Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act: An Overview

In order to systematize and codify the present Hindu legal practice, the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act was created. This act primarily addressed the legal procedure for an adult Hindu to adopt children as well as the Hindu's legal duties to support various family members.

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." A child refers to both a boy and a girl, not only a son.

No adoption can be made without following the method outlined in this act due to the evolution of society through time, which necessitated codified and consistent legislation to support democracy. Any adoption that is made without complying with this law will be null and invalid.

Legal Adoption

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Change Act of 2006 states that once a kid is legally separated from his or her original parents and is recognized as a child by his or her adoptive parents, the child is entitled to all of the rights associated with biological parents. The Guardian must be a Natural Guardian or a Guardian appointed by the Court, according to the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act of 1956. The father is the boy's natural guardian, followed by the mother for unmarried girls. The father holds a strong place in Muslim law.

Adoption under this Act

Any male Hindu who is of sound mind, has a major, and is qualified to adopt a child may do so. If a Hindu man is married and wishes to adopt a kid, he must first obtain his wife's consent, which must be given freely.

Any Hindu woman who is of sound mind, is a major, and qualifies for adoption may adopt a child. If a married Hindu woman wishes to adopt a child, she must first obtain her husband's agreement, which must be given freely.

Applicability of this Act

Hindus and everyone else who falls within the broad definition of Hindus as outlined below are covered under the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act. The following individual is eligible to adopt a child in India, according to the provisions of this statute.

In the case Mohammed Khan v. Muhammad Ismail, it was determined that a Muslim might seek to adopt a child under the Guardians and Wards Act. Hindu law contains a variety of adoption-related rules, while Muslim, Christian, and Parsi personal laws do not. As a result, applicants for adoption under the Guardians and Wards Act of 1890 must approach the court.

Who can be Adopted

According to this Act

  • Any person residing in the territories is subject to this law.

  • Any individual who practices Hinduism in any of its manifestations, including Virashaivas, Lingayats, and adherents of the Brahmo, Prarthana, or Arya Samaj

  • You can adopt a child if you're a Buddhist, Jain, or Sikh.

  • Hindu, Buddhist, Jains, or Sikh parents who have a kid, whether they are married or not.

  • A kid, whether born legally or not, whose parents were raised as Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists, or Hindus

Validity of Adoption

According to Hindu adoption legislation, only a Hindu may adopt a child as long as they follow the requirements outlined in Section 6 of the act

The child is being given up for adoption by someone who is capable of doing so; the person being adopted is capable of being accepted in adoption; and the adoption is carried out in accordance with the law. Adoption won't be considered genuine unless these conditions are satisfied.


It is seen as a good deed for people to adopt a kid. In general, adoption refers to treating a child as one's own and adopting them knowingly. While there are several adoption-related provisions in Hindu law, there are none in the personal laws of Muslims, Christians, or Parsis people. As a result, these people must apply to the court for adoption under the Guardians and Wards Act of 1890. Once a kid has been permanently divorced from his biological parents, he becomes the legal child of his adoptive parents and is entitled to all of the rights associated with adoptive parents.

Thus, the adopted child is not permitted to marry either another adopted child or the biological child of his adoptive parents. Adopting a kid is seen as a positive gesture by humans under current adoption regulations. In general, adoption refers to treating a child as one's own and adopting them knowingly.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. What is the youngest age at which a child can be adopted?

Ans. According to the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, as such there is no minimum age of an adoptive child, it could be anything. However, the maximum age of adoption of a child is 18. But sometimes, it may vary as per the societal norms.

Q2. Is it possible to determine the gender of an adopted child?

Ans. The adoptive pair has the right to define the child's gender, as well as the child's skin tone, religion, and other characteristics.

Q3. Who cannot be taken or given in adoption?

Ans. For adoption, the essential point is - no person except the parents (either father or mother) or the legal guardian of a child shall have the capacity to give the child in adoption.

Updated on: 07-Mar-2023


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