Guardians & Wards Act, 1860 (GWA)
The Guardians and Wards Act, (GWA) 1890 formalized 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 inheritance 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/PIO Hindus) are also carried out under this Act. Foreigners adopting from India, are expected to formalize the legal adoption of the child in their country of residence, within a period of 2 years from the date of adoption in India.
Non-Hindus and, Hindus who wish to circumvent the limitations of the HAMA, can adopt under The JJA.