CARA rules on Adoption for live-in

Prelims level : Women & Children Mains level : Paper – III Government Policies & Intervention in various Sector & issues arising out of their design & Implementation.
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  • Individuals in a live-in relationship will be able to adopt children from and within India after the country’s nodal adoption agency decided to withdraw a circular issued earlier this year disallowing them from doing so.


  • The Child Adoption Regulatory Authority (CARA), in a circular issued on May 31, barred applicants in a live-in relationship from adopting a child on the ground that “the Authority would like the children to be placed only with a stable family and individuals in a live-in relationship cannot be considered as stable family.”
  • The revised guidelines have been framed keeping in mind the issues and challenges faced by CARA, Adoption Agencies and Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPs) and are intended to provide for more effective regulation for adoption of orphan, abandoned and surrendered children and would bring more transparency and efficiency in the adoption system,
  • The eligibility criteria under Adoption Regulations, 2017, permit single women to adopt a child of any gender, while single men can adopt only boys. When a married couple seeks to adopt a child, it needs to give its consent for adoption and should be stable marriage for at least two years. Applicants have to be physically, mentally and financially stable to raise a child.
  • In India, a live-in relationship is not considered a stable family and we need to ensure the best interest of the child is served.
  • The Supreme Court has on several occasions said that a live-in relationship is neither a crime or a sin.
  • The Courts have taken the view that where a man and a woman live together as husband and wife for a long term, the law will presume that they were legally married unless proved contrary.
  • Recently, the Supreme Court in S. Khushboo vs. Kanniammal case had said that adult couples have the right to live together even if they were not married which imply they have children either by biological or by adopting as normal married couple.
  • It will benefit both domestic and international applicants who are live in interested to make adoption.


  • Is a process to take voluntarily (a child of other parents) as one’s own child especially in compliance with formal legal procedures”.
  • Adoption can be legal as well as illegal. Under Indian law adoption is legal coalition between the party willing for adoption and a child, it forms the subject matter of personal law where Hindu, Buddhist, Jaina or Sikh by religion can make a legal adoption.
  • In India there is no separate adoption laws for Muslims, Christians and Parsis, so they have to approach court under the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 for legal adoption.
  • In India, an Indian whether he is married or single, Non-Resident Indian (NRI), or a person belonging to any nationality (foreigner) may adopt a child.

Intercountry Adoption:

  • In India, there is no separate act that governs adoption by foreign citizens or NRIs but it is covered under Guidelines Governing Adoption of Children, 2015. Under these guidelines misuse or illegal use of the children through adoption is prevented. As per the Supreme Court Guidelines for intercountry adoption a foreign parent can adopt an Indian child before he/she completes the age of 3 years.
  • In the absence of any concrete Act on intercountry adoption, the provisions of Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 will be followed for adoption. In case of adoption of abandoned, abused and surrendered children all intercountry adoptions shall be done only as per the provisions the juvenile justice (care and protection of children) act, 2015 and the adoption regulations framed by the Authority.


  • Under THE HINDU ADOPTIONS AND MAINTENANCE ACT, 1956 following category of people can make adoptions:
  • Any male Hindu (including Buddhist, Jain or Sikh by religion) who is of sound mind, not a minor and is eligible to adopt a son or a daughter. But if such male has living spouse at a time of adoption then he can adopt a child only with a consent of his wife (unless she has been declared incompetent to give her consent by the court).
  • Any female Hindu (including Buddhist, Jaina or Sikh by religion) who is not married, or if married, whose husband is not alive or her marriage has been dissolved or her husband has been declared incompetent by the court has the capacity to take a son or daughter in adoption.
  • In case of adoption of a son by any Hindu male or female, there should not be any living son in the succeeding three generation of the party (whether by legitimate blood relationship or by adoption) at the time of adoption.
  • In case of adoption of a daughter by any Hindu male or female, they should not have any daughter or son’s daughter at the time of adoption.
  • Where there is an adoption of a daughter by a male then the adoptive father should be at least twenty-one years older than the child.
  • Where there is an adoption of a son by a female than the adoptive mother should be at least twenty-one years older than the child.

As per the Hindu law following child may be adopted namely

  • The child can either be a girl or a boy if he/she is a Hindu.
  • He/ She has not been adopted before.
  • The age of the child is below 15 years.
  • The child should not be married.


  • Under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 the party willing for adoption can make application to Child Welfare Agency. Registration can be done either an Adoption Coordinating Agency (ACA) found in each state’s capital city, or an agency certified by the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) in New Delhi
  • After this, the agency conducts a preliminary interview with the adopting couple in order to understand their intention and motivation behind adoption.
  • Once the party decides which child are they going to adopt they file the petition at the court of apt jurisdiction, where court hearing takes place regarding adoption (the court is required to dispose the adoption case within 2 months).
  • Once the Court issues the decree, the adoption is finalized.

Central adoption resource Authority:

  • 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 adoptions in 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.
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