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Kempanna Vs. M. Shantarajiah and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFamily;Property
CourtKarnataka High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 1053 of 1969
Judge
Reported inAIR1973Kant66; AIR1973Mys66
ActsHindu Succession Act, 1956 - Sections 14(1)
AppellantKempanna
RespondentM. Shantarajiah and ors.
Appellant AdvocateB.K. Ramachandra Rao, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateV. Narasimhaiah, Adv.
DispositionAppeal allowed
Excerpt:
.....dated 30-3-3920. according to the terms of the said deed the said venkatalakshmamma had only the right to enjoy the properties during her lifetime without any powers of alienation. on behalf of the defendant-appellant the one defence with which alone we are concerned herein was, that by virtue of the enactment of section 14 of the hindu succession act, 1956 the estate in the hands of venkatalakshmamma stood enlarged into s full estate and therefore she was perfectly competent to alienate the property by way of sale in favour of the appellant. p-l and in that view the cases relied on are clearly inapplicable. 6. on a careful consideration of the matter i am clearly of the view that the contention urged on behalf of the appellant deserves to be accepted as correct and the contention..........to the document ex. p-l executed in favour of the said venkatalakshmamma, for the recovery of the suit property. the contention urged on behalf of the plaintiffs was that on the death of venktalakshmamma the property reverted to the family of muniswamappa. on behalf of the defendant-appellant the one defence with which alone we are concerned herein was, that by virtue of the enactment of section 14 of the hindu succession act, 1956 the estate in the hands of venkatalakshmamma stood enlarged into s full estate and therefore she was perfectly competent to alienate the property by way of sale in favour of the appellant. 3. the trial court dismissed the suit holding, inter alia, that the said estate was in fact enlarged by the operation of section 14(1) of the hindu succession act. the.....
Judgment:

B. Venkataswami, J.

1. This appeal by the defendant in Original Suit No 313 of 1965 on the file of the Court of the Additional Second Munsiff, Bangalore, is directed against the judgment and decree, reversing those of the trial Court, made by the Civil Judge, Bangalore District. Bangalore in R. A. No. 147 of 1967.

2. The facts of the case lie in a narrow compass, and they are: One Channappa died leaving behind two sons named Chikkathamanna and Muniswam-appa. Chikkathamanna died prior to 1920, leaving behind his widow Venkata-lakshamma who also died sometime prior to the present suit. The other son Muniswamappa died leaving behind his widow Narayanamma and son Shanta-rajaiah and a grand son Mahesha, who are plaintiffs 3. 1 and 2 respectively. It would appear that a portion of the house end certain land in dispute in the present suit were allotted to the share of Venkatalakshmamma the widow of Chik-kathamanna. The said allotment was made pursuant to Ex. P-l dated 30-3-3920. According to the terms of the said deed the said Venkatalakshmamma had only the right to enjoy the properties during her lifetime without any powers of alienation. Subsequently on 1-6-1964, i. e. subsequent to the coming into force of the Hindu Succession Act 1956 she sold the land in question under Ex. D-l to the appellant herein (defendant). The suit came to be filed by the widow, son and grand son of Muniswam-appa. who was a party to the document Ex. P-l executed in favour of the said Venkatalakshmamma, for the recovery of the suit property. The contention urged on behalf of the plaintiffs was that on the death of Venktalakshmamma the property reverted to the family of Muniswamappa. On behalf of the defendant-appellant the one defence with which alone we are concerned herein was, that by virtue of the enactment of Section 14 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 the estate in the hands of Venkatalakshmamma stood enlarged into s full estate and therefore she was perfectly competent to alienate the property by way of sale in favour of the appellant.

3. The trial Court dismissed the suit holding, inter alia, that the said estate was in fact enlarged by the operation of Section 14(1) of the Hindu Succession Act. The Lower Appellate Court, in appeal by the plaintiffs, came to a contrary conclusion and decreed the suit. Hence the appeal.

