'Legal heirship certificate cannot be granted to adopted person without documents'
The High Court considered the documents submitted and found that none of the documents proved the fact of adoption
KOCHI: The Kerala High Court has ruled that a legal heirship certificate cannot be granted to an adopted person in the absence of valid documents that prove the adoption.
The court pointed this out when considering a plea moved by a woman (petitioner) challenging the decision of the Tahsildar refusing to grant her legal heir certificate.
In order to apply for a compassionate appointment under a dying-in-harness scheme, the petitioner had approached the Tahsildar for a legal heir certificate to declare that she was adopted by her late stepfather, Gopalan.
But the Tahsildar refused to grant her legal heir certificate on the ground that she did not produce valid documents to prove that she was adopted.
Following which she approached the High Court.
She submitted documents which included settlement deed, death cum retirement gratuity to prove that she was effectively his adopted child.
She also pointed out that Gopalan could not have adopted her in terms of Section 10 of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, since she was a Christian by religion.
Hence, it was futile for the concerned authorities to insist on a certificate of adoption in terms of the said Act, she submitted.
There was no law enabling an adoption of a Christian adoptive daughter by a Hindu adoptive parent, she said. Therefore, the insistence on proof of a valid and legal adoption is impossibility in itself, the petitioner added.
The High Court considered the documents submitted and found that none of the documents proved the fact of adoption.
“In the absence of a valid and legal adoption, and in any case, in the absence of documents evidencing the factum of adoption, albeit not in terms of law, we cannot find fault with the respondent authorities in not issuing a Legal Heirship Certificate in favor of the petitioner,” observed the High Court.
The court, however, pointed out that a legal heirship certificate cannot be granted in the absence of valid documents that prove adoption.
"More than the absence of a legal document evidencing a legal adoption, what weighs with us to refuse the relief sought for is the complete dearth of evidence suggesting an inference as to the factum of adoption from the materials on record," the Court reasoned.
Therefore, the High Court upheld the decision of the Tahsildar and dismissed the petition.