(1) This Act may be called the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956.
(2) It extends to the whole of India except the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
Section 2 - Application of Act
(1) This Act applies-
(a) to any person, who is a Hindu by religion in any of its forms or developments, including a Virashaiva, a Lingayat ora follower of the Brahmo, Prathana or Arya Samaj,
(b) to any person who is a Buddhist, Jaina or Sikh by religion, and
(c) to any other person who is not a Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew by religion, unless it is proved that any such person would not have been governed by the Hindu law or by any custom or usage as part of that law in respect of any of the matter dealt with herein if this Act had not been passed.
Explanation.-The following persons are Hindus, Buddhists, Jainas or Sikhs by religion, as the case may be:-
(a) any child, legitimate or illegitimate, both of whose parents are Hindus, Buddhists, Jainas or Sikhs by religion;
(b) any child, legitimate or illegitimate, one of whose parents is a Hindu, Buddhist, Jaina or Sikh by religion and who is brought up as a member of the tribe, community, group or family to which such parent belongs or belonged;1[* * *]
2[(bb) any child, legitimate or illegitimate, who has been abandoned both by his father and mother or whose parentage is not known and who in either case is brought up as a Hindu, Buddhist, Jaina or Sikh; and]
(c)any person who is convert or reconvert to the Hindu, Buddhist, Jaina or Sikh religion.
(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), nothing contained in this Act shall apply to the members of any Scheduled Tribe within the meaning of clause (25) of article 366 of the Constitution unless the Central Government, by notification in the Official Gazette, otherwise directs3.
(3) The expression "Hindu" in any portion of this Act shall be construed as if it included a person who, though not a Hindu by religion, is, nevertheless, a person to whom this Act applies by virtue of the provisions contained in this section.
1. The word "and" omitted by Act 45 of 1962, section 2.
2. Inserted by Act 45 of 1962, section 2.
3. In its application to Pondicherry, in section 2, after sub-section (2), the following shall be inserted:-"(2A) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), nothing contained in this Act shall apply to the Renoncants of the Union Territory of Pondicherry"- (vide Act 26 of 1968).
Section 3 - Definitions
In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires,-
(a) the expressions "custom" and "usage" signify any rule which, having been continuously and uniformly observed for a long time, has obtained the force of law among Hindus in any local area, tribe, community, group or family:
Provided that the rule is certain and not unreasonable or opposed to public policy: and
Provided further that, in the case of a rule applicable only to a family, it has not been discontinued by the family;
(b) "Maintenance" includes-
(i)in all cases, provision for food, clothing, residence, education and medical attendance and treatment;
(ii) in the case of an unmarried daughter, also the reasonable expenses of an incidents to her marriage;
(c) "minor" means a person who has not completed his or her age of eighteen years.
Section 4 - Overriding effect of Act
Save as otherwise expressly provided in this Act,-
(a) any text, rule or interpretation of Hindu law or any custom or usage as part of that law in force immediately before the commencement of this Act shall cease to have effect with respect to any matter for which provision is made in this Act;
(b) any other law in force immediately before the commencement of this Act shall cease to apply to Hindus in so far as it is inconsistent with any of the provisions contained in this Act.