wards Act of 1890

Foreign citizens, NRIs, and those Indian nationals who are Muslims, Parsis, Christians or Jews are subject to the Guardian and Wards Act of 1890. Under this act, the adoptive parent is only the guardian of the child until she reaches 18 years of age.
Foreign citizens and NRIs are supposed to formally adopt their child according to the adoption laws and procedures in the country of their residence. This must be carried out within two years of the individual becoming a child’s guardian.

Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act of 2015

A part of these laws deals with adoption of children who are in conflict with law including abandoned children. However, this act is applicable only to children who have been abandoned or abused and not to those children who have been voluntarily put up for adoption.

Child Adoption Regulation, 2017

These rules laid down the complete procedure of adoption like;

Fundamental principles governing adoption

Child eligible for adoption

Eligibility criteria for prospective adoptive parents

Procedure relating to children for adoption

Adoption procedure for resident Indians

Adoption procedure for non-resident Indian, overseas citizen of India and foreign prospective adoptive parents

Recognition, inspection and function of adoption agencies