EFFECTS OF ADOPTION UNDER HINDU LAW

by | Jan 17, 2024

EFFECTS OF ADOPTION UNDER HINDU LAW (SECTION 12 AND JUDICIAL INTERPRETATIONS)

Section 12 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 (Effects Of Adoption Under Hindu Law) , dictates that an adopted child becomes the legal offspring of the adoptive parents, severing all ties with the natural family. However, conflicting judicial interpretations, particularly regarding Clause (b) of the proviso, have led to divergent decisions across various High Courts.

EFFECTS OF ADOPTION ON THE CHILD 

Adoption significantly transforms a child’s life, granting them property rights and integrating them into a new family. While adoptive parents assume all rights and responsibilities, certain conditions must be met post-adoption. These include avoiding close contact and marriage with biological family members and ensuring the fulfillment of obligations, including supporting the biological family if necessary.

VESTED INTEREST IN ADOPTION

The concept of “vested interest” is crucial in understanding the legal implications of adoption. According to the Supreme Court’s ruling in P.K Mohan v. B.N Anathachary, a vested interest arises when there is an immediate right of present enjoyment or a present right of future enjoyment. In the context of adoption, this implies that the adopted child’s rights become perfect upon adoption.

COPARCENARY PROPERTY AND FLUCTUATING INTERESTS

In the Hindu undivided family governed by Mitakshara law, coparceners lack specific shares in the property until a partition occurs. The rights of coparceners fluctuate with births and deaths in the family before partition. Full ownership does not arise until the partition takes place, emphasizing the contingent nature of their interests.

ADOPTION’S IMPACT ON RIGHTS AND COPARCENARY PROPERTY

Under classical Hindu law, an adopted son acquires rights in the adoptive family, forfeiting all rights in the natural family. The Supreme Court’s decision in Basavarajappa v. Gurubasamma clarifies that, post-adoption, the adopted child becomes a coparcener in the adoptive family after severing ties with the natural family. This legal stance is reinforced by decisions of the Bombay and Patna High Courts, emphasizing the adoptee’s lack of vested interest in the natural family’s property.

CONTRASTING INTERPRETATIONS OF SECTION 12(B) PROVISO

Conflicting judgments have arisen due to varied interpretations of Section 12(b) proviso. Some courts restrict the section’s scope by relying on Mitakshara law, seemingly ignoring Section 4 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 Act, 1956, which states that the Act overrides Hindu texts, custom, or usage. This conflicting interpretation risks rendering Section 12 redundant, allowing the adoptee to claim a share in the coparcenary of two Hindu undivided families, contrary to the legislative intent.

CONTEXTUAL READING AND LEGISLATIVE OBJECTIVE

The proper interpretation of Section 12(b) proviso necessitates a contextual reading of the statute. The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act,1956, was enacted to bring clarity and certainty to property rights of adopted children, aiming to reduce litigation. However, the ambiguous interpretation of Clause (b) hampers the achievement of this objective. Courts should align their interpretations with the overarching legislative intent of allowing adopted children to own property with vested interest, not just birth interest.

UNCERTAINTY DESPITE LEGISLATIVE INTENT

Despite the legislative intent to bring clarity, Section 12(b) proviso’s ambiguity persists, leading to continued legal uncertainty. The Act, 1956, aimed to streamline the vesting and diverting of property rights of adopted children, but the conflicting interpretations undermine this goal.

CAN ADOPTION RIGHTS BE REVOKED?

Section 15 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 law explicitly states that once adoption is properly executed, neither the adoptive parents nor the adopted child can cancel the adoption. This legal provision ensures the stability of adoption arrangements and prevents undue disruption in the lives of adopted children.

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, the legal landscape surrounding adoption under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956, remains intricate and subject to conflicting interpretations. While the legislative intent was to provide clarity and certainty, particularly with Section 12(b) proviso, the ongoing legal discourse reflects the challenges in achieving this goal. Clarity in judicial interpretations and potential legislative amendments are crucial to ensuring the smooth implementation of adoption laws and safeguarding the rights of adopted children within the framework of the Act, 1956.

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Written By Archana Singh

I am Archana Singh, a recent law master's graduate with a strong aspiration for the judicial service. My passion lies in elucidating complex legal concepts, disseminating legal news, and enhancing legal awareness. I take immense pride in introducing my new legal website - The LawGist. Through my meticulously crafted blogs and articles, I aim to empower individuals with comprehensive legal insights. My unwavering dedication is to facilitate a profound comprehension of the law, enabling people to execute judicious and well-informed choices.

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