The adoption of a child by a Hindu couple is valid only if
- There is a proof of such ceremony and
- Consent of the wife under the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act.
An adoption will not be valid unless the two conditions are proved, a bench of justices L Nageswara Rao and Deepak Gupta held, turning down the petition filed by one M Vanaja for division of properties of a person whom she claimed was her adoptive father.
“The two important conditions as mentioned in Sections 7 and 11 of the Act of 1956 are the consent of the wife before a male Hindu adopts a child and proof of the ceremony of actual giving and taking in adoption. The mandate of the Act of 1956 is that no adoption shall be valid unless it has been made in compliance with the conditions mentioned in Chapter I of the Act of 1956”, the judgment which was delivered on Friday said.
Section 7 of the Act states that a male Hindu person can adopt a son or daughter only with the consent of his wife.
Section 11 of the Act mandates that there must be proof of actual giving and taking in adoption which shows the intent to transfer the child to the adoptive family.
Facts : Vanaja’s biological parents had passed away when she was very young and she was cared for and brought up by her maternal aunt and her husband. As per, the school and college records and other documents that were filed in court by Vanaja, the names of Sarla Devi and Naidu were entered as parents of Vanaja. Even in the government records like ration card, Vanaja was mentioned as the daughter of Sarla Devi and Naidu.
It was Vanaja’s case that after Naidu passed away in 2003, Sarla Devi turned against her due to the ill-advise of her relatives and attempted to alienate properties which had belonged to Naidu.
Vanaja filed a suit in the Hyderabad city civil court to declare her as the owner of half of the properties of Naidu. She argued that there was an overwhelming record to prove that she was brought up as adoptive daughter of Naidu and Sarla Devi. She also submitted that it was not possible for her to prove the manner in which the adoption took place as she was very young at that time.
The city civil court and the Andhra Pradesh high court had dismissed her petition.
Held: The Supreme Court made it clear that after Act of 1956 came into force, the two essential conditions, i.e. the consent of the wife and the actual ceremony of adoption will have to be proved in order to establish a valid adoption.
“Though the Appellant has produced evidence to show that she was treated as a daughter by (Late) Narasimhulu Naidu and the Defendant, she has not been able to establish her adoption…..The two essential conditions i.e. the consent of the wife and the actual ceremony of adoption have not been established”, the top court held rejecting Vanaja’s appeal.