The doctrine of estopped by conduct applies to cases of invalid adoption. The objecting party may be estopped from disputing the adoption where he had himself not only acquiesced in it, but had encouraged it and concurred in it at the time it took place, or had, by treating the adopted son as a member of the family, induced him to abandon the right in his natural family which he might otherwise have claimed.
One 'B' died in October 1900, leaving behind him an uncle aged 34, two minor cousins, and three sisters. The uncle took possession of the estate left by the deceased and managed it. On 25th July 1901 an agreement was executed by the uncle and the mothers of the two minor cousins, appointing one 'D' the brother-in-law of 'B', as an arbitrator for adopting One of tile cousins named Bhagat Ram, aged 14 years, whom, according to the agreement, the deceased had, during his life-time, nominated to be appointed as his adopted son. This clause was subsequently added on the margin of the agreement at the uncle's request and was attested by him. The award was given by the arbitrator on 27th July. It contained that according to the desire expressed by the deceased during his life-time his cousin Bhagat Ram should be made his adopted son and provisions for charitable funds and for marriages of minor sisters of the deceased and maintenance of the uncle and others, as required by the reference, were reserved. Thereupon the uncle executed a deed of release whereby he and the other reversionary heirs acknowledged Bhagat Ram as adopted son of ‘B’, and agreed to abide by the settlement made by the arbitrator which document was registered with the award on 30th July. Immediately after an agreement was executed by tile mother of the adopted son giving her son in adoption, and a power of attorney appointing the arbitrator as a general agent for man- aging his business. On 31st July the uncle handed over the estate and books of the deceased of which he had hitherto held possession as a manager and heir to the arbitrator. On 26th July 1904, the uncle sued for his one-third share on the allegation that he was induced to execute the several documents described above in consequence of the fraud and undue influence of the arbitrator.
As a fact, there was no proof to substantiate either of the allegation of misrepresentation, fraud or undue influence, but the court decreed the claim on the ground that the transaction. Was not an equitable one, the adoption being invalid, and the plaintiff sustained damage in consequence there of.
Held, that the relative circumstances of the parties and the voluntary and deliberate actions of the plaintiff throughout the whole transaction negative the slightest Chance of any false inducement, representation or un due influence, and under no circumstances could he now recede from the position deliberately adopted by him in the matter, and that he was estopped from questioning the validity of the adoption which he himself had encouraged and concurred in (1).
Similarly, in Moman v. Mst. Dhanni (2) it was held that the defendant was estopped from attacking the validity of the adoption in question in as much as his grand-father was a party to the compromise under which the adoption was made and was also present .and consenting when the ceremonies were performed and owing to this compromise he had received a substantial benefit which the defendant was not enjoying in his turn.
G, a sonless Jot proprietor of Jullundur District, executed a registered wilt in 1900 bequeathing all his property to W, his daughter's son, whom he described as his adopted son, and in 1907 he had half of his land mutated by way of gift in W's favour. On G's death in 1912 the other. half of the property was mutated in favour of W, whereupon the collaterals of G brought a suit for a declaration in the life-time of the widows of G contesting alienation in favour of W. It was held that the plaintiff's conduct as regards payment of Neondra to G on the betrothal ceremonies of W, al1d their admission that W was the adopted son, when a question of succession to the Lambardari appointment arose, justified the inference that the plaintiffs acquiesced in the adoption of W by G and that the plaintiffs were now estopped from contesting the validity of the adoption (3).
Where reversioners about to institute suit contesting adoption were compensated and withdrew claim, giving agreement to that effect, held acquiescence where consent given by mother of minors, minors were bound (4).
Where reversioners of a certain deceased related to him in eighth and more degrees, sued for possession of his property against a person alleging to be adopted, as a daughter's son, by the deceased, held, that the acquiescence by a sonless near reversioner (brother of the deceased) and his consent to the alienation did not bind the next reversioners (5).
Mere fact of cultivating portion of ancestral land under the adopted son, or exchanging it, does not amount to acquiescence on the part of the collateral contesting the adoption (6).
According to a well-settled principle of Hindu Law, where an adoption is made by a member of a joint family governed by the Mitakshara Law, the adopted son becomes a member of the co-parcenary from the moment or his adoption, and the adoptive father has no power either by deed or will to interfere with the rights of survivorship of the adopted son in the co-parcenary property. This rule is, of course, restricted to cases of ancestral property. A father cannot defeat the rights of survivorship of an adopted son, just as he cannot by deed or will defeat the rights of survivorship of an adopted son (1).
The same principle applies in the Punjab to formal or full adoptions of the Hindu Law (as contrasted with the mere customary appointment of an heir), and when, as is often the case in this Province, the. Adoption of a daughter's son is valid under the Hindu Law, as varied by custom, the adoptee acquires all the rights of an adopted son in the Dattaka form (2).