4. On behalf of the appellant Sri B. K. Ramachandra Rao, the learned counsel drew attention to the pleadings and the specific conclusion in regard to it by both the lower Courts that the property in question was in fact given in lieu of maintenance to the late Venkata-lakshamma. His further contention is, that the said widow Venkatalakshamma had a right to claim maintenance from out of the joint family properties belonging to the family of the plaintiff on the death of her husband Chikkathamanna. It is in satisfaction of such right that the properties were allotted by the deed of maintenance Ex. P-l to her. In this state of facts it would be clear that the right that accrued to the grantee in Ex. P-l was not one which was conferred for the first time by the said document of grant. In other words, his contention in a sense is that Ex. P-l was in settlement of and in satisfaction of a pre-existing right of Venkatalakshamma for maintenance from the joint family properties. It is therefore contended that the case in question is fully covered by a Division Bench ruling of this Court in Hanuman Gowda v. Hanuman Gowda, (1972) 1 Mvs LJ 315 = (AIR 1972 Mvs 286) and also by a decision of mine in Channamma v. Lingamma, (1972) 2 Mys LJ 171 - (AIR 1972 Mys 333).

5. On behalf of the respondents Sri V, Narasimhaiah the learned Advocate endeavoured, in the main to distinguish the two cases cited by Sri Ramachandra Rao and to that end he relied on several decisions of the High Courts of Jammu and Kashmir, Orissa. Allahabad, Calcutta. Madras and Andhra Pradesh. His specific argument is that, such pre-existing right must be in relation to the property in question, otherwise it must be understood that the right conferred on Venkatalakshmamma was for the first time created by Ex. P-l and in that view the cases relied on are clearly inapplicable.

6. On a careful consideration of the matter I am clearly of the view that the contention urged on behalf of the appellant deserves to be accepted as correct and the contention urged on behalf of the respondents must therefore fail.

7. The two decisions relied on by Sri Ramachandra Rao. are, to my mind, on all fours with the facts of the present case. In both those cases the property had been settled on a widow of the joint Hindu family by way of maintenance, in an apparent recognition of the right of such widows to claim maintenance from the properties of the joint families concerned therein. On an analysis of Section 14 of the Hindu Succession Act this Court came to the conclusion that such case clearly fell within Sub-section (1) of Section 14 and not Sub-section (2) thereof.

8. Adverting to the authorities cited by Sri Narasimhaiah it is seen that only two decisions reported in : AIR1960Ori81 . (Mali Bewa v. Dadhi Das) and : AIR1965AP367 . (Somthim Vecra-bhadra Rao v. Duggirala Lakshmi Devi) were somewhat in favour of the contention urged on behalf of the respondents. Both these decisions have been rendered by the, learned single Judges of those Courts. In regard to the case of the High Court of Orissa it is sufficient for me to observe that I am bound by a Division Bench decision of this Court in (19721 1 Mys LJ 315 - (AIR 1972 Mvs 286) and therefore. I am not persuaded, with respect, to accept that decision. The other of the Andhra Pradesh High Court is clearly opposed to the view taken bv a Division Bench of that Court in Gadam Reddayya v. Yarapula Venkataraju. : AIR1965AP66 . In the latter case it was held that a clause in a maintenance deed executed by an adoptive son in favour of his adoptive mother, providing for a restriction that the properties assigned to her in lieu of such maintenance should not be alienated and she had only a right to the usufruct thereof, clearly fell within Sub-section (1) of Section 14 of the Hindu Succession Act and not under Sub-section (2), It was also observed therein:

'that the document evidenced a family settlement, in that the differences between the parties were resolved and the pre-existing rights of each other recognised. As such, it was not a_ new right that was conferred upon the widow under this document'.

Several other decisions which were cited by Sri Narasimhiah and later given up presumably because the enunciations therein were against his contention, need not be referred to in detail. Hence the contention urged on behalf of the respondents cannot he accepted. The judgment and decree in appeal therefore, are clearly unsustainable,

9. In the result this appeal succeeds and is allowed. Consequently the judgment and decree of the learned Civil Judge (Rural), Bangalore, in R. A. No. 147/1967 are set aside and as a result the judgment and decree of the learned Additional Second Munsiff. Bangalore in O S. No. 313/1965, stand restored. In the peculiar facts and circumstances of the case I direct the parties to bear their own costs throughout, both here and in the Courts below.


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