Monday, December 24, 2007

Father disowns son for money: Justice G.Rajasuria

Father disowns son for money

Staff Reporter

Madras High Court holds that the son has equal rights to the inherited wealth

The father claimed he had given him in adoption to his brother-in-law in 1954

The son is entitled to half of the profits accrued from the property since 1994


MADURAI: “Though money seems to be such an objective topic, it can also be the most intimate, and possibly harmful, part of a relationship,” goes a famous saying, and it came true in a case filed in the Madras High Court, in which a father and his biological son disputed their relationship.

While the father claimed that there was no relationship between them as he had given the son in adoption to his brother-in-law way back in 1954, the latter contested the claim before one court after another since 1994.

All for nothing but to seek coparcenary rights to the ancestral property.

Allowing a second appeal filed by the son before the Madurai Bench, Justice G.Rajasuria rejected the theory of adoption for want of sufficient evidence and held that the appellant had equal rights to the inherited wealth. He also ruled that the son was entitled to half of the profits accrued from the property since 1994.

“The first defendant [father] has taken the plea of adoption purely for the purpose of depriving his only son, the plaintiff, of his share in the suit property,” the judge said. He held that the Principal District Court here had erroneously reversed the sub-court’s decision and came to a “perverse” conclusion that the son was given in adoption through misreading of evidence and misapplication of the law.

Even assuming that the son was given in adoption, it could not be legally valid under the Hindu Law which was applicable prior to the commencement of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956, the judge said. The old law permitted a biological father to give his son in adoption only if he had more than one son.

“To get over this obstacle, the first defendant went to the extent of dishing out an untenable plea that one other son was born to him, and he died a few months after the plaintiff was given in adoption. Absolutely, there is no iota of evidence to prove such a plea, and it is a trite proposition of law that witnesses might lie, but the circumstances will not lie,” Mr. Justice Rajasuria said.

On the fate of three persons who had purchased the property from the father pending adjudication of the civil suit, the judge said they “could only step into the shoes of the first defendant’s [father] right and seek their equities during the final decree proceedings, and the same will have to be processed as per the law by the lower court.”

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