Adoption Rights

The adoption process of a new born child.

No, newborn child cannot be adopted. This is to ensure that in future there are no custodial disputes. Adoption should be done after the child is declared “legally free” for adoption. The process usually takes at least two months to complete.

A new born child if found abandoned, is admitted to  the specialized adoption agency, and the details of the same is presented to the child welfare committee. It is then published in the local newspaper to trace the biological parents or for a legal guardian. A 2 months’ time is given for this process. The child, is also declared for legally free for adoption if in case the child is given up by the biological parents, and a period of 60 days given after given a proper counselling to the parents to claim the child. So therefore all this generally takes a span of 3 months’ time period. 

Laws Governing Adoption in India.

An adoption can be made from an orphanage under the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890, subject to court's approval. In this case, the adoptive couple are guardians and not parents of the adopted child.  

Prospective parents going for adoption are now not allowed to "pick and choose" and can only accept or reject the child offered by the national adoption body. The new rule came into force from May 1, 2017. 

What is the age limit for adoption in India?

To adopt a child between 8 and 18 years of age, the prospective adoptive parent, if single, must not be more than 55 years of age. In the case of a couple, the combined ages of the partners should not exceed 110 years. 

Can unmarried girl adopt a child in India?

A single female can adopt a child of any gender, but a single male shall not be eligible to adopt a girl child. In case of a married couple, both spouses should give their consent for adoption. 

Can adoption be revoked?

Adoption once validly made is final and cannot be revoked. 

Who can give the child for adoption?

No person except the father or mother or the guardian of a child shall have the capacity to give the child in adoption. 

Property Rights of an adopted child

An adopted child enjoys all the rights that a legal heir would in a normal scenario. The term “son” is not defined by the Hindu Succession Act 1956 and, therefore, for all purposes, adopted son is also as much a legal heir as a biological son (Class-I). 

However, the Guardianship law and the Juvenile Justice Act 2015 upholds that children who aren't Hindus, has not completed 18 years of age, and is an orphan or abandoned, can also be adopted. Islam, Christianity, Parsis and the Jews do not have laws related to adoption and, therefore, if they wish to adopt, they must take up the guardianship of a child under the rules laid out in the Section 8 of the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890. Similarly, there are many rules that to-be adoptive parents need to follow.

Can an adopted child be disowned?

Yes. Just like a biological child, an adopted child can be disinherited.

Section 15 in The Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956- No adoption which has been validly made can be cancelled by the adoptive father or mother or any other person, nor can the adopted child renounce his or her status as such and return to the family of his or her birth. 

Can Christian couple adopt a child?

Like Muslims and Parsis, Christians also can adopt a child from an orphanage with the permission of the concerned court under the Guardian and Ward Act, 1980. Under the Act, a Christian can only take a child for foster care. Personal law of Muslims, Christians, Parsis and Jews does not recognize complete adoption. As non-Hindus to adopt a child legally, can adopt a child as 'guardianship' under the provisions of The Guardian and Wards Act, 1890.

Adoption procedure

  1. Parents register online on CARINGS (
  2. Select preferred Adoption Agency for HSR (Home Study Report) and State.
  3. User ID and Password generated.
  4. Upload documents within 30 days of registration.
  5. Registration number is generated.

Why does Muslim personal law not permit adoption.

All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) reports to the Law commission,  that the  reason why adoption is prohibited in Islam ,as there could be possibility of sexual relations between an adopted son and mother or an adopted son with a biological daughter, the is set to tell the Law Commission. While Islam allows, and even encourages, providing for an orphan, they cannot stay with you as a family unit after they hit puberty, 

In India, although adoption is allowed under a secular Juvenile Justice Act (Care and Protection of Children), Islam is said to prohibit inheritance rights or giving one’s name to an ‘adopted’ child. However, in 2014, the apex court ruled that the Islamic personal law prohibition against adoption cannot bar a Muslim from adopting a child under the Juvenile Justice Act.

Who can adopt a child under Hindu Law?                                                                                  

Men who is unmarried and major in age can adopt a boy child but is not permitted legally to adopt a girl child. Only unmarried Hindu women can legally adopt a child. In case of married couples both should give consent equally.

Can I adopt my friends child in India?

You need to prepare a adoption deed. The adoption has to be given by both the birth parents if both are alive. The adoption must be taken by both the parents taking the baby for adoption. The adoption deed must be registered before the SDM or Registrar of documents. 

Can a single parent who has her biological kids adopt a relative's baby?

A single parent with their own biological kids – Daughter or son- can also adopt a child except that there should not be more than 4 kids ,unless he/ she is adopting a child of a relative, a child with special needs, or a stepchild. 

Inheritance rights of an adopted child of a widow.

The Supreme Court has a ruling that a child adopted by a Hindu widow would not have any rights to the property of the woman's deceased husband and may lay claim only over the property inherited by his mother. 

Can a Hindu widow adopt a child?

Formerly, a widow could not adopt without the consent and express authority of her deceased husband or in some cases required consent of her Sapindas ( relations sometimes up to six male ancestors lineage).But the Act removes such a bar and allows widow to adopt and can adopt for herself.   

Child adoption from hospitals is illegal in India.      

Only adoptions facilitated by the Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA) are both legal and ethical. Child adoption from hospitals is illegal in India. 

The adopting parents if they need to take the child out of the country they need to get an NOC from CARA. 

Under Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 a child who has completed the age of fifteen years shall not be given in adoption unless there is a custom or usage applicable to the parties who are willing to make an adoption that permits them to adopt a child above the age of fifteen years.

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