Mithan Lal, J.
1. This civil revision has been filed by the petitioner under the following circumstances.
2. One Smt. Ram Rakhi who was the aunt, that is father's brother's wife, of the applicant, died during the last Kumbh tragedy on 3rd February 1954. On her person certain cash and ornaments were found and were taken possession of by the district authorities. The present petitioner made an application to the Mela Officer for handing over the cash and the valuables. The Mela Officer asked the petitioner to obtain a succession certificate before the property could be handed over to him.
Thereafter the petitioner made an application under Section 372 of the Indian Succession Act in the court of the Munsif West Allahabad, who partly allowed the application inasmuch as he granted a succession certificate tor the amount of cash, but dismissed the application in respect of the other valuables. An appeal was filed to the District Judge who upheld the order of the learned Munsif holding that the custody of the ornaments did not constitute a debt, for which a succession certificate could be granted. It is against this ordsr that the present revision has been filed.
3. The opposite parties in the case remained unrepresented throughout. The only question which requires determination in this case is, whether in a case of the present type where valuables are in possession of the district authorities a succession certificate could be granted and the valuables could be included within the meaning of the word 'debt' used in Section 370 of the Indian Succession Act.
4. Section 370(1) of the Indian Succession Act which places a restriction on the grant of certificates lays down as follows:--
'370(1). A succession certificate (hereinafter in this Part referred to as a certificate) shall not be granted under this Part with respect to any debt or security to which a right is required by Section 212 or Section 213 to be established by letters of administration or probate.
Provided that nothing contained in this Section shall be deemed to prevent the grant of a certificate to any person claiming to be entitled to the effects of a deceased Indian Christian or to any part thereof with respect to any debt or security, by reason that a right thereto can be established by letters of administration under this Act.'
5. The word 'security' has been defined in Sub-section (2) which has no application to the present case. The only question is whether this liability for the refund of the ornaments could constitute a debt within the meaning of Sub-section (1).
6. The word 'debt' has not been defined in the IndianSuccession Act. It has been given various meanings withreference to particular legislation where the definition ofdebt was required to be given, for example in our Debt Laws. But the word 'debt' as is ordinarily understood has been defined in the Law Lexicon as follows:--
'A sum of money due under an express or implied agreement; amount due or payable from one person to another in return for money, services, goods or other obligations.'
The author has further said that the word 'debt' is of a large import, including not only debts of record of judgment, and debts by speciality, but also obligations arising under simple contract, to a very wide extent, and in its popular sense includes all that is due to a man under any form of obligation or promise.' What is ordinarily understood by the word 'debt' is a liability owing from one person to another whether in cash or Kind, secured or unsecured, whether ascertained or ascertainable, arising out of any obligation, express or implied.
7. Having regard to the wide definition of the word debt given above it will appear that the refund of the ornaments, recovered from the person of the dead lady, became an obligation on the authorities to hand over the same or their value to the rightful claimant of the deceased. For such a liability an application for a succession certificate could be made in law and should not have been refused. The courts below in granting a certificate for the refund of the cash only and refusing to grant a succession certificate for the return of the valuables erred in putting a correct interpretation on the word 'debt' which has been used in Section 370 of the Indian Succession Act It was a fit case in which a succession certificate should have been granted. The order passed by the courts below must, therefore, be modified.
8. The revision is allowed. The case is remanded to the Munsif West, Allahabad, with the direction to readmit it and then grant a succession certificate to the present petitioner in respect of the valuables as well, as prayed. No order is made as to costs, as the other side is unrepresented.
9. Record of the case shall be sent back to the court below forthwith.