Citation: Smt. Sitabai and Another Vs Ramchandra, AIR 1970 SC 343

Date of Judgement: 20/08/1969

Equivalent Citation: AIR 1970 SC 343, (1969) 2 SCC 544, 1970 2 SCR 1

Case No.: N/A

Case Type: Special Leave Petition

Petitioner: Smt. Sitabai

Respondent: Ramchandra

Bench: Hon’ble Justice J.C Shah, Hon’ble Justice V. Ramaswami, Hon’ble Justice A.N. Grover

Court: The Supreme Court of India

Statue Referred:

  • Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956: Section 5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,14
  • Madhya Pradesh Land Revenue and Tenancy Act, 1950: Section 86, 87 and 89

Cases Referred:

  • Gowli Buddanna Vs Commissioner of Income-tax, Mysore 60 I.T.R. 293 (S.C.),
  • Arukushi Narayan Vs Janabai Sama Sawat, 67 B.L.R. 864


  • The widow of Bhagirath whose elder brother Dhulichand died in 1930.
  • An illegitimate son who was named Ramchandra was born to the widow as a results of her relation to Dhulichand in 1935. Dhulichand died within the year 1958.
  • Ramchandra took over the possession of the joint family properties after the death of Dhulichand.
  • The appellant then filed a suit for dislodgment of the respondent from the properties.
  • The court decreed the suit. The District Court modified the decree. within the second appeal, the supreme court reversed the decree and dismissed the suit on the bottom that the adopted son didn’t obtain any coparcenary property within the joint family.

Issues raised:

  • Whether the son adopted by the widow becomes the son of the deceased husband?
  • Does such an adopted son become a coparcener, character of a joint family?

Contention of Appellant:

The Counsel for the appellant contended that:

  • The appellant argued that the High Court erred in ruling that a widow adopting a son under the provisions of Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 had the unintended result of the adoptee being the widow’s adopted son rather than her deceased husband’s.
  • The impact of adoption under the Act, according to counsel, is that it severs all relationships between the child given in adoption and the family of his or her birth. The child no longer has any ties to his birth family.
  • It was also argued that giving a kid up for adoption must have the legal consequence of transferring the child from the birth family to the adoptive family.
  • The learned counsel cited the case of Arukushi Narayan Vs Janabai Sama Sawat, 67 B.L.R. 864, which was decided by the Bombay High Court. As a result, in the currentcase, Plaintiff no. 2 Suresh Chandra became the adopted son of both the widow and her deceased husband Bhagirath when he was adopted by Bhagirath’s widow, and so became a coparcener with Dulichand in the joint family properties when he was adopted by Bhagirath’s widow. Plaintiff no. 2 became the lone surviving coparcener after Dulichand died and was entitled to possession of all joint family properties.

Contention of Respondent:

The counsel for the Respondent contended that:

  • The respondent claims and argued that the rights of the Inamdar’s tenants are not heritable under the Madhya Bharat Land Revenue and Tenancy Act, 1950 (Act no. 66 of 1950), and that the plaintiffs could not claim to be the Inamdar’s tenants after Dulichand’s death because there was no contract between the Inamdar and them. Sections 63 to 88 of the Act deal with pakka renters’ rights, and it was asserted that there was no provision in the Act dealing with regular tenants’ rights.
  • The Respondent additionally claims that the Civil Court’s jurisdiction is limited by the terms of the Madhya Bharat Land Revenue Administration and Ryotwari Land Revenue and Tenancy Act, 1950. (Act no. 66 of 1950). The trial court and the first appellate court both ruled against the respondent on this issue. The ruling of the lower courts on this point was not appealed to the High Court, and the respondent is not permitted to raise this issue at this time.

Obiter dicta:

  • Physical act of giving and taking isn’t sufficient for a legitimate adoption unless such giving and taking is accompanied with intention to offer and take child in adoption.

Ratio Decidendi:

  • The Hindu adoptions must have been to avoid mischief of unsettling old titles, but as for now it appears to preserve the said mischief with reference to coparcenary property, by construing the provisions of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act in such how on enable an adopted son to accumulate interest in coparcenary property by virtue of his adoption, in spite of clear provisions.
  • The power of a widow to introduce a far-off element within the coparcenary against the desire of the opposite coparceners and thereby diminish their shares is reinforced. this is often sure to open a flood gate for mischief and litigation, which the Act was intended to eliminate.


  • The Apex Court directed to line aside the decree gone by the supreme court of Madhya Pradesh and further directed the decree of District Judge to be restored granting the half share of the joint family properties.
  • For a valid adoption giving and taking is accompanied with intention to offer and take child in adoption.

The Appeal was allowed with costs.


The present case deals with the dispute regarding the Joint Hindu Family property between the son born within the family and an adoptive son. The dispute arose between the 2 regarding who will bequeath the family properties. The Appellant is that the adopted son and therefore the widow filed a suit and took the plea of Section 11 and 12 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 whereas the defendant contested that he should be entitled to urge all the property in regard of the desire which Dhulichand created to be executed after his death.

Primarily, the court unheeded his plea and ruled in favour of the appellant but afterward the respondent took the suit to District Judge where he permitted the defendant to require possession of half the share of the properties. Added, the Respondent made a second appeal where the court overruled in his favour and dismissed the suit. Hereafter, the plaintiffs took the lawsuit before the apex court where the order made by the supreme court was put aside and restored the decree elapsed by the District Judge.

Drafted by: Bharti Verma, Chanderprabhu Jain College of Higher Studies and School of Law.

Edited by: Aashima Kakkar, Associate Editor, Law Insider

Published On: November 11, 2021 at 14:30 IST

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