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Bhawani Prasad Vs. Ram Deo and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty;Civil
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 262 of 1966
Judge
Reported inAIR1975All87
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Order 12, Rule 1 - Order 41, Rule 1; Uttar Pradesh Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, 1951 - Sections 18; Hindu Law
AppellantBhawani Prasad
RespondentRam Deo and anr.
Appellant AdvocateS.R. Dwivedi, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateM.L. Trivedi, Adv.
DispositionAppeal allowed
Excerpt:
.....- admission made on behalf of defendant that evidence given were not making any case of legal necessity - the question of fact has been closed - civil judge is not permitted to reopen the question of fact which has been closed once. (ii) transfer of share - section 18 of u.p. zamindari abolition and land reforms act, 1951 - karta of hindu undivided family acquired bhumidari rights - under hindu law the karta of the family can sell his right as well as the share of other members - parties acquired bhumidhari rights and under u.p. zamindari abolition and land reforms act under which co bhumindar cannot transfer the share of other bhumindars. - cantonments act[c.a. no. 41/2006]. section 346 & cantonment fund (servants rules, 1937, rules 13, 14 & 15: [h.l. gokhale, ag...........hindus. ram prasad died issueless and his 1/2 share in the grove was inherited by his brother gokul prasad. gokul prasad had two sons named bhawani prasad, who is the plaintiff-appellant before us, and ram baran who was impleaded as defendant no. 3 in the suit but who died subsequently without leaving any widow or issue and whose property was inherited by his father gokul prasad. at the time of the abolition of zamindari this grove was held bv gokul prasad and his sons. gokul prasad held 1/2 share in this grove as his individual property which he had inherited from his brother ram prasad, while the other half was held by him as co-parcenary property belonging to the joint hindu family consisting of himself and his two sons. if the partition were to be effective on the date preceding.....
Judgment:

Jagmohan Lal, J.

1. The dispute in this case relates to a zamindari grove which formerly belonged to one Data Din. After his death it was inherited by his two sons Gokul Prasad defendant No. 2, and Ram Prasad. It appears that both these brothers were separated Hindus. Ram Prasad died issueless and his 1/2 share in the grove was inherited by his brother Gokul Prasad. Gokul Prasad had two sons named Bhawani Prasad, who is the plaintiff-appellant before us, and Ram Baran who was impleaded as defendant No. 3 in the suit but who died subsequently without leaving any widow or issue and whose property was inherited by his father Gokul Prasad. At the time of the abolition of zamindari this grove was held bv Gokul Prasad and his sons. Gokul Prasad held 1/2 share in this grove as his individual property which he had inherited from his brother Ram Prasad, while the other half was held by him as co-parcenary property belonging to the joint Hindu family consisting of himself and his two sons. If the partition were to be effective on the date preceding the abolition of zamindari. Gokul Prasad and his two sons would have got equal share in the ancestral half share of this grove. In other words, the plaintiff would get 1/6th share in this entire grove.

2. After the abolition of zamindari, Gokul Prasad and his sons acquired Bhumidhari rights in this grove under Section 18 of U.P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act. While Gokul Prasad and his two sons were living as members of the joint Hindu family. Gokul Prasad sold this entire grove to Ram Deo defendant No. 1. Thereupon Bhawani Prasad plaintiff filed a suit challenging the sale deed on various grounds. The trial Court found that the sale deed executed by Gokul Prasad was not for legal necessity and so it was not binding on the plaintiff to the extent of his 1/6th share. The suit was decreed accordingly to the extent of 1/6th share.

3. The contesting defendant filed an appeal against that decision. The Lower Appellate Court disagreed with the trial Court on the finding of legal necessity. At this place it may be stated that the suit had been dismissed earlier by the Munsif and on that occasion also he had recorded a finding on an examination of the evidence that no legal necessity had been proved. On other points he decided against the plaintiff and dismissed the suit. When the plaintiff went in appeal on that occasion it was conceded bv the counsel for the contesting defendant-respondent before the Lower Appellate Court that the evidence on record did not establish any legal necessity. So the learned Civil Judge in that appeal did not upset the finding of the trial Court on the Question of legal necessity. He, however, differed from the trial court on other points and remanded the case.

4. After remand when the case was reheard by the same Munsif the defendant's counsel again conceded that legal necessity had not been proved and he did not press the issue on that point. So the learned Munsif went into other disputed question in the light of the directions given by the appellate court in its order of remand and thereafter he partly decreed the suit and partly dismissed it. This time the defendant went in appeal and on his behalf the finding on the question of legal necessity was also assailed. The appeal was heard by the same Civil Judge who had previously remanded the case and before whom it was admitted by the defendant's Counsel that legal necessity had not been proved from the evidence on record. But the Civil Judge was of the opinion that this question was a mixed question of law and fact and so the admission made by the defendant's Counsel was not binding on him. After that he reappraised the evidence and held that legal necessity had been proved.

