Question: “The right of a female to adopt a child under Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act 1956 has been undergone a major shift.” Comment.


Note: this post is a part of our important question answer series on Family Law. You can read other questions by clicking here.



Indeed, the concept of adoption has undergone a remarkable change under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act (HAMA) 1956. It is no longer strictly based on religious and spiritual considerations. The focus has shifted towards providing a loving home for a child. This change also represents a significant reduction in gender bias.


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Provisions mentioned under the original act

Section 8 of HAMA contains the relevant provision. It states:

“Any female Hindu-

(a) who is of sound mind,

(b) who is not a minor, and

(c) who is not married, or if married, whose marriage has been dissolved or whose husband is dead or has completely and finally renounced the world or has ceased to be a Hindu or has been declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be of unsound mind,

has the capacity to take a son or daughter in adoption.”

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Position after the amendment

The Parliament introduced the Personal Laws (Amendment) Act, 2010 which made necessary changes to HAMA to make it more gender neutral. Now, after the amendment, it reads as:

 “any female Hindu who is of sound mind and is not a minor has the capacity to take a son or a daughter in adoption. Provided that:

(A) She is required to take consent of her husband if she is married.

(B) She is exempted from taking such consent if the husband has completely renounced the world or the husband is ceased to be Hindu or he has been declared of unsound mind by a court of competent jurisdiction.

Moreover, during the subsistence of marriage, if husband wants to adopt a child, the consent of his wife is necessary to do so.

Also read: Difference Between Contract of Indemnity and Guarantee (Contract Law)


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