According to Central Adoption Resource Authority data, there have been a total of 3,559 adoptions from April 2020 to March 2021.

What is Adoption?

Last updated on Apr 8, 2022

Adoption is1 the process through which a prospective adoptive parent(s) lawfully assumes the responsibility of a child, including all the rights, privileges and responsibilities that have already been given to the child. After the legal formalities of adoption are done, the child is permanently separated from their biological parents and is assumed to be the child2 of the adoptive parents.

In India, the laws on adoption are based on the religion of the parents and the child. You can choose which law applies to you from the options given below.

If you are a Hindu, Buddhist, Jain and Sikh

If you are a Hindu, Buddhist, Jain or Sikh (referred to collectively as Hindu) then you have the option of adopting under the Hindu adoption law known as the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 (HAMA). It provides for adoption of Hindu children3. You cannot adopt under this law if you are a Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew, or from Scheduled Tribes4.  If you want to adopt under the Hindu law, read more here.

All other religions

If you do not want to or cannot adopt under a religious law, then you have the option of adopting under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 (JJ Act), which is a general adoption law under which any person of any religion5 can adopt, including Hindus, Scheduled Tribes, etc. Read more to understand how the process of adoption works under this law.

See the table given below if you want to understand which law you should adopt under: 

Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 (HAMA)

(Hindu Law)

Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015

(Non-Religious Law)

Adoptive Parents can only be Hindu, Buddhist, Jain or Sikh. You cannot adopt under this law if you are a Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew or from Scheduled Tribes. Adoptive Parents can be of any religion, caste or tribe.
Only Hindu children can be adopted Any child of any religion can be adopted
Children up to 15 years can be adopted Children up to 18 years can be adopted
Procedure to adopt is not given in detail. Usually a deed is executed to adopt the child. The procedure for adoption is different for different categories depending on who you are:

 

  1. Section 2(2), Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015; Section 63, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.[]
  2. Section 63, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015[]
  3. Section 2(1), Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956.[]
  4. Section 2(2), Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956.[]
  5. Section 56 (1),  Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.[]

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Who can Adopt?

Under the non-religious law on adoption, you must meet certain conditions to be considered as a prospective adoptive parent.

Procedure for Adoption by Relative (Non-Religious Law)

As a relative of a child, following the non-religious law to adopt, you can adopt both within India and also do inter-country adoptions.

Role of Courts

The Courts play a very important role during the adoption procedure by way of giving adoption orders, permission to adopt and appeals.

Effects of Adoption

There are certain effects of adoption which arise with respect to property rights and familial connections.

Children Legally Free for Adoption

Declaring a child legally free for adoption allows such children to be put up for adoption under the non-religious law.

Procedure for Adoption by Resident Indians (Non-Religious Law)

As a resident Indian, you may opt for adoption within India. Your application for adoption will go through various stages.