Adoption under Hindu Law

Adoption in Hindu law is governed under Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956. The Act has not mentioned the definition of adoption. However, in Manu smriti, Adoption has been described as ‘taking someone else’s son and raising him as one’s own’. 

Section 6 of Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 provides for requisites of valid adoption. It says that No adoption shall be valid unless-

  • the person adopting has the capacity, and also the right, to take in adoption;
  • the person giving in adoption has the capacity to do so;
  • the person adopted is capable of being taken in adoption; and
  • the adoption is made in compliance with the other conditions mentioned in this Chapter.

In order to adopt a child, the person must be a Hindu and have the capacity to adopt it. A Hindu male who wishes to adopt a child must meet the requirements provided in Section 7 of the act and a Hindu female wanting to adopt shall abide by Section 8 of the same. No one but the parents and guardian of the child can give them up for adoption as per Section 9 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act. 

As per the act:

  • Only the biological father of a child has the authority to give him up for adoption
  • The consent of the child’s biological mother is necessary.

A mother will have the capacity to give the child up for adoption if:

  • The father is either dead;
  • Of unsound mind; 
  • Has renounced the world; or 
  • Converted to some other religion.

When adopting a child, a person must comply with some additional conditions which is given under Section 11 of  Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act. further, the effect of adoption is given under Section 12 which says that Adoption will completely change the life of a child in many ways. The chuld becomes a part of a new family and will have rights in the property as well.

It is important for the adoption to be valid to have any effect at all.

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