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Ganpat Dhaku Teli Vs. Tulsiram Ukha Dhangar - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFamily;Property
CourtMumbai
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 648 of 1909
Judge
Reported in(1911)13BOMLR860; 12Ind.Cas.271
AppellantGanpat Dhaku Teli
RespondentTulsiram Ukha Dhangar
Excerpt:
.....to pandharpur-betrothal expenses of daughter-alienation-necessity. ;the expenses incurred by a hindu widow in performing pilgrimage or in making betrothal of her daughter generally fall within the definition of legal necessity. ;as regards pilgrimage, the question in every case must be whether the pilgrimage was for the spiritual benefit of her husband, in the performance of her duty to his soul, and whether the expenses incurred are reasonable and were made honestly, having regard to the estate, the status of the family, and other considerations which it is customary for hindus to take into account in accordance with their religious beliefs and usages. - - 'a widow, like a manager of the family, must be allowed a reasonable latitude in the exercise of her powers, provided, as mr...........and binding upon the reversioners.2. as to the pilgrimage, we must bear in mind the position of a hindu widow with reference to the estate she inherits from her husband and the duties she owes to his soul. as observed by the judicial committee of the privy council in the collector of masulipatam v. cavaly vencata narrainapah (1861) 8 m. i. a. 529, a hindu widow has to lead the life of ascetic privation, and hence the law gives her a power of disposition for religious purposes, which is denied to her for other purposes. that is to say, 'for religious or charitable purposes, or those which are supposed to conduce to the spiritual welfare of her husband, she has a larger power of disposition than that which she possesses for purely worldly purposes.' accordingly, in that case, the expenses.....
Judgment:

N.G. Chandavarkar, Kt., J.

1. The sale impeached in this case was by a Hindu widow of property which she had inherited from her husband. It was effected partly for the purpose of paying off several debts, which the widow had incurred in the interests of the property, and partly for the expenses of a pilgrimage by her to Pandharpur and of her daughter's betrothal ceremony. No objection is raised to the sale, so far as its consideration consisting in the payment of debts is concerned. What is urged is that the expenses of the pilgrimage and of the betrothal are not within the definition of legal necessity required by Hindu law to render a sale by a widow valid and binding upon the reversioners.

2. As to the pilgrimage, we must bear in mind the position of a Hindu widow with reference to the estate she inherits from her husband and the duties she owes to his soul. As observed by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in The Collector of Masulipatam v. Cavaly Vencata Narrainapah (1861) 8 M. I. A. 529, a Hindu widow has to lead the life of ascetic privation, and hence the law gives her a power of disposition for religious purposes, which is denied to her for other purposes. That is to say, 'for religious or charitable purposes, or those which are supposed to conduce to the spiritual welfare of her husband, she has a larger power of disposition than that which she possesses for purely worldly purposes.' Accordingly, in that case, the expenses of a pilgrimage to Gya for the performance of the husband's shraddha there were allowed as fulfilling the conditions of legal necessity.

3. Vijnaneshwara points out in the Mitakshara that 'the succession of a chaste widow' to her husband as heir 'is expressly declared' by the text: 'The widow of a childless man, keeping unsullied her husband's bed, and persevering in religious observances, shall present his funeral oblation and obtain his entire share.' (The Mit Ch. II, Section I, pl. 18). Pilgrimages are generally made by a widow Jwith a view to present her husband's funeral oblations at the sacred place visited and to ensure for his soul the special merit arising from such presentation. In every case the question must be whether the pilgrimage was for the spiritual benefit of her husband, in the performance of her duty to his soul, and whether the expenses incurred are reasonable and were made honestly, having regard to the estate, the status of the family, and other considerations which it is customary for Hindus to take into account in accordance with their religious beliefs and usages. 'A widow, like a manager of the family, must be allowed a reasonable latitude in the exercise of her powers, provided, as Mr. Justice West says in Chimnaji Govind Godbole v. Dinkar Dhondev Godbole ILR (1886)11 Bom. 320, she acts fairly to her expectant heirs': Venkaji Shridhar v. Vishnu Babaji Beri ILR (1893) 18 Bom. 534.

4. In the present case, the pilgrimage was to Pandharpur, and the expenses incurred were Rs. 100, of which the District Judge has allowed Rs. 50 only as having been reasonably necessary. That is a question of fact, binding on us in second appeal. As to the betrothal, it was, as found by the Court below, in accordance with a custom of the caste to which the parties belong, and the widow was well within her power in incurring the charges.

5. The decree is confirmed with costs.


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