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Amendments to bring gender balance in adoption laws in India

  In India the women will now be given the same rights as men to guardianship and adoption of children irrespective of marital status. A proposed amendment to existing laws to make this effective will become reality this year.

  According to the Guardians and Wards Act of 1890 which applies to Christians, Muslims, Parsis and Jews if a couple adopts a child, the father is a natural guardian. The proposed amendment to the 120 year old Act allows the mother to also be appointed guardian. The Personal Laws (amendment) Bill 2010 was accepted unanimously by the parliamentary standing committee on law and justice to amend the existing laws.

  The Bill provides for the mother to be appointed guardian along with the father so courts do not appoint anyone else in case the father ceases to exist. The mother will be responsible even as a trustee of the property in case the minor child inherits his or her share of the property.

  The second amendment proposed in the Hindu Adoption Maintenance Act 1956 aims to remove hurdles in the way of a married woman to adopt and also give a child up for adoption merely on the basis of her marital status. In the present laws unmarried and divorced women as well as widows are allowed to adopt but not the women separated from their husbands or engaged in lengthy divorce battles. This amendment will allow a woman in the process of getting a divorce also to adopt.

Source : Hindustan Times

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