Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Parsis an Adoption - A Legal Analysis by Mr Noshir H Dadrawalla

From: TZML Admn <tzmladmn@gmail.com>
Date: Apr 24, 2007 3:42 PM
Subject: Parsis an Adoption - A Legal Analysis by Mr Noshir H Dadrawalla

Dear fellow Zarathushtis,

To: TZML - Traditional Zarathushtrian Mailing List ]

Vada Dasturjis, Ervad Sahebs,
Bombay Parsee Punchayat (BPP),
Zoroastrian Studies,
Religious Anjumans,
Priestly Madrassas,
Traditional Zoroastrian Home page moderators,
TMYZ officials,
prominent Zarathushtis, etc

Just yesterday we sent you the report from Mrs. Pervin Mistry
explaining how wrong adoption was for Parsis - both from the religious
and legal point of view.

On the heels of that letter, we have received a report from Mr Noshir
Dadrawalla, where he has explained the legal matters connected with

You may also study the expert opinion of Noshirbhai, who has been
writing on community affairs for more than 20 years!

Mrs Pervin Mistry says: "This rebuttal is written by Noshir Dadrawala.
It needs to be circulated widely so Parsis everywhere know the truth
regarding the adoption issue as well as what level of ignorance these
ARZ folks possess! They only end up displaying their foolishness every
time they pen something!

This is a very good response to ARZ's Vispy Wadia who thinks he can
promote wrong, anti religious practices without being held
accountable! It is a fact that the Wadia brothers have displayed total
ignorance about religious, legal, historical and social matters every
time they have tried to show off their "power" to alter our divinely
revealed scriptures, rituals and time-honoured traditions.

Please read the response given by Noshir and do circulate this so the
gullible do not get carried away. Thanks.

So here it is dear friends the authoritative opinion of Mr Dadrawalla
on this subject.

TZML Admins (please see below)

Parsis And Adoption - A Legal Analysis

By Noshir H. Dadrawala

This has reference to Mr. Vispy N. Wadia's article,
"Adoption………………..Nothing Illegal About It" (JJW April 22, 2007).

The only codified law available for adoption in India is THE HINDU
ADOPTION AND MAINTENANCE ACT (HAMA ). This Act came into force in 1956
and is applicable to:

· any person who is a Hindu by religion in any of its forms or

· any person who is a Buddhist, Jain or Sikh;

· any person who is not a Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew;

· any child legitimate or illegitimate whose parents are
Hindus, Buddhists, Jains or Sikhs;

· any child legitimate or illegitimate one of whose parents
are Hindus, Buddhists, Jains or Sikhs and has been so brought up;

· any abandoned child, legitimate or illegitimate of unknown
parentage brought up as a Hindu, Buddhist, etc.;

· any person who is a convert to the Hindu, Buddhist, Jain or
Sikh religion.

It is clear from the above that HAMA is NOT APPLICABLE TO PARSIS.


The Personal law of Muslims, Christians, Parsis and Jews does not
recognize complete adoption. In India, as non-Hindus do not have an
enabling law to adopt a child legally, those desirous of adopting a
child can only take the child in 'guardianship' under the provisions
of 'The Guardian and Wards Act, 1890' (GWA).

GWA, however, does not provide to the child the same status as a child
born biologically to the family.

Unlike a child adopted under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act,
1956 the child cannot become their own or inherit their property by

The GWA confers only a guardian-ward relationship. This legal
guardian-ward relationship exists until the child completes 21 years
of age.

Under the GWA, persons belonging to communities such as Muslim,
Christian, Parsi or Jew and who wish to adopt can only take up
"guardianship" of the child. In India, under Indian laws, such
children do not enjoy the same status as those of a biological child.

In fact, under GWA the term 'Guardian' means minor for whose person or
property or both, there is a guardian.

The term 'Ward' means a minor for whose person or property or both,
there is a guardian.

In other words, if a Parsi parent desires to 'adopt' a child, the
latter would not legally be considered "as if born to" the adoptive
individual or couple.

Incidentally, even Islam does not recognize adoption. In Mohammed
Allahdad Khan v. Mohammad Ismail it was held that there is nothing in
the Mohammedan Law similar to adoption as recognized in the Hindu
System. Parsi Zoroastrians also hold the same view.

With reference to the recent case of the 'Navjote' of the 'adopted'
girl child by the Bangalore-based Parsi couple, Noshir and Phiroza
Rustomji the legal position is quite clear:

mere performance of 'Navjote' ceremony on a child whose parentage is
unknown cannot make him/her a 'Parsi Zoroastrian';
even assuming that with performance of the 'Navjote', the child has
been initiated as a 'Zoroastrian', it still does not make him/her a
'Parsi Zoroastrian' and, as such, the child cannot enjoy as of legal
right the benefits of religious institutions which have been lawfully
established under Deeds of Settlement and Trust for the benefit of
'Parsi Zoroastrians Only'.

