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

HT Estates - - HTESTATES - Su­nil Tyagi

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

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