Adoption law in India

Persons who may be adopted– No person shall be capable of being taken in adoption unless the following conditions are fulfilled, namely-

(i) He or she is a Hindu;

(ii) He or she has not already been adopted;

(iii) He or she has not been married, unless there is a custom or usage applicable to the parties which permits persons who are married being taken in adoption;

(iv) He or she has not completed the age of fifteen years, unless there is a custom or usage applicable to the parties which permits persons who have completed the age of fifteen years being taken in adoption.

Other conditions for a valid adoption– In every adoption, the following conditions must be complied with:

(i) if any adoption is of a son, the adoptive father or mother by whom the adoption is made must not have a Hindu son, son’s son or son’s son’s son whether by legitimate blood relationship or by adoption) living at the time of adoption;

(ii) If the adoption is of a daughter the adoptive father or mother by whom the adoption is made must not have a Hindu daughter or son’s daughter (whether by legitimate blood relationship or by adoption) living at the time of adoption;

(iii) If the adoption is by a male and the person to be adopted is a female, the adoptive father is at least twenty-one years older than the person to be adopted;

(iv) If the adoption is by a female and the person to be adopted is a male, the adoptive mother is at least twenty-one years older than the person to be adopted;

(v) The same child may not be adopted simultaneously by two or more persons;

(vi) The child to be adopted must be actually given and taken in adoption by the parents or guardian concerned or under their authority with intent to transfer the child from the family of its birth or in the case of an abandoned child or a child whose parentage is not known, from the place or family where it has been brought up to the family of its adoption. Provided that the performance of datta homan, shall not be essential to the validity of an adoption.

Effect of adoptions– An adopted child shall be deemed to be the child of his or her adoptive father or mother for all purposes with effect from the date of the adoption and from such date all the ties of the child in the family of his or her birth shall be deemed to be severed and replaced by those created by the adoption in the adoptive family.

Provided that-

(a) The child cannot marry any person whom he or she could not have married if he or she had continued in the family of his or her birth;

(b) Any property which vested in the adopted child before the adoption shall continue to vest in such person subject to the obligations, if any, attaching to the ownership of such property, including the obligation to maintain relatives in the family of his or her birth;

(c) The adopted child shall not divest any person of any estate which vested in him or her before the adoption.

Right of adoptive parents to dispose of their properties– Subject to any agreement to the contrary, an adoption does not deprive the adoptive father or mother of the power to dispose of his or her property by transfer inter vivos or by will.

Determination of adoptive mother in certain cases– (1) Where a Hindu who has a wife living adopts a child she shall be deemed to be the adoptive mother.

(2) Where an adoption has been made with the consent of more than one wife, the senior most in marriage among them shall be deemed to be the adoptive mother and the others to be stepmothers.

(3) Where a widower or a bachelor adopts a child, any wife whom he subsequently marries shall be deemed to be the stepmother of the adopted child.

(4) Where a widow or an unmarried woman adopts a child, any husband whom she marries subsequently shall be deemed to be the stepfather of the adopted child.

Valid adoption not to be cancelled– No adoption which had 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,

Presumption as to registered documents relating to adoption

Whenever any document registered under any law for the time being in force is produced before any court purporting to record an adoption made and is signed by the person giving and the person taking the child in adoption, the court shall presume that the adoption has been made in compliance with the provisions of this Act unless and until it is disproved.

Prohibition of certain payments– (1) No person shall receive or agree to receive any payment or other reward in consideration of the adoption of any person, and no person shall make or give or agree to make or give to any other person any payment or reward the receipt of which is prohibited by this section.

(2) If any person contravenes the provisions of sub-section (1), he shall be punishable with imprisonment which may extend to six months, or with fine, or with both.

(3) No prosecution under this section shall be instituted without the previous sanction of the State Government or an officer authorized by the State Government in this behalf.

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