What Are The Adoption Laws In India?

Adoption Laws in India are a bit difficult to understand initially. Furthermore, the lack of a uniform civil code in terms of family matters has made the adoption process in India unique and biased. While government processes have never exactly been simple, adoption in India can surprisingly be a comparatively quick process. There are different processes for different religions, if done right it’s as easy as getting into engineering. Here’s everything you need to know about child adoption in India.

Adoption Rules In India

The adoption rules in India are as diverse as the country itself. Hence, they range from age requirements to the religion you belong to. As a result, these rules might fail you in more than one criterion. Adoption rules in India can be divided into two categories which happen to be two different laws, namely:

Hindu Law

Hindu Law or the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956 is for Hindus, Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs. This is the only law that treats the adopted child equivalent to a natural-born child. Here’s the adoption process in India under the Hindu Law:

  • Firstly, you must be a Hindu, Buddhist, Jain or Sikh by religion
  • You must be physically and economically stable. Furthermore, a prospective adoptive parent should not be of unsound mind or a lunatic person
  • Anyone can go through with child adoption in India if they meet the following criterion:
      1. You have the consent of your spouse in case of a married couple
      2. A single female can adopt the child of any gender
      3. A single male cannot adopt a girl child
  • Child adoption in India cannot be done by a couple unless they’ve been in two years of a stable marital relationship
  • The age of prospective adoptive parents, as on the date of registration is:

Age of child

*in years

Maximum composite age of prospective adoptive parents (couple)

*in years

Maximum age of a single prospective adoptive parent

*in years

Up to 4 90  45 
4 to 8  100  50 
8 to 18  110  55 


  • The minimum age difference between the child and either of the prospective adoptive parents must not be more than 25 years.
  • Couples who have three or more children are only considered for the advocacy of a child in special cases.

*Under the Hindu Law child adoption takes place out irrespective of marital status*

Guardians And Wards Act, 1890

Muslims, Christians, Parsis and Jews have personal religious laws that do not recognize complete adoption. As a result, people belonging to these religions don’t come under the Hindu Act. Thus, anyone belonging to one of these religions cannot go through with child adoption. Therefore, that person can take guardianship of a child under the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890. This, however, does not provide the acquired child with the same status as a biological child. Unlike the Hindu Law, the Guardian and Ward Act don’t allow a child to inherit the guardian’s assets. Furthermore, the Act confers only a guardian-ward relationship.

The legal guardian-ward association stays until the child turns 21 years old. Furthermore, Non-Indian citizens adopt under this Act to assume legal guardianship of the child. Accordingly, the court has to be assured, that they would legally adopt the child as per the laws of their country. Which shouldn’t take more than two years after the arrival of the child in their country.

Child Adoption Rules In India

The adoption laws in India to carry out a legal adoption are:

In-country (India) Procedure for ado

  • Parents register online on the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) website
  • Select preferred Adoption Agency for a Home Study Report and preferred state/s
  • After which User ID and Password will be generated.
  • Upload documents within 30 days of registration.
  • Post that Registration number will be generated.
  • Specialized Adoption Agency conducts the Home Study Report of the prospective adoptive parents. The agency also uploads it on the Child Adoption Rescue Information and Guiding System within 30 days from the submission of the documents.
  • The suitability of Prospective Adoptive Parents is determined. However, if not found suitable they are informed with reasons for rejection
  • Prospective Adoptive Parents reserve one child, as per their preference from up to 6 children
  • They visit the adoption agency within 15 days from the date of reservation and finalize
  • If the child is not finalized within the given time, the prospective adoptive parents come down in the preference list
  • On acceptance of the child by the prospective adoptive parents, subsequently, the Specialized Adoption Agency completes the referral and adoption process
  • Adoptive parents take the child in pre-adoption foster care and Specialized Adoption Agency files petition in the court
  • If everything goes as planned an adoption court order is issued
  • A post-adoption follow-up report is conducted for a couple of years.

 Instructions for Online Parent Registration for Adoption in India

  • First of all, register through this method only if you’re an Indian citizen living in India
  • Please give your correct residential address and telephone number with area code
  • You or your spouse must have a PAN card. Subsequently, you have to upload the PAN card in a PDF Format which should not exceed 512 KB in size
  • Upload your photograph in case of a single parent. While in the case of a couple upload a family photograph in .JPG Format which should not exceed 1 MB in size
  • You must have a mobile number and an email account
  • After successful registration, you will receive an online acknowledgement letter with your registration and credential details
  • If misplaced, the online acknowledgement letter can be regenerated from the Forgot Password link in the Track Status page.


In conclusion, everyone deserves a chance to bring up a child, irrespective of their religion. Above all, every child deserves a chance to grow up in a loving and nurturing environment. Lastly, the adoption laws in India are unfair to many people. For the most part, a uniform civil code can change the scene, of what seems like a frustrating process for wannabe parents.