What rights do adopted children have in an ancestral property?
They are entitled to property bequeathed to them before adoption; but cannot claim property of adoptive parents given to others before adoption
The dictionary meaning of the term adoption is the act of rearing the child of other parents as one’s own. It is a practice that has been validly recognised under Hindu law. The process and procedure of adoption of children by Hindus in India has been codified and i s gover ned by t he Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956. Adoption ensures that a child is considered to belong to its adoptive parents for all purposes from the date of adoption. This means that for the purpose of rights over property, adopted children would have the same status as natural born children of their parentss.
However, there are two exceptions to this general principle. First, adoption of a child by the adoptive parents would not deny any other person who received the property from them prior to the date on which the child was adopted. This means that the property rights of the adopted child would not take preference over the property rights of someone to whom the property was already given before the adoption of the child.
Now take this case of A ( a Hindu male) who dies leaving behind his widow, A1, and daughter, D. On A’s death, A1 and D inherit his property in equal share. Subsequently, A1 adopts a son, B. The adoption of B will have effect from the date of his adoption and B will not affect the estate of A1 or D which was vested in them before his adoption.
The Hon’ble Supreme Court clarified the position in this re gard i n i t s j udgment i n Namdev Vyankat Ghade versus Chandrakant Ganpat Ghade (2003) case. In this case, the child was adopted by the a woman after the death of her husband. Before the child was adopted by the woman, her husband’s property had already devolved upon his other legal heirs and successors. It was held that since