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[Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act] Consent Of Wife, Actual Ceremony Of Adoption Essential For Valid Adoption: SC [Read Judgment]

Ashok Kini
7 March 2020 7:12 AM GMT
[Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act] Consent Of Wife, Actual Ceremony Of Adoption Essential For Valid Adoption: SC [Read Judgment]
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The Supreme Court has observed that the consent of the wife of the adopter and actual ceremony of adoption is essential for a valid adoption as per Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act. In a suit for partition, the plaintiff contention was that she was adopted by the defendants. The Trial Court dismissed the suit on the ground that the plaintiff could not prove the ceremony of adoption.The...

The Supreme Court has observed that the consent of the wife of the adopter and actual ceremony of adoption is essential for a valid adoption as per Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act.

In a suit for partition, the plaintiff contention was that she was adopted by the defendants. The Trial Court dismissed the suit on the ground that the plaintiff could not prove the ceremony of adoption.The High Court also dismissed the appeal.

While dismissing her appeal, the Apex court bench of Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Deepak Gupta noted that the plaintiff had admitted in her evidence that she does not have the proof of the ceremony of giving and taking of her in adoption and there is no pleading in the plaint regarding the adoption being in accordance with the provisions of the Act. It was also noted that the 'mother' has categorically stated in her evidence that the plaintiff was never adopted though she was merely brought up by her and her husband. Referring to provisions of Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, the bench said:

A plain reading of the above provisions would make it clear that compliance of the conditions in Chapter I of the Act of 1956 is mandatory for an adoption to be treated as valid. 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 two essential conditions i.e. the consent of the wife and the actual ceremony of adoption have not been established. This Court by its judgment in Ghisalal v. Dhapubai (Dead) by Lrs. & Ors.  held that the consent of the wife is mandatory for proving adoption.

Before the Court, reliance was placed on L. Debi Prasad (Dead) by Lrs. v. Smt. Tribeni Devi & Ors. to contend that the subsequent events can be taken into account for the purpose of proving adoption. The bench rejected it by observing thus:

Though the facts are similar, we are unable to apply the law laid down in L. Debi Prasad (Dead) by Lrs. (supra) to the instant case. L. Debi Prasad (Dead) by Lrs. (supra) case pertains to adoption that took place in the year 1892 and we are concerned with an adoption that has taken place after the Act of 1956 has come into force. 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. 
Case Name: M. Vanaja vs. M. Sarla Devi 
Case no.: CIVIL APPEAL NO.8814 OF 2010
Coram: Justices L. Nageswara Rao and Deepak Gupta 
Counsel: Advocates Kedar Nath Tripathy and T.V. Ratnam

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