18 March 1970
Supreme Court


Case number: Appeal (civil) 707 of 1966






DATE OF JUDGMENT: 18/03/1970


CITATION:  1970 AIR 1286            1971 SCR  (1) 101  1970 SCC  (1) 677

ACT: Hindu Law--Adoption--Burden of Proof.

HEADNOTE: The  appellant  filed  a suit in 1946  claiming  to  be  the nearest  heir  to his  maternal uncle-G, who died  in  1934. S--defendant  no.  1 (the predecessor  of  the  respondents) resisted the suit on the ground that he had been adopted  by G  on the very day he was born in 1892.  Close relations  of the wife of G deposed that after the birth of S, the wife of G  took him to her paternal home where Paon  Pheri  ceremony was  performed,  as  was  customary  in  that  family.   The application  for admission to the school recited that S  was the  son  of  G, and it was signed by G.  G  deposed  before courts  that  S was his son.  S filed  a  nomination  paper, proposed  by G mentioning that his father was G. In  income- tax  assessment  which proceeded on the basis that G  and  S formed  a H.U.F. of which G was the karta, the  professional income  of S was added.  Then there were admissions  of  the appellant  in  Courts after the death of G that  S  was  the proprietor  of  the  firm of G.  In  other  application  for transfers, the appellant described S as son of G. But  there was a decree of a Court in 1990 where S was described as son of  his natural father.  The trial court decreed  the  suit, but-  the High Court reversed that decree.  The  High  Court held on the evidence that S was validly adopted by G, though S had not been able to establish the custom pleaded by  him, nor  was he able to adduce any satisfactory  evidence  about the  actual  adoption  but  he  has  produced   considerable documentary  evidence  to show that G was treating  him  for over  a quarter of century as his son; then there  was  also plenty  of  reliable evidence to show that  close  relations including  the,  appellant treated S as the son  of  G  both during  the life time of G and also, thereafter  till  about the time the suit was instituted. HELD : A person who seeks to displace the natural succession to  property  by  alleging an adoption  must  discharge  the burden that lies upon him by proof of the factum of adoption and  its validity.  In order that an adoption may  be  valid under  the  Hindu law, there must be a  formal  ceremony  of giving and taking.  This is true of the regenerate castes as



well  as  of  the Sudras.  Although no  particular  form  is prescribed  for  the  ceremony, the law  required  that  the natural  parent  should hand over the adoptive boy  and  the adoptive parent must receive him, the nature of the ceremony varying according to the circumstances. [105 A-D] Although  the person who pleads that he had been adopted  is bound to prove his title as adopted son, as a fact yet  from the  long  period during which he had been  received  as  an adopted son, every ’allowance for the absence of evidence to prove such fact was to be favourably entertained.  The  case was analogous to that in which the legitimacy of a person in possession  had been acquiesced in for a considerable  time, and  afterwards  impeached by a party, who had  a  right  to question  the legitimacy, where the defendant, in  order  to defend his status, is allowed to invoke against the claimant every presumption which arises from long recognition of his 102 legitimacy by members of his family.  In the case of a Hindu long  recognition as an adopted son, raised even a  stronger presumption  in  favour  of the validity  of  his  adoption, arising  from the possibility of the loss of his  rights  in his  own family by being adopted in another family.  In  the absence of direct evidence much value has to be attached  to the   fact  that  the  alleged  adopted  son   had   without controversy  succeeded to his adoptive ’father’s estate  and enjoyed  till his death and that documents during  his  life and  after  his  death were framed upon  the  basis  of  the adoption. [106 B-F] On  the evidence, S was the adopted son of G and  there  was nothing  to show that the said adoption was invalid for  any reason.   While  considering the question of  the  proof  of adoption  pleaded, the ’fact that the suit was filed  nearly 54 years after the alleged adoption had taken place must  be borne  in  mind.   Therefore,  naturally  it  was  extremely difficult far the adopted son to adduce any oral evidence in proof of that adoption. Addagada Raghavamma and anr. v. Addagada Chenchamma and anr. 2  S.C.R.  933; Lakshman Singh Kothari v. Smt.   Rup  Kanwar [1962] 1 S.C.R. 477; applied. Rajendrao Nath Holder v. Jogendro Nath Banerjee and ors. 14, Moore’s Indian Appeals p. 67, approved.

