Laxmibai (Dead) thr. L.Rs. and Anr. vs. Bhagwantbuva(Dead) thr. L.
Rs. and Ors. (AIR 2013 SC 1204) was a Supreme Court which wasdecided 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 16of The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956. It also involves other provisionsfrom Sections 57(1), 134, 138, and 146 of The Evidence Act, 1872 and Order 18Rule 16 of The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. The brief facts of this case were that the appellantSmt. Laxmibai was a 70 year old widower of ,the descendant of Saint ShriSant 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 notapprove of. Following which they had filed a suit against the appellants torestrain them from adopting the child.
During the pendency of the suit, theappellant still adopted Raghunath, the 8 year old child after completing allformalities and performing all ceremonies, in which the child’s parents alsoparticipated and willingly gave up their child for adoption. The ceremonies hadtaken place in front of a huge crowd, with several photographs taken. On thevery same day, the adoption deed was also executed and the same was signed byseven witnesses. Subsequently, the respondents had also withdrawn theirlawsuit. Later, on discovering the fact that the respondents had tried tocreate some hindrance in the performance of the duties of the appellants, inrelation to the Saint’s offering, Smt. Laxmibai and Smt. Gopikabai, the widowerof Narayanbuva’s brother – Krishnabuva, filed a suit against the respondentsseeking a decree of perpetual injunction in order to stop them from causing anyobstruction or interference in the exercise of their exclusive rights.
Beforethe trial could even begin, Raghunath, the adopted son inherited all theproperty that belonged to Smt. Laxmibai due to her death. Once the trial beganthe Courts held that the inheritance was valid. Aggrieved, the respondents appealedin the civil courts, and for certain reliefs, the appellants too, crossappealed. However, in this court, the judgement was reversed as the respondentshad managed to prove that there did in fact exist a custom which prohibited thetaking of a male child in adoption from outside.
Aggrieved by this, theappellants 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 customwhich prohibits the taking of a male child in adoption from outside?Another issue that was challenged was whether the presumption of validity of aregistered adoption deed, under the purview of Section 16 of The Hindu Adoptionand Maintenance Act, valid in the present case?These were the two main issues that were addressed inthis case. The current respondents had convinced the High court that there existsa custom that prohibits the taking of a male child in adoption from