(end of Noshir Dadrawalla's article)

Adoption - "Everything Il-legal about it" : say Mrs Pervin Mistry. And Mr Noshir H Dadrawalla's article too

From: TZML Admn <tzmladmn@gmail.com>
Date: Apr 23, 2007 11:31 AM
Subject: Adoption - "Everything Il-legal about it" : say Mrs Pervin
Mistry. And Mr Noshir H Dadrawalla's article too

Dear fellow Zarathushtis,

[ To: TZML - Traditional Zarathushtrian Mailing List ]

[cc: Vada Dasturjis, Ervad Sahebs, Bombay Parsee Punchayat (BPP),
Zoroastrian Studies, Religious Anjumans, Priestly Madrassas,
Traditional Zoroastrian Home page moderators, TMYZ officials,
prominent Zarathushtis, etc ]

once again ARZ have spread wrong information about adoption in the
Parsee community.

This time it is in yesterday's Jame weekly of 22 April 2007.

We reproduce what Mrs. Pervin J Mistry has written about the recent
blunder by ARZ (Association of "Revival?" of Zoroastrianism).

And in the end, we reproduce an authoritative article from the famous
Zoroastrian writer, Noshir H Dadrawala, on this topic.

Fellow Zarathushtis, please do not be swayed by the false teachings by
false prophets sweeping our community today - be it conversion,
juddin-naojotes, adoption, inter-marriage, etc.

In this erroneous days, it pays to be traditional.

If you need to protect your children and your families from false
propaganda, see that they join the 2 trusted names on the internet -
TZML and TMYZ. There you can ask questions on many religious topics
and get proper traditional answers to your queries.

The subscription for these platforms is just sending an email on:
TraditionalZarathushtris-subscribe@yahoogroups.com (for TZML)
TMYZ-subscribe@yahoogroups.com (for TMYZ)

A ready made source of information is the Traditional Zoroastrian Home
page, found at

www.zoroastrianism.com . You may write to them at

TZML Admins (please see below for Mrs. Mistry's reply and then of Mr
Noshir Dadrawalla

From: Mrs Pervin J Mistry
Sunday, April 22, 2007

Dear Zarathushtis,

Today's Jam-e shows to what dismal depths of din-dushmani it has sunk
to! While it condemns all the traditionalists it promotes only the
din-dushmans and their jaundiced views. If a Parsi media is only out
to destroy all old traditions, rituals, scriptures, mobed sahebs and
Zarathushtis who remain true to the Faith, then what can the community
expect from the "Jam-e Team", its mysterious "Editorial Board" and
from its promoters except blasphemy!

On page 16, one of the ARZ founder member, Vispy N. Wadia, writes
about "Adoption.. Nothing Illegal About It"! In the past, we have
discussed the two Wadia brothers' display of supreme ignorance on
religious matters especially when they persistently mistranslate the
Sacred Avesta to fool the gullible into accepting their kind of
religious thuggery. To prove the absence of informed rational thought
in today's Jam-e, it is necessary to first discuss ARZ's posting in
last Sunday's Jam-e. ARZ divertes the weekly religious sham to social
isssues and asks, "What is more important - the Parsi race, or - the
Zoroastrian religion?"

Needless to say, ARZ founder members and members are totally unaware
that our sagacious Achaemenian Kings have proudly carved on majestic
mountains, so all visitors may know, for aeons to come, that they
belong to the Parsi (Zarathushti) Religion and the Race of Aryans!
Parsi is not a race, it is a Religion. The Great Achaenemian King
Darius has carved his ancestry at Naqsh-i-Rustom as ".... parsa,
parsahya puthra ariya ariyachithra", meaning "I, Darius, the great
king, the king of kings ... a Parsi, the son of a Parsi, an Aryan, of
Aryan family". Darius calls himself of Aryan descent or lineage. He
affirms that he is a Parsi by religion, born as the son of a Parsi,
and Aryan by race!

Race and religion are two separate issues. Religion is a set of
revealed scriptures, traditions, rituals and beliefs. Race indicates
major divisions of mankind with distinct physical characteristics. For
example, the Chinese, as a race, are distinct in physical
characteristics from the Africans or the Aryans. Parsi is not a race,
never has been and we do not define ourselves as a race. Ethnicity
means having common national or cultural traditions. The Parsis are a
distinct ethno-religious community but we are not a "race"! One would
wish that at least the Wadia brothers would first brush up on their
knowledge of other issues besides the religious issues of which they
are totally oblivious!

