Sunday, September 28, 2008
Hindu Adoption Maintenance Act needs amendment
The Supreme Court ruled that a married Hindu woman cannot adopt a child even with the consent of her husband. According to Hindu Adoption Maintenance Act (HAMA) 1956. Child adoption specialists feel that the apex court can recomend this case to call upon the government to amend the antiquated law.
In a case of Brajendra Singh versus State of M.P. & Another, the Supreme Court refused to recognise the right of an ‘adopted’ son of a woman to her property as her husband had not sought the adoption. This despite the fact that she had been living separately from her husband for decades.
Section 8(C) of HAMA which states that any female Hindu “who is not married, or if married, whose marriage has been dissolved or whose husband is dead or has completely and finally renounced the world or has ceased to be a Hindu or has been declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be of unsound mind, has the capacity to take a son or daughter in adoption.” HAMA is applicable to Buddhists, Jains and Sikhs. “Under the law, an adoptive mother is not a joint petitioner, but only a consenting party. This reflects an obvious gender bias,” says Dr Nilima Mehta, chairperson, Child Welfare Committee (CWC), Maharashtra.