JUDGMENT: CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal No. 707 of 1966. Appeal  by special leave from the judgment and  order  dated January 20, 1965 of the Allahabad High Court, Lucknow  Bench in First Appeal No. 67 of 1948. V. S. Desai and K. P. Gupta, for the appellant. A.  K.  Sen,  E.  C. Agarwala, S.  R.  Agarwala  and  P.  C. Agarwala, for respondent Nos. 1 to 6. The Judgment of the Court was delivered by Hegde,  J.-In this appeal by special leave though number  of contentions  were taken we have not thought it necessary  to go  into  all  of  them as  in  our  judgment  High  Court’s conclusion  that Shyam Behari Lal (1st defendant)  had  been validly adopted by Gopal Das ,is well founded. The suit from which this appeal arises is for possession  of the  suit  properties  on  the  basis  of  title.   The  1st plaintiff Debi Prasad claims title to the properties as  the nearest  heir to Gopal Das, his maternal uncle who  died  in 1934.   The  2nd  plaintiff  is  an  alienee  from  the  1st plaintiff. In  order  to  properly understand the  controversy  in  the



present  case, it is necessary to have before us the  family pedigree.  The admitted pedigree is as shown below 103                          LAJJA RAM                    Kooramal (died in 1874) --------------------------------------------------- Kedar Nath      Hiralal (died    Laddoomal       Ramass (died in 1897)  during his       (died --------------  father’s life    issueless                 time)            in 1871)                               -------------------------                               (1St wife       (2nd wife)                                died in Dwaramal                       1874) alias                                        Shyam Behari Dwarkadas                      Mantoo Mal          Lal (died in                    (died in         (adopted by 1885)                      1897) at           Gopal Das)                          age 25 or 27.        deft. No. 1                                            (other children,                                               died during                                                minority).     ----------------------------- Changumal       Smt. Misro    Smt. Kaushilla died in 1923   (died in 1917) (dead)   ------------------------------------- Smt.Raj Rani     Shanker Sahai     Manohar Das (died childless  (died in          (alive) 1944 or 1945)    1929)           ----------------------------------------------           Smt. Radhey Rani    Smt. Drupati      Mukut Behari --               --            --                   Lal --               --            --              (Deft. No. 2) Govind Prasad      Ram Kumar         Ram Swarup  ---------                             --------------------------                          Mahesh Bebari          Ram Prasad                          (Deft.  No. 3)     (Deft.  No. 4)                         (Four other children                           died 1940-41) Gopal Das      Smt. Kundan    Smt. Shyamo    Masani Din (died on       (died in       (died in    (died issueless) 18-2-34)        1914)        1923 or 1904) --------------------------------------- Smt. Bhagwan     Baghumal     Kedar Nath Del           (died in 1932)  (died in 1925) (died on 19-10-1934)    Debi Prasad                Plff. No. 1      -------------------------------   Minor son     Minor    Minor daughter                   (all died before 1890) 104 The common ancestor of the family was Lajja Ram who died  in 1874.   We are now concerned with the branch of Kedar  Nath, the father of Gopal Das who died on February 18, 1934.   His widow Bhagwan Dei died on October 19, 1934.  The  contention of  Debi  Prasad is that Gopal Das had  separated  from  his family; he died intestate and, therefore, being the  nearest heir of Gopal Das, he is entitled to the properties left  by Gopal  Das.   The plaintiffs claim was resisted by  the  1st defendant  Shyam Behari Lai, who claimed to be  the  adopted son  of  Gopal Das.  According to Shyam Behari Lai,  he  had been adopted by Gopal Das in about the year 1892 when he was only  an  infant.  He also resisted the suit on  the  ground that  Gopal  Das was an undivided member of his  family  and



