Henry Richards, C.J. and Pramada Charan Banerji, J.
1. This appeal arises out of a suit brought by the plaintiff for a declaration of his title to certain property. On the findings the only question which is open to consideration is whether or not Musammat Naulakhi Kunwar took an absolute estate under a deed of gift executed by one Dirgaj Singh. The court of first instance dismissed the plaintiff's suit. The lower appellate court held that on the true construction of the deed of gift, the lady took only a life-estate. Under the terms of the deed the lady is made absolute owner. The words used are 'malik mustaqil.' Their Lordships of the Privy Council held in the case of Surajmani v. Rati Nath Ojha (1) that the word 'malik' alone, unless there were something definite to the contrary in the surrounding circumstances to qualify the meaning of the expression, indicates an absolute estate. Here we have the word 'malik' followed by the word 'mustaqil' which even makes it stronger. The learned District Judge seems to have, treated Dirgaj Singh as if he had been a parda-nashin lady. He says that Dirgaj Singh may not have been aware of the meaning of the expression malik mustaqil. We cannot agree with this line of reasoning. The grant should be construed rather in favour of the grantee than of the grantor. Admittedly Dirgaj Singh had sufficient estate in him to enable him to make a full grant to the Musammat. There are absolutely no surrounding circumstances to indicate that the donor wished the lady to take mere life-estate. He does not say in the deed that she is to have it only for her life, nor does he even say that she is to have no power of alienation. We think that the learned District Judge was wrong in the view that he took of the construction of the deed of gift. The result is that we allow the appeal, set aside the decree of the lower appellate court and restore the decree of the court of first instance with costs in all courts.