The Supreme Court ruled that the adoption of a child by a Hindu couple was valid only if there was proof of the ceremony and if the wife's consent was involved. The bench which included justices L Nageswara Rao and Deepak Gupta announced that the adoption will not be valid unless the two conditions are proved. On Friday, the bench was ruling on a petition filed by M Vanaja for division of properties of her maternal uncle who had been her primary caregiver after her parent's death.
“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 judgment which was delivered on Friday said.
The petitioner Vanaja had first filed a suit in the Hyderabad civil court to give her a fifty per cent stake in the properties of her maternal uncle Naidu who had brought her up after her parents had passed away. She argued that there was enough recorded evidence to prove that she was brought up as the adoptive daughter of Naidu and his wife Sarla Devi.
All government records like her ration card, her details in school, etc. had recorded their names in the place of 'mother' and 'father' under her details.
The Supreme Court, however, did not pass a judgment in her favour making it clear that after Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act of 1956 came into force, the two essential conditions, i.e. the consent of the wife and the actual ceremony of adoption needed 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 apex court held rejecting Vanaja’s appeal.