This Times of India article refers to a case in which a Indian Christian adoptive family sought perks for their child from the father's employer, Air India. The airline refused to provide the free flights etc, arguing that since Christians cannot legally adopt in India but are only awarded guardianship of a child, they were not obligated to provide benefits.
For decades, only Hindus were allowed to legally adopt a child under Indian law via the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act (HAMA). Christians, Muslims and other minorities could only be granted guardianship through the Guardians and Wards Act (GAWA). Foreigners who adopt an Indian child but are not Hindus also receive guardianship through GAMA and then must legally adopt the child in their home country.
This inequity for Indian citizens was supposedly addressed by the Juvenile Justice Act of 2000, which provided a legal framework for Indian minorities to adopt. However, acceptance of the new law has been slow and most adoptions and guardianships still occur under the old laws.
The Madras High Court ruled in favor of the family. Even though the family received guardianship of their daughter under GAWA, they had the opportuntity to adopt under the Juvenile Justice Act as well, demonstrating that the law recognizes the rights of Christians to adopt. The airline had tried to argue that Christian tradition didn't allow for full adoption of a child.
To me, this ruling represents a step forward for recognition of the legitimacy of adoptive families in India. Adoption is growing increasingly accepted and open in this conservative society. As a result, more Indian children in need are finding homes in their culture of origin. The Indian children placed for international adoption now are generally older or have special needs. Our own Indian daughter Didi was 5 1/2 when she arrived home a couple of years ago, when things were already trending in this direction.