Before the year 2015, The only religious communities that could adopt children were Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jews, whose personal law, codified in the form of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956, allowed for adoption of children.

Specifically, Islam, Christianity, Judaism and Zoroastrianism — were essentially prohibited from adopting children, as their personal laws did not permit it.


In this write-up, we shall discuss about the Eligibility criteria for adopting a child in India under The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 (JJ Act). This act has integrated the Indian law on adoption, which was scattered and ridden with religious requirements before 2015.

Post Enactment of JJ Act, 2015 a Study shows that 60% Children Adopted in India Between 2015 & 2018 Were Girls this ultimate change happened just because of the developments in the Child adoption law in India this also sets some eligibility criteria which is discussed below for you to effectively follow the guidelines.

  1. Marital Status

You do not have to be married in order to be considered for the adoption of a child. However, there are different eligibility criteria, depending on whether you are married or single. The criteria are:

If you are singleIf you are married
As a single person, you are eligible for adoption. However, only single women can adopt either a girl or a boy, while single men can only adopt a boy.In case of a married couple, the law requires that both spouses’ consent to the adoption. Additionally, to be considered for adoption, the married couple must have had at least two years of stable marital relationship.
  • Financial Status

The law has not specified minimum income levels as an eligibility criterion, the social worker (who is assigned to conduct the home study) will evaluate the capability and motivation of the prospective adoptive family to provide reasonable living standards to the child.

  • Health
Must be physically fitNo life-threatening medical conditionMust be mentally and emotionally stable
  • Existing Child or Children
(a) children with special needs

(b) children who are hard to place (i.e. children who have not received any referrals for adoption since a long time),(c) relative adoption

(d) adoption by step-parent

Under the law, couples with three or more children will not be considered for adoption. However, following cases are not covered in existing child eligibility criteria:

  • Age Criteria

The minimum age difference between the child and the prospective adoptive parent must be at least 25 years. In the case of a couple who wants to adopt, the combined age.

There are age criteria that must be conformed to, in order to adopt a child falling within a certain age bracket.

To adopt a child up to 4 years of age, the prospective adoptive parent, if single, must not be more than 45 years of age. In the case of a couple, the combined ages of the partners should not exceed 90 years.

To adopt a child between 4 and 8 years of age, the prospective adoptive parent, if single, must not be more than 50 years of age. In the case of a couple, the combined ages of the partners should not exceed 100 years.

To adopt a child between 8 and 18 years of age, the prospective adoptive parent, if single, must not be more than 55 years of age. In the case of a couple, the combined ages of the partners should not exceed 110 years.

 All This age criteria do not apply in cases of relative adoption and adoption by step-parent.

The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, at a Glance:

While India’s gender ratio might be skewed, but for parents who are looking to adopt, a girl child is slowly becoming their first preference. Though after enactment of JJ Act different parameters have been set in India to adopt a child.

Since, there was no uniform legal framework that governed the adoption of children. Thus, adoptions were a purely religious matter before the year 2015.

Adopting a child in India confers a serious responsibility upon a Parent. Once the adoption has been formalized, the child will become the lawful child, with all the rights, responsibilities and privileges that are attached to a biological child.

CARA (Central Adoption Resource Authority)

  1. CARA is the nodal body for adoption of Indian children and is mandated to promote and facilitate in-country adoptions and regulate inter-country adoptions, as Central Authority of Government of India.
  2. The parent(s) who wishes to adopt a child is required to register online with CARA where they can state preferences and upload the documents, as mentioned on its official website.
  3. Once the registration is received, the parent can select a Specialized Adoption Agency, selected from place of residence, for Home Study that is conducted through a social worker
  4. The report remains valid for three years and confirms the suitability of the parents for adopting a child. After they are found to be eligible and suitable, they are given referrals of children legally free for adoption.
  5. Apart from resident and non-resident Indians, even overseas citizens of India and foreign parents can adopt children from the country.
  6. The prospective adoptive parents have to reserve a child referred to them within 48 hours. An appointment is thereafter fixed with the adoption committee of the agency for matching the PAP with the suitable child.
  7. Website, send email to [email protected] or avail the toll free helpline 1800-11-1311

Ending Note:

The need of the hour is to sensitize not just parents but also the future generation in schools and other institutions for increased acceptance of adoption.

It is always advised that the child must be made aware that he or she has been adopted in due course of time, at an appropriate age and in an appropriate manner. Adoption is not a taboo but an alternative way of making a family.

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By csannusharma

CS Annu Sharma is a qualified and experienced professional in the field of Company Secretarial and Legal activities. With an impressive academic background and relevant certifications, she has demonstrated exceptional expertise and dedication in her career. Education: Qualified Company Secretary (CS) from the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI). Graduate in Law from Indraparasth Law College, enabling a strong legal foundation in her professional journey. Graduate in Commerce from Delhi University, providing her with a comprehensive understanding of financial and business concepts. Certifications: Certified CSR Professional from the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI), showcasing her commitment to corporate social responsibility and ethical business practices. Work Experience: She possesses an extensive and diversified work experience of more than 7 years, focusing on Secretarial and Legal activities. Throughout her career, she has consistently showcased her ability to handle complex corporate governance matters and legal compliance with utmost efficiency and precision. Current Position: Currently, Mrs. Annu holds a prominent position in an NSE Listed Entity, namely Globe International Carriers Limited, based in Jaipur. As a key member of the organization, she plays a vital role in ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements, advising the management on corporate governance best practices, and safeguarding the company's interests. Professional Attributes: Thorough knowledge of corporate laws, regulations, and guidelines in India, enabling her to provide strategic insights and support in decision-making processes. Expertise in handling secretarial matters, including board meetings, annual general meetings, and other statutory compliances. Proficiency in drafting legal documents, contracts, and agreements, ensuring accuracy and adherence to legal requirements. Strong understanding of corporate social responsibility and its impact on sustainable business practices. Excellent communication and interpersonal skills, enabling effective collaboration with various stakeholders, both internal and external. Personal Traits: Mrs. Annu Khandelwal is known for her dedication, integrity, and commitment to maintaining the highest ethical standards in her professional conduct. Her meticulous approach to work and attention to detail make her an invaluable asset to any organization she is associated with. Conclusion: Cs Annu 's profile exemplifies a highly qualified and accomplished Company Secretary, well-versed in legal matters and corporate governance. With her wealth of experience and commitment to excellence, she continues to contribute significantly to the success and growth of the organizations she serves.

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