Adoption- The Present Law
Authored By- Pooja Koul
Keywords- Adoption, Child Welfare Association, CARA, Hindu Adoption, and Maintenance Act, Juvenile Justice Act, Section 2(a)
In this article, the author analyzes adoption and laws relating to that. Adoption is defined under Section 2(a) of the Juvenile Justice Amendment Act. Adoption is a very beautiful process in which a childless couple gets a child and a homeless child gets home and loving parents. HAMA is an act that permits only Hindus, Jains, and Sikhs to adopt a child whereas the Guardian and Wards Act allows non-Hindus to adopt a child but can only act as guardians. This discrimination is because of the lack of a Uniform Civil Code. Lastly, this article concludes that people should adopt children at large and should help in maintaining the population of the country and also provide a good life to abandoned children especially girls.
Adoption is a pure and beautiful process in which a homeless child gets a home and loving parents to live with. It establishes a parent-child relationship between persons who are not related biologically. This process is generally defined as people who take a child not born to them and raise and take care of that child as a family member. Adoption is a legal process and many newlywed couples prefer to adopt a child. In India, orphanages are filled with abandoned children, and whenever a girl child is born people throw them to orphanages without giving it a second thought. Some highly educated people don't know the value of a girl child and adoption is the best way to give them new life.
Adoption in India
Section 2(a) of the Juvenile Justice Amendment Act, 2006 says that adoption is a process through which two parties adopt a child and become the legitimate parents with all the rights and responsibilities attached to the relationship and the adopted child is permanently separated from its biological parents. In India, there was no common law of adoption but it was legalized by an act amongst Hindus, this concept was only available for the Hindus, they were allowed to adopt a child whereas Muslims, Christians and Parsis had no laws for adoption they can adopt a child but can only act as their guardians, because of its religion-specific nature it was unjust to the children and also acted as a hindrance in the formation of a uniform civil code.
Adoption is a very sensitive issue in India as every day many children are pushed into orphanages because of some family issues. It is a sad truth that in a highly populated country no one can take care of a child. Even when we see children begging on the roadside for food and clothes instead of helping them people ignore them. This is one of the reasons why children have to stay alone in orphanages.
Eligibility criteria for adoption in India
· Parents should be economically, physically, and mentally stable and financially capable of adoption.
· A person regardless of his/her marital status can adopt a child.
· A single male parent cannot adopt a girl child.
· A single female parent can adopt a child of any gender.
· At least two years of the marital relationship is needed for the adoption of a child.
· Step-parent adoption is not allowed.
· In the case of a married couple, the consent of both parents is important.
The Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956
This act provides the adoption of children to all Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs. This act came into force on 21st December 1956. HAMA contains 30 sections with sections 1-17 dealing with the adoption rules.
· Section 6- This section states that adoption shall not be valid unless the person who is adopting, the person who is giving in adoption and the person who is to be adopted can do so.
· Section 7- This section says that any Hindu male who is a major and of sound mind can adopt and if he has a wife, he has to take the consent of the wife.
· Section 8- According to the section of HAMA any Hindu female who is a major and of sound mind can adopt and if she has a husband, she has to take the consent of the husband.
· Section 9- This section mainly talks about the ability of the person to give in adoption.
· Section 10-This section says that a child can be given in adoption under this Act only if he/she is a Hindu, not already been adopted, not been married, and not completed the age of 15 years.
· Section 11- This section states that a person who already has a child cannot adopt another child of the same sex. And also there must be 21 years of an age gap between the adoptive parents and the adopted child.
· Section 12-Under this act adopted child gets the same legal right as a biological child gets.
· Section 15- Adoption under this act is final and permanent.
The Guardians and Wards Act, 1890
Under this act all the non-Hindus (Muslims, Christians, Parsis) were allowed to adopt, as they were not given authority to adopt under Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act 1956. Under this act, the people who are adopting are known as guardians and the child who is adopted is known as a ward, therefore the child does not have equal rights as of biological child. Any child who is less than the age of 18 can be the ward. In this act, adoption is revocable unlike of Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956. The guardian or the courts can revoke the guardianship. Under this act, both the people can be guardians while under the HAMA consent of both the people is important for adoption. Under this act single person be it male or female can adopt a child without any age difference limitations.
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act 2000 (amended in 2006)
Juvenile justice Act mainly deals with the care and recovery of children even though they are adoptive. This section was amended in 2006 in which some minute changes were inserted regarding adoption and this section was expanded. Some major points regarding this act are:
· Any person or Indian citizen who is legally eligible for adoption can adopt a child.
· The same rights are provided to the adopted child as that of a biological child.
· The religion of the parents who are going to adopt is not important
· Single parents are it male or female can also adopt.
· Adoption is irrevocable.
· Guidelines issued by CARA shall be applied in all the matters regarding adoption.
Lastly, I conclude this topic by saying that an adoption is a pure act and many people or couples should adopt a child, as this process will give a home to a homeless child and a child to childless couples and the love that child needs at that age. In India many orphanages are filled with abandoned children and especially girl children mostly because of some uneducated people who think girl children bring unfortunate, adoption is the best way to give the best life. India is a very highly populated country and people should perform adoption at large scale to maintain the population. Because of adoption a child will get proper care and protection and will also have a bright future. And gender bias should not be the criteria to adopt a child.