5. In my opinion, the question whether the sale was made for legal necessity or not is a pure question of fact, at least in the present case. The learnedCivil Judge also did not refer to any rule of law in this connection, but simply reappraised the evidence and then recorded a finding in favour of the contesting defendant. This was not permissible as this question of fact was no more open for decision after being admitted twice on behalf of the contesting defendant that the evidence adduced by the parties did not make out any case of legal necessity. The learned Civil Judge committed a manifest error by allowing this issue of fact to be reopened when it had been concluded by the admission made on behalf of the defendant.

6. In the second place it has been argued by the learned Counsel for the plaintiff that the question of legal necessity, is immaterial in this case because the disputed property consists of Bhumidhari rights which are not governed by the personal law of the Bhumidhar but only by the provisions of the statute under which these rights were conferred on the holders of the land.

7. So the question that arises for decision in this appeal is whether a Bhumidhari holding belonging to several persons who are members of a joint Hindu family would be governed, in the matter of devolution or transfer, by the ordinary rules of Hindu Law or only by the provisions contained in the U.P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, and those provisions would to that extent override the provisions of Hindu Law. This matter came up for consideration before a Full Bench of this Court in Ramji Dixit v. Bhrigu Nath, 1964 RD 80 = (AIR 1965 All 1) (FB) in which it was held that the transfer of Bhumidhari holding would be governed only by the provisions of the Act and not by ordinary rules of Hindu Law. In that case a widow had inherited some Sir and Khudkasht from her husband and on the abolition of zamindari she acquired Bhumidhari rights in that land. Under the Hindu Law a widow could not transfer any property inherited from her husband except for legal necessity, but in this case it was held that the Bhumidhari rights acquired by her were quite a different property and its transfer would be governed only by the provisions of the Act. There being no provision in the Act that a female Bhumidhar could not make an absolute transfer of the properly held by her, it was held that she was at liberty to make an absolute gift of such property uninhibited by the ordinary rules of Hindu Law. This decision, was affirmed by the Supreme Court in Ramji Dixit v. Bhirgunath, 1968 RD 293 = (AIR 1968 SC 1058).

8. Another Full Bench of this Court in Chhotey Lal v. Jhande Lal, 1972All LJ 468 = (AIR 1972 All 424) (FB) took the same view, though in a different context. In that case an ancestral holding had been inherited by several brothers, who lived as coparceners, from their father under the provisions of the U.P. Tenancy Act. The question arose whether on the death of one of the brothers its devolution would be governed by the principle of survivorship as known to Hindu Law, or by the rule of succession as provided in the U.P. Tenancy Act. It was held that the U.P. Tenancy Act would govern the devolution and to that extent the personal law shall be overridden by the statutory enactment.

9. The decision of this Court in Mahendra Kumar v. Deputy Director of Consolidation. 1968 RD 365 is directly applicable to this case. It was held by Satish Chandra, J., following the Division Bench decision in Mahendra Singh v Atar Singh, 1967 RD 191 = (AIR 1967 All 488) that the Ioint Hindu family has not been recognised by law as a juristic personality and it would be the members of the family who would acquire Bhumidhari rights under the provisions of the Act and not the family itself as a distinct entity. The powers of Karta under the Hindu Law would not be available qua Bhumidhari rights. A Karta cannot alienate a Bhumidhari holding either for legal necessity or for the benefit of the estate etc. He has unfettered right to transfer his own share, but he cannot alienate the share of other members of the family.

10. Lastly, reference may be made to the Full Bench decision of this Court in Rani Awalamb v. Jata Shankar AIR 1969 All 526 (FB) in which it was held that the right of transfer of each member of the joint Hindu family of his interest in Bhumidhari land is controlled only by Section 152 of the Act and by no other restriction. The provisions of Hindu Law relating to restriction on, transfer of coparcenary land e.g., existence of legal necessity, do not apply.

11. From these decisions it appears that the ordinary rule of Hindu law that the Karta of the family can transfer not only his own share but the share of other members of the joint Hindu family also, if the sale is made for legal necessity does not hold good so far as Bhumidhari land is concerned. There is no provision in the U.P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act that one of the co-Bhumidhars can transfer more than his own share. In that view of the matter, the father Gokul Prasad, defendant-respondent No. 2 could not validly transfer the share of the plaintiff in this grove which, as stated above, was 1/6th. To that extent the sale deed executed by him was void and not binding on the plaintiff.

12. The appeal is accordingly allowed. The decree passed by the Lower Appellate Court is set aside and that passed by the trial Court is restored. But considering the circumstances of the case the parties shall bear their own costs throughout.


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