Property Rights Of An Adopted Child
An adopted child enjoys all the rights that a legal heir would in a normal scenario. The term “son” is not defined by the Hindu Succession Act 1956 and, therefore, for all purposes, adopted son is also as much a legal heir as a biological son (Class-I).
According to the law, if a Hindu man dies intestate (without a will) his property can be inherited by Class-I heirs.
Conditions for adoption
According to the law, a Hindu, unmarried child, below the age of 15 years, can be adopted if he/she has never been adopted previously.
However, the Guardianship law and the Juvenile Justice Act 2015 upholds that children who aren't Hindus, has not completed 18 years of age, and is an orphan or abandoned, can also be adopted. Islam, Christianity, Parsis and the Jews do not have laws related to adoption and, therefore, if they wish to adopt, they must take up the guardianship of a child under the rules laid out in the Section 8 of the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890. Similarly, there are many rules that to-be adoptive parents need to follow.
Can the adopted child claim right in property?
Yes, an adopted child can stake claim on their adoptive parents’ property. The child is entitled to inherit from his adoptive father and other lineal descendants, such as a biological heir.
At the same time, the adoptive father and his relations, too, are entitled to inherit from the adopted son.
However, according to the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, after adoption, the adopted children lose all their rights in their biological family, including the right to claim any share in the estate of the biological father or relations, or any stake in the coparcenary property.
Exception to the rule
An adopted child cannot claim share in the property of their adoptive parents if the parent was a disqualified heir to their parent’s property. What paves way for disqualification? The law states that, “No person shall be disqualified from succeeding to any property on the ground of any disease, defect or deformity or save as provided in this Act, on any other ground whatsoever,” but remarried widows, heirs of a convert who have not retained the original religion at the time of succession, criminals, half-blood are some conditions wherein the adoptive parent who themselves cannot inherit will not be in a position to devolve their property on to another.
Do note that biological parents can give their property to their child who has been adopted by another as a gift or through a will.
With inputs from Shaveta Dua