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Adoption Under The Hindu Adoptions And Maintenance Act, 1956
Single parents, childless individuals, and homeless kids can all benefit greatly from adoption. It makes it possible for people who aren't biologically related to connect on a parent-child level. The sole personal legislation in India that addresses adoption is the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956. Adoption is prohibited by certain personal laws, including those of Islam, Parsi, and Christianity.
This article covers additional legal regulations pertaining to adoption as well as their shortcomings. It also explores how the Indian judiciary has shaped the adoption landscape.
What is Adoption?
The Act doesn't expressly define the term "adoption," but it is a Hindu rule inherited from Manusmriti, one of the uncodified Hindu laws of Dharamsastra.
In Manusmriti, adoption is defined as "taking someone else's son and nurturing him as one's own."
By utilizing the word "kid" rather than "son," the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act has greatly expanded the concept of "adoption." "Child" refers to both a boy and a girl, not just a son.
No adoption can be made without following the method outlined in this act due to the evolution of society over time, which necessitated codified and consistent legislation to support democracy. Any adoption that is made without complying with this law will be null and void.
Essentials of Valid Adoption
The following conditions must be met for an adoption to be lawful, according to Section 6 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956 −
The adoptive parent is capable of and has the legal right to adopt;
The individual providing for adoption is capable of doing so;
The adopted person is able to be taken into adoption, and the adoption was completed in accordance with the other requirements outlined in the Act.
Who can Adopt a Child?
A person must be a Hindu and be able to adopt a child before they can do so. If a Hindu woman wants to adopt a child, she must comply with Section 8 of the legislation, and a Hindu male who wants to adopt must meet the standards outlined in Section 7 of the act.
Capacity of Hindu Male
According to Section 7, a male Hindu who wishes to adopt must meet the following requirements −
Reached the majority-age threshold
To possess a clear mind.
Must have the wife's active consent.
If the wife is incapable of giving consent due to insanity or other circumstances, this clause may be disregarded.
If the person has more than one wife, each must agree to the adoption.
The validity of the adoption was contested in Bhola and others v. Ramlal and others (AIR 1989 MP198) since the plaintiff had two spouses and had not obtained one of their consents before adopting. The plaintiff's wife had "vanished," which may be equated to death, as it was then claimed.
The Madras High Court stated that even if the wife had fled, she could not be declared dead until she had gone unnoticed for seven years. It was believed that each wife's assent was necessary as long as they were still living.
The wife's agreement is not required if she has changed her religion or has given up on the world.
Ghisala v. Dhapubai (2011) 2SCC 298 upheld the principle that the wife's permission must either be expressed in writing or must be demonstrated by an affirmative or constructive act and her readiness to do so.
Capacity of Hindu Female
According to Section 8 of the Act, a Hindu woman who wants to adopt a child must −
Have reached the age of majority; be in good mental health;
Be a widow, divorcee, or single person to adopt.
She won't be able to adopt a child if her spouse is still alive unless he gives his permission.
If the husband had given up on the world, stopped being a Hindu, or been deemed unsound, his consent was not required.
Effect of Adoption
The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956, Section 12, describes the repercussions of adoption. All of a child's natural rights apply to adopted children as well. Any property that the adopted child has will continue to belong to him even after the adoption. If the child is subject to any restrictions on who they can marry, such as the levels of relationships that are prohibited under the Hindu Marriage Act of 1956, those restrictions would exist after the adoption as well.
Once an adoption is finalized, the adopting parents cannot undo it under any circumstances. Additionally, the youngster cannot renounce and cannot return to the previous household.
Children that have been abandoned or orphaned benefit from adoption, which is a wonderful cause. We now have the potential to demonstrate humanity's more human side. It's a helpful program where the infant receives the same love, care, and attention as a regular newborn child. It also satisfies parents' desires for kids at the same time. Their antics and laughter reverberated off the building's walls. Although certain adjustments might be made to make all adoption laws a little bit more uniform,
As a result of its success, the current legislation cannot be deemed useless. To make sure that everyone has an equal position and access to benefits, it is necessary to address the gaps that have developed as a result of changing times and an increase in instances of disparity. There has been a need for a universal civil code since the personal laws of all religions have become unchanging and cannot develop at the same rate as society.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What are the effects of adoption under Section 12 of the Act?
Ans. According to Section 12 of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, with effect from the date of adoption, an adopted child shall be deemed to be the child of his or her adoptive father or mother for all purposes.
Q2. What is the validity of adoption in Hindu law?
Ans. A child who has been successfully adopted receives all the privileges accorded to biologically born youngsters. After that, the child cuts all relationships with its previous family. However, he will still be the owner of any property he owned before the adoption.
Q3. How many months does an adoption process take?
Ans. According to the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act of 2015, every child must be legally free for adoption by the Child Welfare Committee before they can be adopted. Usually, it takes at least two months to finish the process. Therefore, no newborn infant can be given up for adoption before the procedure is finished.
Q4. What is the decision of Supreme Court on adoption?
Ans. The court decided that an adopted child should be treated for all intents and purposes as if they were the child of their adoptive parent, starting on the date of the adoption.
Q5. Can a child of 21 years be adopted in India?
Ans. Therefore, the legal adoption of an adult of 21 years is not possible in India. Only a person who has not attained the age of majority, namely, who is less than 18 years can be adopted by another adult who has attained the age of majority, namely is more than 18 years.
Q6. Who cannot adopt a child in India?
Ans. As per the rulings of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, there are certain rules that define the eligibility to adopt a child for both male and female; however, as per the rules, following persons cannot adopt a child −
Couples who have a biological or adopted son/daughter aged three years or above.
Couples with a significant disability or chronic illness that would prevent them from caring for a child.
A minor (less than 21 years of age) cannot adopt a child;
Couples who have a criminal record or have been convicted of a crime;
Single men cannot adopt a girl child;
Any persons who is HIV positive or suffering from any such serious medical condition that could potentially impact the child's health;
Couples or individuals who have a history of substance abuse, alcoholism, or addiction;
Couples or individuals who are unable to provide a safe and stable environment for a child.
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