(1) Unfortunately both the Courts below have gone off the mark in this case. Even the elementary principles of Hindu Law were obviously missed.
(2) The respondent-plaintiff instituted the present suit for declaration of his title and possession alleging that the suit properly belonged to one D. Kannayya who died in 1914. He had two wives, one Kannamma whose son from D. Kannayya is the plaintiff. Kannamma died in September, 1939. The other wife was D. Venkayamma who died on 26-10-52. She was the 1st defendant in this case. The plaintiff stated that after the death of his father when he was ten years old he was taken away by his uncle to Rangoon. The Ist defendant remained in possession on his behalf and that as she now denied his title and refuses to hand over the possession, the present suit was laid not only against the Ist defendant but the defendants Nos. 2 and 3 who were her brothers living with the Ist defendant. Defendants 2 and 3 also died and their legal representatives were brought on record, who are the appellants before me.
(3) This suit was resisted by all the defendants on the ground that the plaintiff is not the son either legitimate or illegitimate of D. Kannayya and that he has been out of possession since 1914, the year in which Kannayya died.
(4) The trial Court after framing appropriate issues decreed the plaintiff's suit to the extent of half share of the suit lands and passed a preliminary decree infavour of the plaintiff. It was found by the trial Court that the plaintiff is the illegitimate son of Kannayya and therefore he is entitled to half the share in the property. It was also found that the defendants were in adverse possession of half of the property thus perfecting their title. Dissatisfied with that judgment the defendants preferred appeal. The plaintiff also filed cross-objections.
(5) The lower appellate Court dismissed both the appeal and the cross-objections. The lower appellate Court however disagreed with the conclusion of the Court below that the plaintiff is the illegitimate son of Kannayya. It was found that he was the legitimate son. It was found that the plaintiff was not in possession of the suit property at any time within the statutory period and that the arrangement set up by him is not proved. It was further found that the defence set up by defendants 2 and 3 in regard to half of the property also is not proved and they are not entitled to any share in the suit property. The Court however held that defendants 2 and 3 have perfected their title by adverse possession to half of the suit property. It was further held that the Ist defendant's possession was on behalf of the plaintiff and as reversioner he is entitled to get that half after the death of the Ist defendant. It is this view that is now challenged by both the parties in the appeal and the cross-objections.
(6) When the lower appellate Court finds that the plaintiff was the legitimate son of D. Kannayya born out of a lawful marriage with Kannamma, the second wife, I fail to see how the plaintiff can be the reversioner. When D. Kannayya died, by way of inheritance he became entitled to the entire suit property. Although there is some evidence to show that after the death of Kannayya, Kannamma was in possession, but both the Courts below have not categorically found that she was in possession either of the whole property or half of it to which she was entitled, the other half going to the co-widow, D. Venkayamma. It will thus be seen that both the Courts below held that after the death of Kannayya, it is D. Venkayamma, the first wife, who came into possession of the property, the plaintiff being away in Rangoon. It is also found that D. Venkayamma was in adverse possession in regard to half of the property and defendants 2 and 3 were in adverse possession of the other half. Defendants 2 and 3 will thus get half the share on the basis of adverse possession against the plaintiff as well as D. Venkayamma. I do not therefore find any reason to disturb the finding to that effect which is in favour of the appellants. Although I do not agree in reference to the other half with the reasoning of both the Courts below, in conclusion I find that the plaintiff would be entitled to the other half after the death of D. Venkayamma, who dies on 26th October, 1952, as stated earlier. From what is stated above it would be clear that D. Venkayamma perfected her title by adverse possession as against the plaintiff in 1926.
It is not disputed that property acquired by a Hindu female whether during coverture or widowhood by adverse possession becomes her Stridhana according to all the schools; See Mulla on the Hindu Law, page 212 para 133. If that is so, then what is to be seen in this case is who is the heir of D. Venkayamma to her Stridhana property. According to Section 147, page 219 of the Hindu Law by Mulla, it is clear that Stridhana other than Sulka passes to the daughters or daughter's daughter or son, or her son, or her son's son first, and if there be none of these, in other words, if the woman dies without having any issue, her Stridhana, if she was married in an approved manner, goes to her husband and after him to the husband's heirs in order of their succession to him. The plaintiff admittedly comes as the husband's heir and therefore would be entitled to half of the suit property to which D. Venkayamma had perfected her title by adverse possession and which had become her Stridhana. In conclusion therefore I agree with the lower in regard to both these matters through a different route. This second appeal and the cross-objections consequently fail and are dismissed. I leave the parties to bear their own costs of this Court. No leave.
(7) Appeal and cross-objections dismissed.