Adoption Under Hindu Law

 Adoption Under Hindu Law

The Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance act:

The Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act was enacted in India in 1956 as part of the Hindu Code Bills. The other legislations enacted during this time include the Hindu Marriage Act (1955), the Hindu Succession Act (1956), and the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act (1956). All of these acts were put forth under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru and were meant to codify and standardize the current Hindu legal tradition. The Adoptions and Maintenance Act of 1956 dealt specifically with the legal process of adopting children by a Hindu adult, and with the legal obligations of a Hindu to provide "maintenance" to various family members including their wives or parents, and in-laws.

Application of this act:

This act applies to Hindus and all those considered under the umbrella term of Hindus, which includes a Hindu by religion in any of its forms or development; a Buddhist, Jain, or Sikh; a child legitimate or illegitimate whose parents are Hindus, Buddhists, Jains or Sikhs; a child legitimate or illegitimate one of whose parents are Hindus, Buddhists, Jains or Sikhs and has been so brought up; an abandoned child, legitimate or illegitimate of unknown parentage brought up as a Hindu, Buddhist, etc.; and a convert to the Hindu, Buddhist, Jain or Sikh religion.

Persons who are Muslims, Christians, Parsis, or Jews are excluded from this definition. The act does not also apply to adoptions that took place before the date of enactment. However, it does apply to any marriage that has taken place before or after the Act had come into force. Moreover, if the wife is not a Hindu then the husband is not bound to provide maintenance for her under this Act under modern Hindu Law.

Who can adopt?

Under this act only Hindus may adopt subject to their fulfillment of certain criteria:

 The first of these asserts that the adopter has the legal right to (under this Act that would mean they are a Hindu). They have to have the capacity to be able to provide for the adopted child. Thirdly the child must be capable of being adopted. Lastly, compliance with all other specifications must be met to make the adoption valid.

Men can adopt if they have the consent of their wives or all of their wives. The only way of getting around obtaining the permission of the wife or the wives is if she or if they are unsound if they have died if they have completely and finally renounced the world, and if they have ceased to be a Hindu. Unmarried men can adopt as well as long as they are not a minor. However, if a man were to adopt a daughter, the man must be twenty-one years of age or older.

Only unmarried Hindu women can legally adopt a child. A married woman can only give her consent to adoption by her husband. A married woman whose husband adopts a child is to be considered the mother. If the child is adopted and more than one wife is living in the household, then the senior wife is classified as the legal mother of the adopted child.

Who can be adopted?

The adopted child can be either male or female. The adopted child must fall under the Hindu category. The adoptee also needs to be unmarried. The child cannot be the age of fifteen or older unless again it is custom or the usage applies to the involved parties. Adoption can only occur if there is not a child of the same sex of the adopted child still residing in the home. 

Legal implications for an adopted child

From the date of the adoption, the child is under the legal guardianship of the new adopted parent(s) and thus should enjoy all the benefits from those family ties. This also means that this child, therefore, is cut off from all legal benefits (property, inheritance, etc.) from the family who had given him or her up for adoption

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