therefore  the 1st plaintiff in any event cannot  claim  any right  to the suit properties.  His further  contention  was that the 1st plaintiff was estopped from contending that  he was not the adopted son of Gopal Das.  Shyam Behari Lai died luring the pendency of the appeal before the High Court  and his  legal representatives are contesting this  appeal  Debi Prasad  also died during the pendency of this  appeal.   The trial  court  substantially accepted the claim made  in  the plaint  but in appeal the High Court reversed the decree  of the trial court and dismissed the suit. The  principal question that we have to decide in this  case is whether the adoption pleaded by Shyam Behari Lai is  true and  valid.  According to Shyam Behari Lai, Gopal  Das  took him in adoption on February 8, 1892, on the very day he  was born.   He says that very soon after his birth, his  natural parents  handed him over to Gopal Das and his wife who  took him  over as their adopted son and thereafter performed  the necessary  ceremonies  according  to  the  custom  of  their community.   He also pleaded that in the community of  Gopal Das, there is a custom of taking a child. in adoption on the very day of its birth.  The plaintiffs have denied both  the factum of adoption as well as the custom pleaded. We may at the very outset mention that Shyam Behari Lai  had not  been able to establish the custom pleaded by him.   Nor was  he able to adduce any satisfactory evidence  about  the actual   adoption   but  he-   has   produced   considerable documentary  evidence to show that (Gopal Das) was  treating him for over a quarter of century as his son.  There is also plenty of reliable evidence to show that close relations  of Gopal Das including Debi Prasad treated Shyam Behari Lai  as the son of Gopal Das both during the life time of Gopal  Das and also thereafter till about the time the suit from  which this  appeal  arises was instituted.  As  mentioned  earlier Gopal Das as well as his wife died in 1934 and the suit from which this appeal arises was filed in 1946. 105 While  considering  the question of proof  of  the  adoption pleaded,  we  must bear in mind the fact that  the  same  is alleged  to have taken place in 1892 nearly 54 years  before the  present suit was instituted.  Therefore, naturally,  it was  extremely difficult for Shyam Behari Lai to adduce  any oral  evidence in proof of that adoption.  All  the  persons who  could have known about the adoption are likely to  have died.   Shyam  Behari Lai himself could not  speak  to  that adoption.  His evidence is at best hearsay.  It is true,  as observed  by this Court in Addagada Raghayamma and  anr.  v. Addagada Chenchamma and anr. (1) that it is settled that  (a person.  who  seeks to displace the  natural  succession  to property  by alleging an adoption must discharge the  burden that  lies upon him by proof of the factum of  adoption  and its  validity).   Again as held by this  Court  in  Lakshman Singh  Kothari v. Smt.  Rup Kanwar(2) that in order that  an adoption  may be valid under the Hindu law, there must be  a formal  ceremony of giving and taking.  This is true of  the regenerate  castes  as well as of the Sudras.   Although  no particular  form  is prescribed for the  ceremony,  the  law requires  that  the  natural parent  should  hand  over  the adoptive  boy and the adoptive parent must receive him,  the nature   of   the   ceremony  varying   according   to   the circumstances.   In the course of the judgment Subba Rao  J. (as  he  then  was) who spoke for  the,  Court  quoted  with approval  the following observations of Gopalchandra  Sarkar in his book on Hindu Law, 8th Edn.;               "The ceremonies of giving and taking are abso-               lutely   necessary  ’in  all   cases.    These



             ceremonies  must be accompanied by the  actual               delivery   of   the   child;   symbolical   or               constructive   delivery  by  the  mere   parol               expression  of  intention on the part  of  the               giver  and the taker without the  presence  of               the  boy is not sufficient.  Nor are deeds  of               gift and acceptance executed and registered in               anticipation  of  the  intended  adoption  nor               acknowledgment,  sufficient by  themselves  to               constitute legal  adoption, in the absence  of               actual  gift  and  acceptance  accompanied  by               actual  delivery;  a  formal  ceremony   being               essential for that purpose." That is also the view expressed in Mayne’s Hindu Law wherein it is observed that-the giving and receiving are  absolutely necessary  to  the  validity of an adoption;  they  are  the operative part of the ceremony, being that part of it  which transfers the boy from one family to another; but the  Hindu law does not require that there shall be any particular form so far as giving and acceptance are concerned; for a  valid, adoption  all  that  the law requires is  that  the  natural father shall be asked by the adoptive (1) [1964] 2 S.C.R. 933. L11SupCI-8 (2) [1962] 1 S.C.R. 477. 106 parent  to give his son in adoption, and that the boy  shall be handed over and taken for this purpose. There is no doubt that the burden of proving  satisfactorily that  he  was given by his natural father  and  received  by Gopal  Das as his adoptive son is on Shyam Behari Lal.   But as  observed by the Judicial Committee of the Privy  Council in  Rajendrao  Nath  Holder v. Jogendro  Nath  Benerjee  and ors.(1);  that  although the person who pleads that  he  had been adopted is bound to prove his title as adopted son,  as a  fact  yet from the long period during which he  had  been received as an adopted son, every allowance for the  absence of  evidence  to  prove  such  fact  was  to  be  favourably entertained,  and  that the case was analogous  to  that  in which  the  legitimacy of a person in  possession  had  been acquiesced  in  for  a  considerable  time,  and  afterwards impeached  by  a  party, who had a  right  to  question  the legitimacy,  where  the defendant, in order  to  defend  his status,  is  allowed to invoke against  the  claimant  every presumption  which  arises  from  long  recognition  of  his legitimacy  by members of his family; that in the case of  a Hindoo,  long recognition as an adopted son, raised  even  a stronger presumption in favour of the validity of. his adop- tion, arising from the possibility of the loss of his rights in  his own family by being adopted in another  family.   In Rup  Narain and anr. v. Mst.  Gopal Devi and ors.  (1),  the Judicial  Committee observed, that in the absence of  direct evidence much value has to be attached to the fact that  the alleged adopted son had without controversy succeeded to his adoptive father’s estate and enjoyed till his death and that documents  during his life and after his death  were  framed upon  the  basis of the adoption.  A Division Bench  of  the Orissa   High   Court  in  Balinki  Padhano  and   anr.   v. Gopalkrishntt  Padhano and ors(3); held that in the case  of an  ancient  adoption  evidence showing  that  the  boy  was treated  for a long time as the adopted son at a  time  when there was no controversy is sufficient to prove the adoption although  evidence  of  actual  giving  and  taking  is  not forthcoming.   We are in agreement with the views  expressed in the decisions referred to above.



