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Simplification of child adoption process in India:

GS Paper 2:

Topics Covered: Separation of powers.



The Supreme Court has agreed to hear a plea that seeks to simplify the legal process involved in child adoption.


Need for:

The present adoption procedure is complex. As a result merely 4,000 adoptions happen on a yearly basis in our country.

  • The ongoing pandemic has left three crore children orphaned.
  • There is also an anomaly on the legislature front as adoption is being governed by the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956 which has a nodal ministry as the Ministry of Law and Justice while the aspects of Orphans are dealt with by the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
  • The ChildLine portal of the Government states that “UNICEF estimates that there are 25 million orphaned children in India in 2007” and, “Another study estimates that there are about 44 million destitute children and over 12 million orphan and abandoned children in India


Adoption in India:

In India, an Indian citizen or a non-resident Indian (NRI) can adopt a child under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956 and the Guardian and Wards Act of 1890.


Eligibility criteria for prospective adoptive parents:

  1. The prospective adoptive parents shall be physically, mentally and emotionally stable, financially capable and shall not have any life threatening medical condition.
  2. Any prospective adoptive parents, irrespective of his marital status and whether or not he has biological son or daughter, can adopt a child subject to following, namely:-
  1. the consent of both the spouses for the adoption shall be required, in case of a married couple;
  2. a single female can adopt a child of any gender;
  3. a single male shall not be eligible to adopt a girl child;
  1. No child shall be given in adoption to a couple unless they have at least two years of stable marital relationship.
  2. The minimum age difference between the child and either of the prospective adoptive parents shall not be less than twenty-five years.
  3. The age criteria for prospective adoptive parents shall not be applicable in case of relative adoptions and adoption by step-parent.
  4. Couples with three or more children shall not be considered for adoption except in case of special need children.


What is the procedure to be followed with children who have been orphaned?

  1. If someone has information about a child in need of care, then they must contact one of the four agencies: Childline 1098, or the district Child Welfare Committee (CWC), District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) or the helpline of the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights.
  2. Following this, the CWC will assess the child and place him or her in the immediate care of a Specialised Adoption Agency.
  3. When there is a child without a family, the State becomes the guardian.


About CARA:

  • Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a statutory body of Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India.
  • It functions as the nodal body for adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.
  • CARA is designated as the Central Authority to deal with inter-country adoptionsin accordance with the provisions of the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, 1993, ratified by Government of India in 2003.
  • CARA primarily deals with adoption of orphan, abandoned and surrendered children through its associated /recognised adoption agencies.
  • CARA is also mandated to frame regulations on adoption-related matters from time to time as per Section 68 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.


Insta Curious:

Did you know about the Eligibility criteria for prospective adoptive parents? Read here


Insta Link:

Prelims Link:

  1. What is Hague convention?
  2. Eligibility criteria for prospective adoptive parents in India.
  3. Overview of JJ Act.
  4. About CARA.
  5. Registration of Childcare institutions as per the Act.
  6. Latest amendments proposed.
  7. About NCPCR.

Mains Link:

How is child adoption regulated in India? What are the reforms necessary to further simplify the process.

Sources: Indian Express.