Indian Women Achieve Guardianship and Adoption Rights

NEW DELHI, INDIA, July 12, 2010: For the first time, women will be given the same rights as men to guardianship and adoption of children, even if they are single. A new law to make this effective appears set to become a reality this year. According to the existing law, in case a couple wants to adopt a child, the father is the natural guardian. The proposed amendment to the 120 year-old Guardians and Wards Act, 1890, includes the mother along with the father to be appointed as a guardian, making the process gender neutral.

Noted constitutional expert Rajeev Dhavan said once this law comes into existence, mothers would have equal rights as that of the father. “She would be responsible even as a trustee of the property, in case the minor child inherits his or her share of the property,” he said. 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 give a child for adoption, based only on her marital status. Presently, unmarried and divorced women, as also widows are allowed to adopt, but women separated from their husbands and engaged in divorce battles, cannot adopt a child. The new amendment would allow married single women to adopt with the consent of her husband till the divorce proceedings are completed.


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