In today's Jam-e they display their ignorance by stating that adoption
of a juddin is not illegal. May it please them to know: 1) India gives
religious freedom to all minorities. As such, according our scriptural
tenets, we are enjoined NOT to adopt juddins! Mr. Noshir Dadrawala has
given a legal opinion in the Jam-e dated April 15th, page 13, "Parsis
and Adoption", where he categorically states that Parsis are exempt
from the Adoption Bill. As a religious community we are free to follow
our own tenets as defined in our Sacred Scriptures! 2) When late Mrs.
Indira Gandhji was the Prime Minister, a delegation of Parsis seeking
exemption from the Adoption Bill had an audience with her at Delhi.
Mrs. Indira Gandhi gave the exemption as per our religion rules. 3)
Adopting a juddin child and getting the navjote performed of such a
child is proselytism which is forbidden in our religion! No judiciary,
no law of the land and no individual can enforce an anti-religious
rule on a religious community provided such a communal, religious
practice does not endanger the peace of other communities. We have
survived for longer than the past millennium in India peacefully and
have gained the respect of all other communities living in India
because we have followed the closed-door policy of non-proselytism.
Yet, we have been universal in our approach where social and
philanthropic work is concerned. The Parsis have been exemplary
citizens of India since the past 1300 years and the Government has
never enforced any laws upon us that are anti-doctrinal! No Government
has the right to alter any divinely revealed scriptures, especially
ours which are held to be one of world's oldest! 4) We are enjoined to
adopt a "palak puthra" on the chahrum day if a Zarathushti dies
without leaving behind any heirs but this adopted person is an adult
who undertakes to perform all the obsequies of the deceased relative
and such an individual is of course adopted from among the relatives,
one who is a Parsi-Irani-Zarathushti!

Without taking into consideration the judicial as well as the more
important religious aspect, ARZ again indulges in din-dushmani by
promoting "adoption" of juddins! And what better way to promote their
ignorant and anti-religious views than to pay Jam-e to publish such

It is now time for us to become pro-active and work to bring about the
end of din-dushmani by electing those on the chairs of BPP who are
religiously learned because the BPP trustees are accountable to the
community which they serve, in all religious as well as social and
financial matters. Religious, because they are duty bound to protect
and preserve our religious institutions.


Pervin J Mistry,
22nd April 2007

Parsis and Adoption
By Noshir H. Dadrawala

This has reference to Manoj R. Nair's article "Adopted Girl Enters
Parsi Fold, Priests Say Not Rite" (Mumbai Mirror – April 4, 2007).

There is no legal adoption among Parsis in India. The tradition of
naming a "palak" for undertaking obsequies of a deceased cannot and
should not be confused with adoption.

The "Guardians and Wards Act of 1890" does not give the adopted child
"legal rights of a biological child," which are specifically spelt out
in the "Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956." However, the
latter is not applicable to Parsis.

Sometime ago Justice Rebello had passed a judgment "in the matter of
adoption by Christian couples". This cannot be made applicable to

The question arises, is it illegal or irreligious for Parsi couples,
especially child-less couples, to adopt children?

The position in law is quite clear. There is no legal adoption among
Parsis and therefore if a couple decides to adopt a child, the latter
would not enjoy automatic rights of inheritance etc., which a
biological child born out of the couple's wedlock would have in the
natural course enjoyed. The couple therefore would have to make wills
and such testamentary documents to confer various rights of

From a religious point of view, if a Parsi Zoroastrian couple,
especially a childless couple, desires to adopt a child born of Parsi
Zoroastrian parents, there should be no reason for discouragement. The
couple may happily fill the void in their life and shower the child
with love, affection and good upbringing. Testamentary and other
documents may be executed to ensure the child's right of inheritance.
The Navjote of such a child should also be performed at the proper

However, one would be treading into a rather grey area as far as
'Religious Rights' are concerned, if a child were adopted from a
secular adoption center (where the biological parentage of the child
can seldom be ascertained). The question would arise as to how such a
child can be allowed to enter and worship at a consecrated fire temple
(legally as by long custom and usage restricted to Parsi Zoroastrians
only) or participate in a religious ceremony.

Merely performing the navjote ceremony of a child whose parentage is
unknown cannot make the child a 'Parsi Zoroastrian'.

India being a secular state, on one hand, and having given
constitutional rights of freedom of religion to individual citizens,
as also to religious denominations on the other, no civil legislation
can have such provisions as may disturb such religious freedom.

Who can be a member of a particular religious denomination or who can
have a right to insist on being a member thereof and being entitled to
the use of its religious institutions is determined by the personal
law of that denomination which, again, is based on the precepts,
beliefs and tenets of the religion.

Article 25(1) of the Constitution of India provides that all persons
are equally entitled to freedom of conscience and the right freely to
profess, practice and propagate religion. This sub-section in terms
provides that it is subject to "public order, morality and health and
to other provisions of this part". It is therefore subject to Article
26(b), which provides that every religious denomination or any section
thereof shall have the right "to manage its own affairs in matters of

Adoption is not recognized by the Parsi Zoroastrian community. This is
an established fact and therefore, no judge of the High Court or
Supreme Court can sit in judgment on it. To quote Justice Dinshaw
Davar (ILR 33 Bom 122), "If this is the belief of the community and it
is proved undoubtedly to be the belief of the Zoroastrian community -
a secular Judge is bound to accept that belief - it is not for him to
sit in judgment of that belief."

Also, there is no "law of the land" which can force a priest to
perform the "navjote" of such adopted children whose parentage is

Navjotes of such 'adopted' children, whose parentage is unknown, may
be good for the emotional satisfaction of the adoptive parents.
However, it cannot confer any legal or religious rights to the child.