1. An application was made by one Lallu Panachand to the District Judge of Ahmedabad under the Guardians and Wards Act VIII of 1890 that the applicant might be appointed the guardian of the person of his minor brother Vadilal.
2. As to the main facts there is no dispute. The father of the minor died at Kapadwanj leaving two sons and a widow and property consisting of a house and shop. The sons are the applicant Lallu and the minor Vadilal. The widow was the mother of the minor. Within a year of her husband's death the widow died. Lallu thereupon sold the family house and shop and went to Broach and thence to Baroda where he embraced Christianity and became a preacher of the American Mission in that place. He was then sent as a preacher to Dhola in Kathiawar. He left his minor brother Vadilal in the Mission House. Vadilal remained there from May 1906 until February 1909. In that month he was removed by Lallu without the consent of those in charge of the Mission, Lallu having previously been dismissed from the service of the Mission. Lallu came to Ahmedabad bringing his brother with him and took service in that city. He placed his brother on the 15th of February in a Jain Boarding House, On the 15th of March by the instrumentality of one Mulji, a preacher of the American Mission, he was removed from the Boarding House to the house of Mr. Ward, a member of the Mission residing in Ahmedabad, and the following day was sent to the Mission, at Baroda where he has since remained.
3. The application of Lallu was made to the District Judge on the 29 th of April. At that time the minor had, therefore, been living in Baroda for nearly six weeks. For twenty-eight days prior thereto he had been living in Ahmedabad and for the preceding 21/2 years or more had been living at Baroda.
4. The District Judge holding that he had jurisdiction under the Act on the ground that his Court had jurisdiction in the place where the minor ordinarily resides as provided by Section 9 passed an order for the appointment of a Pleader of his Court to be guardian of the person and property of the minor.
5. An appeal has been preferred from that order, the appellant being the representative of the American Mission in face of whose opposition the order was made.
6. The first point taken on behalf of the appellant is that the District Judge had no jurisdiction in the matter at all, that he would only have jurisdiction if the minor ordinarily resided within the jurisdiction of his Court. It is contended on behalf of the appellant that the minor ordinarily resides where he is ordinarily to be found and he is ordinarily to be found in Baroda. He had been there for six weeks continuously at the date of the application and with the exception of twenty-eight days he had been there for nearly three years.
7. The learned District Judge did not found his jurisdiction upon the fact that the minor had resided in Ahmedabad between the 15th of February and the 15th of March of this year, but he held that, because the minor's father had up to the time of his death resided in Kapadwanj the minor's domicile was in British India in the Judicial District of Ahmedabad and that, therefore being so domiciled the minor must be taken to ordinarily reside within that District. It is very easy to reduce such an argument as this to an absurdity.
8. We think that the question of domicile is wholly irrelevant to the question of jurisdiction in such a case as the present. The words of the Act alone have to be construed, and the word of the Act are 'that an application must be made to the District Court having jurisdiction in the place where the minor ordinarily resides.'
9. The minor is living in Baroda and he has no other place of residence, and he has, with the exception of twenty-eight days, lived in Baroda for nearly three years. We, therefore, think that Baroda is the place where the minor ordinarily reside within the meaning of Section 9.
10. It is argued on behalf of the respondent (with what correctness we do not know) that the Mission House in Baroda where the minor is living is in British Cantonments and is within the jurisdiction of the District Judge of Ahmedabad.
11. We set aside the order of the District Judge and allow this appeal with costs.