Laxmibai a suit against the respondents seeking a

Laxmibai (Dead) thr. L.Rs. and Anr. vs. Bhagwantbuva
(Dead) thr. L.Rs. and Ors. (AIR 2013 SC 1204) was a Supreme Court which was
decided on 29 January 2013 by Hon’ble Judges B.S. Chauhan and V. Gopala Gowda,
JJ. This particular case revolves majorly around the Sections 3, 10, 11, and 16
of The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956. It also involves other provisions
from Sections 57(1), 134, 138, and 146 of The Evidence Act, 1872 and Order 18
Rule 16 of The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.

The brief facts of this case were that the appellant
Smt. Laxmibai was a 70 year old widower of ,the descendant of Saint Shri
Sant Eknath Maharaj, Narayanbuva Gosavi. She was to adopt an 8 year old child,
to which the respondents, who were also descendants of the Saint, did not
approve of. Following which they had filed a suit against the appellants to
restrain them from adopting the child. During the pendency of the suit, the
appellant still adopted Raghunath, the 8 year old child after completing all
formalities and performing all ceremonies, in which the child’s parents also
participated and willingly gave up their child for adoption. The ceremonies had
taken place in front of a huge crowd, with several photographs taken. On the
very same day, the adoption deed was also executed and the same was signed by
seven witnesses. Subsequently, the respondents had also withdrawn their
lawsuit. Later, on discovering the fact that the respondents had tried to
create some hindrance in the performance of the duties of the appellants, in
relation to the Saint’s offering, Smt. Laxmibai and Smt. Gopikabai, the widower
of Narayanbuva’s brother – Krishnabuva, filed a suit against the respondents
seeking a decree of perpetual injunction in order to stop them from causing any
obstruction or interference in the exercise of their exclusive rights. Before
the trial could even begin, Raghunath, the adopted son inherited all the
property that belonged to Smt. Laxmibai due to her death. Once the trial began
the Courts held that the inheritance was valid. Aggrieved, the respondents appealed
in the civil courts, and for certain reliefs, the appellants too, cross
appealed. However, in this court, the judgement was reversed as the respondents
had managed to prove that there did in fact exist a custom which prohibited the
taking of a male child in adoption from outside. Aggrieved by this, the
appellants made a second appeal, which was dismissed by the High Court. Hence,
the case reached the Supreme Court to seek justice.

 

The main issue that was involved in the case was – Whether there exists a legitimate custom
which prohibits the taking of a male child in adoption from outside?

Another issue that was challenged was whether the presumption of validity of a
registered adoption deed, under the purview of Section 16 of The Hindu Adoption
and Maintenance Act, valid in the present case?

These were the two main issues that were addressed in
this case. The current respondents had convinced the High court that there exists
a custom that prohibits the taking of a male child in adoption from