Under Indian law, adoption of a child is termed as a legal coalition between the party (parents) willing to adopt and a child. Adoption can be legal as well as illegal but in India, only legal adoption is recognized.
What is legal adoption?
According to section 2(aa) of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Act, 2006, “Adoption means the process through which the adopted child is permanently separated from his biological parent and becomes the legitimate child of his adoptive parents with all right, privileges and responsibility that are attached to the relationship”.
Who has a right to adopt a child in India?
Under the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, only the underneath category of people has a right to a child:
• Any male Hindu who is of sound mind and is not a minor has the capacity to take a son or a daughter in adoption. Provided that, if he has a wife living, he shall not adopt except with the consent of his wife unless the wife has completely and finally renounced the world or has ceased to be a Hindu or has been declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be of unsound mind.
• Any female Hindu, who is of sound mind, who is not a minor and who is not married, or if married, whose marriage has been dissolved or whose husband is dead or has completely and finally renounced the world or has ceased to be a Hindu or has been declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be of unsound mind, has the capacity to take a son or daughter in adoption.
In India, there are no separate laws for adoption for Muslims, Christian, Parsis and Jews. So, if they wish to legally adopt a child, they have to approach court under the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 for adoption.