Guardians and Wards Act, (GWA) 1890

The Guardians and Wards Act, (GWA) 1890 formalised the process of bringing up a child as one's ward. The Act confers Guardianship status to the adoptive parents until the child reaches maturity; the child however is not 'legally' their own and does not have automatic inheritence rights. Also, the guardianship status ceases to exist once the child reaches maturity. Thus, unlike an adopted child, the ‘ward’ doesn’t receive the full status of a biological child, and is not automatically entitled to the family name or property.
The personal laws of Non-Hindus (i.e. Muslims, Christians, Jews and Parsis) do not sanction adoption. Members of these religions can take a child as their ward under the Guardians and Wards Act.

Inter-country adoptions (except in the case of NRI Hindus) are also carried out under this Act. A Hindu, even if he/she is a foreign national, may adopt a Hindu child in India under the HAMA. Foreigners adopting children from India under this Act, are expected to legally adopt the child in their country of residence, within a period of 2 years from the date of adoption in India.




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