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Mehta Jethalal Vs. Jamiatram Lalubhai - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil;Property
CourtMumbai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in(1888)ILR12Bom225
AppellantMehta Jethalal
RespondentJamiatram Lalubhai
Excerpt:
jurisdiction - caste question--secession from a caste--property purchased by seceding section during period of secession--reunion of section with the caste--suit by caste to recover from a seceding member property purchased by seceding section. - .....of it. both the lower courts have decided, but we think wrongly, that the suit involved a caste question, and not cognizable by the civil courts.2. if the lands in dispute had been originally the property of the caste, the question would have been between the caste and a section of it and would be, as decided in nemchand v. savaichand i.l.r., 1 bom.. 84 a caste question, and, therefore, not cognizable by the civil courts; but here the lands had been admittedly purchased by the members who had seceded, and constituted the small section, out of their own funds and for their own purposes; and the question to whom those lands now belong, cannot be a caste question, unless indeed the small section itself could be regarded, and it has not been contended that it can, as a separate and.....
Judgment:

Charles Sargent, C.J.

1. The question in this case arises out of a dispute in the caste of Visnagra Brahmins, and is the result of a division of that casto,in 1841, into two sections, known as the big and little sections. During this division, vis., in the year 1868, certain lands, which are the property in dispute, were purchased by the small section in the names of the plaintiff and four other persons, of whom defendant Jamiatram was one, for and on behalf of the section. In 1873 the members of the small section, excepting the defendant Jamiatram, became reunited with the other members of the caste. After 1873 the property remained in the possession of Jamiatram, and the plaintiff now sues, for and on behalf of the caste, to recover possession of it. Both the lower Courts have decided, but we think wrongly, that the suit involved a caste question, and not cognizable by the Civil Courts.

2. If the lands in dispute had been originally the property of the caste, the question would have been between the caste and a section of it and would be, as decided in Nemchand v. Savaichand I.L.R., 1 BOM.. 84 a caste question, and, therefore, not cognizable by the Civil Courts; but here the lands had been admittedly purchased by the members who had seceded, and constituted the small section, out of their own funds and for their own purposes; and the question to whom those lands now belong, cannot be a caste question, unless indeed the small section itself could be regarded, and it has not been contended that it can, as a separate and district caste. Under these circumstances it is for the Civil Court alone to determine who is now entitled to the property in dispute, although it may be incidentally necessary for that purpose to inquire into the usage and practice, (if there be any), of caste sections, situated as the small section of this caste was, with respect to the property in question. We must, therefore, reverse the decree of the Court below, and send down the case for retrial. Costs of this appeal to abide the result.


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