In  the case of all ancient transactions, it is but  natural that  positive  oral evidence will be lacking.   Passage  of time gradually wipes out such evidence.  Human affairs often have to be judged on the basis of probabilities.   Rendering of  justice will become impossible if a particular  mode  of proof is insisted upon under all circumstances.  In  judging whether  an adoption pleaded has been satisfactorily  proved or  not, we have to bear in mind the lapse of  time  between the  date of the alleged adoption and the date on which  the concerned party is required to adduce proof.  In the (1) 14 Moore’s Indian Appeals p.67. (2) 36 I.A. p. 103. (3) A.I.R. 1964 Orissa p. 117. 107 case  of an adoption said to have taken place  years  before the  same  is  questioned, the most  important  evidence  is likely to be that the alleged adoptive, father held out  the person claiming to have been adopted as his son; the  latter treated  the  former as his father and their  relations  and friends  treated  them  as  father and  son.   There  is  no predetermined  way of proving any fact.  A fact is  said  to have been proved where after considering the matters  before it,  the court either believes it to exist or considers  its existence  so probable that a prudent man ought,  under  the circumstances  of  the  particular case,  to  act  upon  the supposition  that  it  exists.  Hence  if  after  taking  an overall  view  of the evidence adduced in the case,  we  are satisfied  that  the  adoption  pleaded  is  true,  we  must necessarily  proceed  on the basis, in the  absence  of  any evidence  to  the contrary, that it is a valid  adoption  as well. As  mentioned earlier Shyam Behari Lal has not been able  to substantiate  the custom pleaded by him; nor has he  adduced any direct evidence relating to the factum of adoption.  His case  entirely rests upon the decumentary evidence  that  he has  produced  to  show that he had  been  consistently  and continuously  treated as the son of Gopal Das, by Gopal  Das himself,  during  his life time and by all his  friends  and relations including Debi Prasad. Before  dealing with the evidence mentioned earlier,  it  is necessary to mention that the High Court has relied in proof of  the adoption pleaded, on the evidence of D.W. 10  Rikhab Das  and D.W. 15 Chhotey Lal.  Both of them were  the  close relations of the wife of Gopal Das.  They are  disinterested witnesses.   Their evidence is to the effect  that  sometime after  the birth of Shyam Behari Lal, the wife of Gopal  Das took him to her paternal home where Paon Pheri ceremony  was performed.  There is satisfactory evidence to show that this ceremony is customarily performed in the parental home of  a lady  who  has given birth to her first child.   We  see  no reason  to  disbelieve  the testimony  of  these  witnesses. Their evidence clearly indicates the fact that Shyam  Behari Lal  must have been taken in adoption by Gopal Das.  We  may also  at this stage refer to another important  circumstance appearing in the case.  As mentioned earlier, both Gopal Das and  his  wife died in the year 1934.  The suit  from  which this  appeal arises was instituted only in 1946, just a  few months  before the period of limitation for instituting  the same  expired.  Debi Prasad has not given  any  satisfactory explanation  for  this inordinate delay in  instituting  the suit.   This  circumstance tends to show that  the  suit  is likely to be speculative one. Now coming to the documentary,evidence referred to  earlier, it is proved that Shyam Behari Lal was admitted to school in 1907.  Exh.  A-658, is the application made for admission on