As regards appointment of an heir under the Customary Law the following cases may be studied with advantage:- '
15 P. R. I877- Khatris of Sirsa. Adoption cannot .be revoked under
17 P. R. 1878- Hindu Law, but proof of custom is admissible.
98 P. R. 1882- MuhammadanJats, Mauza Bhalopur, Tahsil Samrala Ludhiana District. Adoption is irrevocable.
170 P. R. 1882 - A deed of adoption is irrevocable.
34 P. R. 1883 [P.B.]- Garewal Jats of Ludhiana District. Adoption cannot be revoked.
98 P. R. 1884- Badhal Jats of Ludhiana District. -Adoption cannot be revoked.
9 P. R. 1895- Hindu Jats of Ludhiana District. The fact that the defendant changed his mind sometime after the execution of the deed and sought to repudiate it could not abrogate a relation once effectually established in the manner prescribed by law or custom.
143 P. R. 1894- Muhammadan Man Jats of Tahsil Nakodar, Jullundur District. Adoption cannot be revoked, even on ground of disobedience, nor can the adopter deny validity.
P. L. R. 1900, P. 215- Daresh Khel Afghans, Bannu. Without deciding if there be a power to adopt, a suit to cancel adoption on ground of disagreement should be dismissed.
74 P. R. 1911- Among Hindu Jains the result of an adoption is to make the adopted son a co-partner with the adoptive father in the joint property, and the latter is incompetent to bequeath or devise any part of the property in presence of the adopted son.
44 P. R. 1913- Goraia Jats, Gujranwala District. Adoption cannot be revoked.
123 P. R. 1916- Adoption is irrevocable under Hindu Law.
In 17 P.R. 1878 the parties were Khatris of Sirsa, Hissar District. It was held that there was no suggestion that any special custom existed whereby an adopted son could abandon his status. And even in the case of a customary appointment as heir, the presumption is altogether in favour of the appointment being absolute and irrevocable, which it would require cogent evidence to rebut.
See also 1 P. L. R. 1906 to the same effect.
Double adoption is not generally recognized in the Punjab.
18 P. R. 1879- Kang Jats of Tahsil Nakodar, Jullundur District. Double adoption not recognized.
85 P. R. 1881- Gujjars of Gujrat District. Two persons cannot be appointed as successors.
172 P. R. 1882- No custom of double adoption is known.
64 P. R. 1883- Kapur Khatris, Amritsar District. Double adoption is not recognized.
152 P. R. 1884- Muhammadan Ghorewaha Rajputs, Tahsil Nawanshahr, Jullundur District. Double adoption does not exist.
34 P. R. l89l- Chima Jats of Gujranwala District, adoption of three step-sons unlikely.
95 P. R.189l- Jats of Tahsil Sampla,Rohtak District. No custom exists whereby two persons may be appointed as heirs.
96 P. R. 1 893- Jaj Jats of Tahsil Garhshankar. Adoption of three persons as heirs not permitted.
46 P. R. 19l2- Hindu Law. Adoption of second son in life of first invalid.
57 P. L.R. 1915- Maheshris of Delhi.
9 P. R. lR80- Bhular Jats, Lahore District.
71 P. R. l895- Moghals of Patti, Tahsil Kasur. Four daughter appointed heirs.
A Ghumman jat of the Sialkot District can adopt his daughter’s son according to Riwaj-i-am, but a nephew has a prior right. Where, however, the nephew had become a convert to MuhanWnadanism, the Sikh brotherhood could not be expected to admit the pervert's claim to adoption and, under the circumstances, the onus lay upon him to prove that was entitled to be adopted in preference to a daughter's son, and that his existence rendered the adoption of a daughter's son invalid (1).
(38) Right of prostitutes to adopt.
95 P. R. 1884- Kanchanis of Delhi. Female can adopt female, but she gets no right of inheritance thereby.
15 P. R. 1874- A man who has become an Udasi faqir is incapable of adopting even if he renounces his religious order and returns to the world.
1 P. R. 1907- Held valid among Ansari Sheikhs of Basti Damandan, Jullundur District.
In Kapur Chand v. Narinjan Lal (2) where the parties were Jain Saraogis of the Karnal District and plaintiff, alleging himself to be adopted to one M. L. by his widow: sued for rendition of accounts, and dissolution of partnership existing between himself and his father and the defendants, and for a decree for half the assets of the firm, moveable and immoveable, held, that in as much as a valid adoption by a widow to her husband has the effect of placing him in the position which he would have occupied had he been adopted by that husband or been posthumous child of that husband, the adopted son must be received into the joint family partnership on adoption, and is entitled to all rights of an ordinary member of that partnership which his continued to exist in spite of the death of his father; held further, that an adoption by the widow, if valid, divests any estate which is not superior to that of the adopted son; and that plaintiff on adoption became immediately a member of the family partnership.'