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Sukhram and anr. Vs. Udai Ram - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFamily
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Judge
Reported in3Ind.Cas.85
AppellantSukhram and anr.
RespondentUdai Ram
Excerpt:
hindu law - widow--alienation--family arrangement--consent of the next reversioners--absolute estate pauses. - - ' the only reasonable view that i can take of the whole thing is that the reversioners on their part, contented themselves with getting on absolute title in a portion of the property instead, of only a possible right to the whole, while the widow on the other hand was satisfied with securing for her daughter an absolute and an inheritable right in a portion of the property. musammat kishna was in possession of the property of her husband as a hindu widow, and she could without any consent of the nephews of her husband transfer her limited interest to any one she liked......suit, and her husband udai ram took possession of the property transferred to her by her mother kishna, musammat kishna. died in marek 1907. sukh ram son of parshadi lal, and hiraman son of dhani ram, as reversioners; of bhagirath brought the suit under appeal on the 13th of march 1908 for the possession of the property transferred by musammat kishna to musammat naraini. the suit was resisted' by udai ram on the ground that the sale to musammat naraini was the sale of the property and not only of a life estate therein, that it was done as a family arrangement with the consent of the plaintiffs, and that the plaintiffs were estopped by the provisions of section' 115 of the indian evidence act from disputing the validity of it. the court of first instance decreed the claim. the.....
Judgment:

Karamat Husain, J.