December  12,  1907.  That application was signed  by  Gopal Das, 108 It  recites that Shyam Behari Lal is the son of  Gopal  Das. This admission of Gopal Das is an extremely important  piece of  evidence.  No reason is given why Gopal Das should  have made a false statement in that application.  The explanation that someone must have filled in the form and Gopal Das must have signed the same in ignorance is not worthy of credence. Exh.   A-261,  is the certified copy of  the  deposition  of Gopal  Das in Regular Suit No. 104 of 1917 in the  court  of the Subordinate Judge, Faizabad.  That deposition was  given on May 9, 1918.  Therein Gopal Das admitted in more than one place  that Shyam Behari Lal was his son.  We next  come  to Exh.   A-364, a copy of the nomination paper filed by  Shyam Behari Lal for election to the municipal council.  Gopal Das was one of the persons who proposed his name.  Therein again Shyam Behari Lal was described as the son of Gopal Das. Gopal  Das was an income-tax assessee.  He was  assessed  as the Karta of his Hindu Undivided Family.  Exh.  A-299 is the assessment  order for the year 1921-22; Exh.  A-300  is  the assessment  order for the year 1922-23; Exh.  A-3-01 is  the assessment  order for the year 1923-24; Exh.  A-302  is  the assessment  order for the year 1924-25; Exh.  A-303  is  the assessment  order for the year 1925-26; Exh.  A-304  is  the assessment  order for the year 1926-27; Exh.  A-305  is  the assessment  order  for the year 192728; Exh.  A-306  is  the assessment  order for the year 1928-29; Exh.  A-307  is  the assessment  order for the year 1929-30; Exh.  A-309  is  the assessment order for the year 1931-32 and Exh.  A313 is  the assessment order for the year 1935-36.  While computing  the income  of  the  H.U.F. the professional  income  of  Shyarn Behari Lal as a lawyer was taken into consideration.   Those assessment  orders proceed on the basis that Gopal  Das  and Shyam  Behari Lal constituted a joint Hindu family.  It  may be  noted  that most of those assessment  orders  were  made during the life time of Gopal Das and evidently on the basis of  the returns submitted by him.  If Shyam Behari  Lai  had not  been  the  son of Gopal Das, he  could  not  have  been treated  as a member of the ’coparcenary of which Gopal  Das was  the Karta, nor his professional income would have  been added to the income of the joint family of Gopal Das.  These assessment  orders have considerable evidentiary value.   It may  be noted that these documents came into existence at  a time when there was no dispute. Next  we come to the admissions made by the  plaintiff  him- self.   Exh.  A-233 is the certified copy of the  deposition of the plaintiff given in Regular Suit No. 55 of 1935 in the court  of  Additional  Subordinate  Judge,  Faizabad.   This deposition he 109 gave  on May 20, 1935, nearly a year after Gopal  Das  died. Is that deposition he stated :               "I  am  partner  of the  firm  of  Gopal  Dass               Chhangamal.  Plaintiff No. 2 is the proprieter               of the said firm", If Debi Prasad was the rightful heir to the estate of  Gopal Das, he could not have admitted in the year 1935 that  Shyam Behari  Lal  was  the  proprietor of  the  firm  Gopal  Dass Chhangamal.   Debi Prasad’s explanation that on the date  he gave that deposition, he was unaware of the fact that he was the heir of Gopal Das, cannot be believed.  In Exh.   A-226, the  decree  in  the aforesaid suit, Shyam  Behari  Lal  was described-.as the son of Gopal Das.  Exh.  A-274 is  another certified copy of the deposition given by Debi Prasad.  This



