Utmost importance was attached to a son in Hindu Law as he saved his  ancestors from hell, he offered pind daan on occasion of shraadh, and  he continued his afther’s lineor name of family.

It must be for this purpose that custom of adoption must have been

devised. Daughter was not adopted.

The desire to have the natural born son is considered to be the basis of  adoption among Hindus. If a person had no natural born son he was  allowed to take son of some other person as his own. The sonship was  given importance due to various religious and secular purposes in  ancient period.

As obsered by the SC in Chandrasekhara Mudaliar v. Kulandaivelu  Mudaliar, AIR 1963 SC 185, that it may be safely held that the validity  of an adoption has to be judged by spiritual rather than temporal  considerations and devolution of property is only of secondary  importance.

Law of adoption is given in old shastras (referring to shastras i.e.  Smritis, Mitaksharas and Dayabhaga and in Dattaka Mimansa and  Dattaka Chandrika


Adoption  is  the act of  a person taking  as his lawful child  a  person  who  is  not  in  fact  his  child.  It  is  the transplantation of a son from the family in which he is born into  another family by way of gift made by his natural parents to the  adopting parents. The adoption meant the removal of the child from  the natural family and his transplantation in the adoptive family,  so much so that all his ties with the natural family were severed  and all the ties in the adoptive family came into existence. He  was not merely related to the adoptive parents, but also to all  relations on the paternal and maternal side in the adoptive  family.

Law of adoption for Hindus is HAMA, 1956 now.

Under HAMA, 1956, adoption is a private act without any  supervision by the state. No order of the court is necessary for an  adoption except when the guardian gives the child in adoption\


No adoption shall be valid unless-

(i) the person adopting has the capacity, and also the right, to  take in adoption (SS. 7 & 8);

(ii) the person giving in adoption has the capacity to do so (S. 9);

(iii) the person adopted is capable of being taken in adoption (S.10);

(iv)  the  adoption  is  made  in  compliance  with  the  other  conditions mentioned in this Chapter (S. 11).


1.Right to adopt: Sections 7 & 8

The person adopting whether male or female should have the  capacity to take a child in adoption. Such capacity exists when he is of  sound mind and is not minor. A bachelor, widow, widower or divorcee  can also adopt. If the adopter has a legally wedded wife, he shall take  her consent (Express or Implied). In void marriage consent is not  necessary. If he has more than one wife, the consent of all wives is  necessary. Before the commencement of the HAMA, 1956, the wife had  no such power.

A married woman totally lacks capacity to adopt.

Position changed after Personal Laws Amendment Act,  2010 in sec. 8 “Any female hindu who is of sound mind and is not a  minor has the capacity to take a child in adoption provided that, if she  has a husband living, she shall not adopt except with the consent of her  husband unless the husband has renounced the world or ceased to be a  hindu or decalred by a court of competent jurisdiction to be of  unsound mind.

2.Capacity to give child in adoption: Section 9

The list under s. 9 (1) include three persons – Father,  Mother and Guardian.

The person giving in adoption should have the capacity to  do so. While the father is alive generally he alone can give in adoption  but he can do so only with the consent of the mother of the child unless  she has renounced the world or cased to be Hindu or has been declared  to be of unsound mind by a court of competent jurisdiction. The  mother can give the child in adoption if the father of the child is dead  or has renounced the world or has ceased to be a hindu or has been  declared to be of unsound mind by a court of competent jurisdiction.

The expression father & mother do not include adoptive  father and mother.

Duty of court when the adoptionis through guardian:-

1.The court must be satisfied that the adoption will be for the Welfare of  the child.

2.Wishes of the child, having regard to his age & understanding.

3.No consideration is involved in the adoption.

3.The adoptee should be capable of being taken in adoption- Section 10

The child to be adopted should be under fifteen years of age. A  boy or a girl may be adopted. Formerly only a male child could be adopted.  Now it is possible to adopt a daughter. The child should be a Hindu, and  should not have been previously adopted by someone else. A married person  cannot be taken in adoption unless permitted by custom. In Bombay school  of Hindu law custom the adoption of a married male.

4.Other conditions of a valid adoption- section 11

A son cannot be adopted if the adopter has a Hindu son, son’s  son or son’s son’s son living at the time of adoption. A daughter cannot be adopted if the  adopter has a daughter or son’s daughter living at the time of adoption.  A male cannot adopt a female child unless he is at last 21 years older  than the adoptee. A woman cannot adopt a male child unless she is 21  years older than the adoptee. The same child cannot be adopted  simultaneously by more than one person. No person should give or  receive any payment or reward in consideration of the adoption. The  contravention of this does not invalidate the adoption, but the person  contravening is punishable with fine or six months imprisonment or  with both.

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