Mrs. Kamla Rani vs Ram Lalit Rai @ Lalak Rai (D) Thr. … on 17 July, 2017

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IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL NO. 9153 of 2017
(Arising out of SLP(C)No.29379 of 2014)

MRS. KAMLA RANI Appellant(s)

VERSUS

RAM LALIT RAI @ LALAK RAI (D) THR. LRS. ANR. Respondent(s)

O R D E R

Leave granted.

We have heard learned counsel for the parties.

This appeal arises out of order dated 11 th August, 2014 of the

High Court of Delhi in RFA No.173 of 2005. The High Court has

reversed the finding of the trial Court decreeing the suit of the

appellant for declaration to the effect that the appellant was the

adopted daughter of late Sadhu Ram and was thus, entitled to her

share in the suit property.

The trial Court relied upon evidence of the appellant

including her own testimony as PW1 and other oral and documentary

evidence showing that she was duly adopted by late Sadhu Ram. The

High Court has reversed the finding of the trial Court relying upon

Section 11 (vi) of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 to

the effect that evidence of actual giving and taking in adoption

was a mandatory requirement which was not proved in the present
Signature Not Verified

case which was not proved in the present case.
Digitally signed by
MAHABIR SINGH
Date: 2017.07.19
18:25:46 IST
Reason:

We find that PW 3 Harbans Lal, uncle of the appellant

categorically deposed about the adoption ceremony though he was not
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present in the said ceremony. Even if the said evidence is

ignored, there is undisputed material to show that the appellant

was treated as adopted daughter by late Sadhu Ram for a long time.

The trial court summed up the issue as follows:

“….I am unable to appreciate the evidence of the
defendant no.1 in the light of the documentary
evidence, being the school record and various other
documents which duly reflect her father’s name as Sh.
Sadhu Ram, having been recorded at the instance of
Sadhu Ram himself. Under such circumstances, I find
that defendant’s evidence just a bald repudiation that
the plaintiff was not the adopted daughter and was
merely residing with her uncle PW3 who was at one time
a tenant in the suit property. This fact is also
belied by the fact that initially when the plaintiff
was brought to Delhi, the suit property consisted of
only one room. Her uncle was induced as a tenant
later on upon further construction of the building.
Even after he left in 1969, she continued to reside in
the same premises with her mother Smt. Shankari Devi.

In fact she passed out from her school in 1976 and
reliance has been made on records subsequent to 1969
evidencing her continuance of stay in the suit
property. All these factors prove that plaintiff had
been taken in adoption by Sadhu Ram and Shankari
Devi.”

We find that the approach adopted by the High Court is

unsustainable. The evidence of appellant-plaintiff itself is

categorical that she was treated as the adopted child of late Sadhu

Ram which is also corroborated by her school record and her

marriage having been settled by late Sadhu Ram as his own daughter

as per evidence of PW 2 Vijay Kapoor.

We cannot lose sight of the principle that though the factum

of adoption and its validity has to be duly proved and formal

ceremony of giving and taking is an essential ingredient for a

valid adopted, long duration of time during which a person is

treated as adopted cannot be ignored and by itself may in the
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circumstances carry a presumption in favour adoption. In this

regard, we may refer to the observations of this Court in L. Debi

Prasad (Dead) by Lrs. versus Smt. Tribeni Devi and Ors1 :

“9. There is no doubt that the burden of proving
satisfactorily that he was given by his natural father
and received by Gopal Das as his adoptive son is on
Shyam Behari Lal. But as observed by the Judicial
Committee of the Privy Council in Rajendrao Nath
Holdar v. Jogendro Nath Banerjee[14 Moor’s Indian
Appeals p.67]; that although the person who pleads
that he had been adopted is bound to prove his title
as adopted son, as a fact yet from the long period
during which he had been received as an adopted son,
every allowance for the absence of evidence to prove
such fact was to be favourably entertained, and that
the case was analogous to that in which the legitimacy
of a person in possession had been acquiesced in for a
considerable time, and afterwards impeached by a
party, who had a right to question the legitimacy,
where the defendant, in order to defend his status, is
allowed to invoke against the claimant every
presumption which arises from long recognition of his
legitimacy by members of his family; that in the case
of a Hindu, long recognition as an adopted son, raised
even a stronger presumption in favour of the validity
of his adoption, arising from the possibility of the
loss of his rights in his own family by being adopted
in another family. In Rup Narain v. Gopal Devi [36 IA
103] the Judicial Committee observed that in the
absence of direct evidence much value has to be
attached to the fact that the alleged adopted son had
without controversy succeeded to his adoptive father’s
estate and enjoyed till his death and that documents
during his life and after his death were framed upon
the basis of the adoption. A Division Bench of the
Orissa High Court in Balinki Padhano v. Gopalkrishna
Padhano [AIR 1964 Ori 117]; held that in the case of
an ancient adoption evidence showing that the boy was
treated for a long time as the adopted son at a time
when there was no controversy is sufficient to prove
the adoption although evidence of actual giving and
taking is not forthcoming. We are in agreement with
the views expressed in the decisions referred to
above.”

We are satisfied that the reversal of the decree of the trial

court by the High Court was not called for.

1 1970 (1) SCC 677
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Accordingly, we allow this appeal, set aside the impugned

order and restore the order passed by the trial court.

Pending applications, if any, shall also stand disposed of.

……………………..J.

(ADARSH KUMAR GOEL)

……………………..J.

(UDAY UMESH LALIT)
New Delhi,
July 17, 2017.

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ITEM NO.8 COURT NO.12 SECTION XIV

S U P R E M E C O U R T O F I N D I A
RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS

Petition(s) for Special Leave to Appeal (C) No(s). 29379/2014

(Arising out of impugned final judgment and order dated 11-08-2014
in RFA No. 173/2005 passed by the High Court Of Delhi At New Delhi)

MRS. KAMLA RANI Petitioner(s)

VERSUS

RAM LALIT RAI @ LALAK RAI (D) THR. LRS. ANR. Respondent(s)

Date : 17-07-2017 This petition was called on for hearing today.

CORAM :

HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE ADARSH KUMAR GOEL
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE UDAY UMESH LALIT

For Petitioner(s) Dr. Pooja Jha,Adv.

Ms. Mandila Jha,Adv.

Mr. Prakash,Adv.

Mr. Vishwa Pal Singh, AOR

For Respondent(s) Mr. Mohinder Jit Singh, AOR

UPON hearing the counsel the Court made the following
O R D E R

Leave granted.

In terms of the signed order, the appeal is allowed.

(MAHABIR SINGH) (VEENA KHERA)
COURT MASTER ASSISTANT REGISTRAR
(Signed order is placed on the file)

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