was,  given on July 19, 1923 in a suit where Gopal  Das  was the plaintiff.  Therein he stated in cross-               "The  plaintiff No. 1 has got a son  named  B.               Shyam  Behari Lal Vakil .... Our  business  is               also ancestral business.  His son Shyam Behari               and his grand son Mukut Behari are members  of               a joint Hindu family."               He further stated therein               "Lala  Gopal Das, his son (referring to  Shyam               Behari Lal) and grand son are the sole  owners               of the firm styled Kuramal Kedar Nath". Exh.   A-236  is the certified copy of the plaint  filed  by Shyam Behari Lal and Debi Prasad jointly in Suit No. 353  of 1935 in the court of Civil Judge, Faizabad.  In paragraph  1 of the plaint, it is stated :               "The  proprietor  of the said shop  was  Gopal               Das,  father of the plaintiff No. 1  till  his               life time and after his death to which about a               year,  nine months and half have  passed,  the               plaintiff No. 1, as survivor became and is the               proprietor of the said property." This  is an extremely important admission.   This  admission was made after the death of Gopal Das.  Therein Debi  Prasad not only admitted that Shyam Behari Lal was the son of Gopal Das,  he further admitted that he became the  proprietor  of the concern by survivorship.  This could have only  happened if  Shyam Behari Lal had been adopted by Gopal  Das.   Exhs. A-352 and 356 are two applications made for registration  of a  firm under the Indian Partnership Act, 1932.  The  first, application  was  made on March 26, 1936.  It  was  returned ’with some objection and the second application was made  on May 4, 1936.  Both these applications bear the signature  of Debi Pradsad as Well 110 as  Shyam Behari Lal.  In those applications, it was  stated that Shyam Behari Lal had succeeded as a partner of the firm whose  registration  was sought in the place of  his  father Gopal  Das who had died.  Exh.  A-358 is an application  for transfer  of shares made to the Banaras Cotton & Silk  Mills Ltd.  by Debi Prasad.  Thereunder he sought to transfer  his 100  shares  to Shyam Behari Lal whom he  described  in  his application  as  the son of Gopal Das.   Similar  avertments were made in Exh.  A-359. Exhs.  A-262, 656, 657 and A-276 are the statements made  by the  relations of Shyam Behari Lal and Debi  Prasad  wherein Shyam Behari Lal was described as the, son of Gopal Das. A large number of documents have been produced to show  that friends,  relations and even strangers were  treating  Shyam Behari Lal as the son of Gopal Das.  The documents  produced before  the  court conclusively prove that right  from  1907 till 1946, Shyam Behari Lal wag treated as the son of  Gopal Das.   This continuous and consistent course of  conduct  on the  part  of Debi Prasad, Gopal Das and  others  affords  a satisfactory  proof of the fact that Shyam Behari  Lal  must have been the adopted son of Gopal Das.  No other reasonable inference can be drawn from the material on record. Mr.  Desai appearing on behalf of the  appellants  contended that  we  should  not accept the  adoption  pleaded  firstly because,  it was unlikely that Gopal Das would have taken  a child  in adoption as far back as 1892 when he was  only  32 years  of age; secondly the story that an one day old  child was  taken  in adoption when the family must  have  been  in pollution  must  be  rejected as being  repugnant  to  Hindu notions and lastly in a decree of 1910, Shyam Behari Lal was described as the son of Ram Das, his natural father.  We are



unable to accept these contentions.  It is in evidence  that Gopal  Das  had  lost  three  children  even  before   1890. Evidently  he had lost all hopes of getting a  natural  son. Further it is not necessary to speculate in the face of  the documentary  evidence  referred  to earlier  why  Gopal  Das should  have  taken a son in adoption when there  was  every possibility  for  him to get a natural son.  Coming  to  the question  of adoption on the very day Shyam Behari  Lal  was born,  that plea rests on hearsay information.  There is  no positive evidence before us as to when exactly Shyam  Behari Lal  was adopted.  From the evidence of D.Ws. 10 and 15,  it is clear that he must have been adopted very soon after  his birth.   That is the best that can be said on the  basis  of the evidence.  That a art custom differs from place to place and  from  community  to community.  It is true  that  in  a decree  made in 1910, Shyam Behari Lal was described as  the son  of  Ram  Das.  But in the very  next  year  in  another decree, he was 111 described as the son of Gopal Das.  We do not think that the evidence  afforded by that solitary document  showing  Shyam Behari Lal as the son of Ram Das can outweigh the other evi- dence which is both satisfactory as well as voluminous. On an appreciation of the entire evidence on record, we  are in  agreement  with the High Court’s conclusion  that  Shyam Behari  Lal  was the adopted son of Gopal Das and  there  is nothing  to show that the said adoption was invalid for  any reason.   In view of this conclusion, it is  unnecessary  to consider the other contentions raised in the appeal. In  the result this appeal fails and the same  is  dismissed with costs. Y.P.                         Appeal dismissed. 112