1. Though no pedigree showing the relation of the parties is given anywhere, yet it seems that Bhagirath, Parshadi Lal and Dhani Ram wore brothers, that Musammat Kishna was the widow of Bhagirath, and that Musammat Naraini was Kishna's daughter. Sita Ram and Sukh Ram are the sons of Parshadi Lal, and Duli Chand and Hiraman are the sons of Dhani Ram. Bhagirath was the owner of certain property, a portion of which is now in dispute. On his death his widow, Musammat Kishna, took possession of all his property. On the 9th of November 1891 Musammat Kishna executed sale-doeds of the portions of the property which she had got from her husband : one' in favour of her daughter, Musammat Naraini another in favour of Sita Ram and Sukh Ram sons of Parshadi Lal, and the thrift in favour of Duli Chand and Hiraman, sons of Dhani Ram. Musammat Naraini died 10 or 11 years before the institution of this suit, and her husband Udai Ram took possession of the property transferred to her by her mother Kishna, Musammat Kishna. died in Marek 1907. Sukh Ram son of Parshadi Lal, and Hiraman son of Dhani Ram, as reversioners; of Bhagirath brought the suit under appeal on the 13th of March 1908 for the possession of the property transferred by Musammat Kishna to Musammat Naraini. The suit was resisted' by Udai Ram on the ground that the sale to Musammat Naraini was the sale of the property and not only of a life estate therein, that it was done as a family arrangement with the consent of the plaintiffs, and that the plaintiffs were estopped by the provisions of section' 115 of the Indian Evidence Act from disputing the validity of it. The Court of first instance decreed the claim. The defendant appealed to the lower appellate Court, and one of the pleas raised in the memorandum of appeal to that Court was to the effect that the transfer was made with the consent of the plaintiffs and other reversioner as a family arrangement and that it was, therefore, valid. The lower appellate Court reversed the decree of the first Court and dismissed the plaintiffs claim. The plaintiffs have preferred a second appeal to this Court. Four pleas are, taken' in the memorandum of appeal. The first is' that the transfers were not in the nature of a family arrangement in settlement of any doubtful claim. The second is that Musammat, Kishna could not and did not transfer any thing beyond her own life-interest. The third : is that the lower appellate Court is in error in inferring that all possible reversioners, then in existence, consented to the said sale-deeds. The fourth is that the plaintiffs' acquiescence in the sale to Musammat Naraini does not prevent them from claiming the property as reversioners to the last male owner on the death of Naraini's mother. Before dealing with the above pleas I make the following extracts from the judgment of the lower appellate Court: 'The fact that the eldest and the only literate of the reversioners (Sita Ram) had attested the 'sale-deed in Naraini's favour as a witness strongly supports the conclusion that all the, reversioners had given their consent to that arrangement. It is absurd to say that the plaintiffs had declined to attest the sale-deed in Naraini Kuar's favour and yet Kishna Kuar had given the substantial portion of her husband's property. The fact that the three sale-deeds were executed simultaneously and that the plaintiffs have been in possession of properties allotted to them from the very date of the sale convinces me beyond all doubts that the plaintiffs and indeed all the other reversioners, had agreed to the arrangement.' 'The above statement coupled with the plaintiffs' statement that they had raised up a dispute as soon as the widow had shown her intention to dispose of her property to her daughter can leave no doubt in one's mind that there was a dispute among them and that it was amicably settled by them by the execution of the said deeds.' 'The only reasonable view that I can take of the whole thing is that the reversioners on their part, contented themselves with getting on absolute title in a portion of the property instead, of only a possible right to the whole, while the widow on the other hand was satisfied with securing for her daughter an absolute and an inheritable right in a portion of the property.' The above quotations from the judgment of the lower appellate Court coupled with the fact that Musammat Kishna executed the three sale-deeds one in favour of her daughter and other two in favour of the plaintiffs and their brothers and cousins on one and the same date leave no doubt in my mind that the transfers of the property made by Musammat Kishna were an outcome of a family arrangement. It being a family arrangement it is not necessary that it should have been effected in settlement of a doubtful claim. In Stapilton v. Stapilton (1739) I Atk. Ch. 2 it was laid down that an agreement entered into upon a supposition of a right or of a doubtful right, though it afterwards comes out that the right was on the other side, shall be binding and the right shall not prevail against the agreement of the parties; for the right must always be on one side or the other; and, therefore, the compromise of a doubtful right is a sufficient foundation of an agreement. Where agreements are entered into to save the honour of a family, and are reasonable ones, a Court of Equity will, if possible, decree a performance of them. See White and Tudor's Equity Cases Vol. I, p. 223, But in a later case Williams v. Williams (1867) L.R. 2 C.A. p. 294 it was laid down that a family arrangement may be upheld although there were no rights actually in dispute at the time of making it as the Courts will not be disposed to scan with. much nicety the quantum of the consideration. Lord Chelmsford, L.C. observed. that it is a mistake to suppose that the doctrine of family arrangement extends no further than arrangement for the settlement of a doubtful or disputed right and proceeded to hold that the principle is applicable not merely to cases in which arrangements are made between members of a family for the preservation of peace, but also to cases in which arrangements are made between them for the preservation of its property. The case of Wiliams v. Williams (1867) L.R. 2 C.A. p. 294 was referred to in Helan Dasi v. Durga Das Mundal (8).; Following Williams v. Williams (1867) L.R. 2 C.A. p. 294 and Helan Dasi v. Durga Das Mundal 4 C.L.J. 323; I hold that the family arrangements effected by the 3 sale-deeds executed by Musammat Kishna, oven if they were not effected, in settlement of a doubtful or disputed right, are still valid and binding. The first plea, therefore, fails. As to the 2nd plea, I am of opinion, that Musammat Kishna by the 3 sale-deeds executed in consequence of the family arrangement could and did transfer the absolute ownership of the property covered by the sale-deed in favour of Musammat Naraini. Upon a right interpretation to be put upon that sale-deed, Musammat Kishna, with the consent of all the possible re-versioners then in existence, did transfer the absolute ownership to Musammat Naraini. Musammat Kishna was in possession of the property of her husband as a Hindu widow, and she could without any consent of the nephews of her husband transfer her limited interest to any one she liked. The fact that the nephews of her husband gave their consent to the transfer now in dispute and that she transferred to them also some portions of the property to which they were entitled during the--life-time of Musammat Kishna and Musammat Naraini leads me to the irresistible inference that the sale to Musammat Naraini was of absolute ownership of the property. The principle laid down by their Lordships of the Privy Council in Bojrangi Singh v. Manokarnika Bakhsh Singh 30 A. 1 : 3 M.L.T. 1 : 12 C.W.N. 74 : 9 Bom. L.R. 1348 : 6 C.L.J. 766 5 A.L.J. 1 in my opinion governs. the present-case so far as the transfer of absolute ownership is concerned. The second plea in the memorandum of appeal, therefore, fails.

2. The conclusion arrived at by the lower appellate Court that all the possible reversioners then in existence consented to the sale in favour of Musammat Nuraini is the right and reasonable conclusion. The third ground of appeal is, therefore, untenable. The plaintiffs with reference to the finding of fact arrived at by the lower appellate Court are debarred from claiming the property transferred to Musammat Naraini as the reversioners of Bhagirath on the death of Musammat Kishna. This disposes of the fourth, plea in the memorandum of appeal.

3. The result is that the appeal fails and is dismissed with costs, including in this Court fees on the higher' scale.


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