1. This is a suit to set aside an adoption. Two questions arise for decision (1) whether the alleged adoption of the 2nd defendant is true; and (2) whether the refusal of the plaintiff to give his consent to the adoption invalidated any adoption made by the 1st defendant as the widow of the deceased Lakshmipati Raju.
2. Although the adoptive mother, the 1st defendant, has in this suit, taken the part of the plaintiff and denied the factum of the adoption. I have no doubt that the Subordinate Judge was correct in the finding that the 2nd defendant was adopted. All the documents produced in the case from 1906 onwards describe him as an adopted son. Exhibit III is a promissory note executed by the.1st defendant as guardian of her adopted son, the 2nd defendant, which purports to have been attested by the plaintiff. D. W. 5 proved the fact that the plaintiff attested this promissory note executed in his (witness's) favour. The plaintiff, in the witness-box, professed himself unable to say whether the signature in Exhibit III was his or not. The 1st defendant made several statements before the public authorities acknowledging that she had adopted 2nd defendant, and when her attention was drawn to these statements in her examination she flatly denied having made the statements. It is unnecessary to refer to the oral evidence, as, in our opinion, there is overwhelming proof that the adoption is true.
3. On the second point, the plaintiff is the divided brother of the late Lakshmipatiraju, and as such, is the nearest reversioner entitled to succeed to his properties after his death. He states that he was not asked by the first defendant to give his consent to the adoption of a boy. On the evidence of P. W 5 and D. W. 4, I must take it that this denial is not true. D. W. 4 states that the plaintiff was asked to give his son in adoption and that he refused, as the son was his only son. P. W, 5 states that the reason for the paintiff's refusing his consent was that he said that he would forfeit the right to property which he would otherwise get. The Subordinate Judge treats this as a refusal based on 'an evil intention to usurp the property after the death of the 1st defendant.' Without using such language to characterise the refusal, we may see whether the refusal was based on improper grounds.
4. In Venkatakrishnamma v. Annapurnamma I.L.R. (1899) M.486 it was held that, if a sapinda refused to consent, but withheld his grounds for such refusal, the refusal would not affect the adoption; and also if the assent was withheld from improper considerations, such dissent would be of no avail to the party relying on it. In Ganesa Ratnamaiyar v. Gopala Ratnamaiyar (1880) I.L.R. 2 M. 270 (P.C.) the Privy Council held that the consent of a sapinda given on the ground that by consenting he gained some material profit from the adoption was improper. On the same principle, it would appear that a refusal on similar grounds might equally be condemned as an improper refusal. In Parasara Bhattar v. Rangaraja Bhattar I.L.R. (1880) M. 202. the test applied was whether the refusal was ' from interested or improper motives or without a fair exercise of discretion.' The object of getting the consent of sapindas to adoption is declared in Venkamma v. Subramaniam I.L.R. (1907) M. 50 as being to get an independant judgment on the expediency of the proposed adoption. This being so, there can be no doubt that a sapinda who is called upon to exercise his discretion ought to be guided not by reasons personal to himself, but ought to act with a deliberate consideration of what is for the benefit of the family, especially part of it which the widow represents. Applying such principles to the facts of this case, it is immaterial that the plaintiff did not give his consent to the adoption.
5. Other sapindas executed a document, Exhibit X, which fully authorized the 1st defendant to adopt the 2nd defendant. Only Chinna Bapi Raju was not a party to this document; his brother Peda Bapiraju signed it; and there are indications that these two brothers were undivided at the time, the elder, Peda Bapiraju, being the natural father of the boy.
6. I am of opinion that the Subordianate Judge rightly found that the adoption set up by the 2nd defendant was valid. The appeal is dismissed with costs.
Sankaran Nair, J.
7. I agree.