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Ram Jag Mistri S/O Sheo Harakh Mistri and ors. Vs. Director of Consolidation, U.P., Lucknow and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFamily;Property
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Misc. Writ No. 1106 of 1966
Judge
Reported inAIR1968All419
ActsHindu Succession Act, 1956 - Sections 14, 14(1) and 14(2)
AppellantRam Jag Mistri S/O Sheo Harakh Mistri and ors.
RespondentDirector of Consolidation, U.P., Lucknow and ors.
Appellant AdvocateG.P. Khare, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateR.B. Misra, ;U.K. Misra, ;R.N. Upadhaya and ;K.B. Gare, Advs.
DispositionPetition dismissed
Excerpt:
.....of section 14(2) - even after the commencement of the act - in case of interest of the property given to the female hindu by a decree or order of a civil court - female hindu has full ownership on such estate by operation of sub-section (1) - hindu widow given possession of land for maintenance under family arrangement before commencement of act by decree - hindu widow becomes full owner of such land under section 14 (1) - sub section (2) not applicable. - - 4. it was, however, alleged by means of a counter affidavit that the tenancy plots in question were heritable as well as transferable under the tenancy law of banaras state. phulbasi got possession over the plots in question as she (was) a widow of the family and clearly entitled to maintenance......expunged. sm. phulbasi also filed an objection claiming that she had become a bhumidhar of the two plots in question. the consolidation officer ordered that her name be expunged from the tenancy khata and that it should be entered only in the remarks column against these two plots as an occupant in lieu of maintenance. opposite party no. 4 went up in appeal before the settlement officer, consolidation, who look the view that the effect of the compromise was that the two plots in question stood transferred to her and that she was not a licencee therefor. he. therefore, ordered that the name of sm. phulbasi (opposite party no. 4) be recorded over the two plots as bhumidhar. the petitioners filed a revision application which was dismissed. the present writ petition is, therefore, directed.....
Judgment:
ORDER

S.D. Khare, J.

1.This is a petition under Article 226 of the Constitution of India and the prayer is that the orders of the Director of Consolidation (opposite party No. 1) passed on 16-2-1966 and of the Settlement Officer Consolidation (opposite party No. 2) passed on 31-5-1965 be quashed by the issue of a writ in the nature of certiorari.

2. This writ petition arises out of a proceeding under Section 9A (2) of the U. P. Consolidation of Holdings Act as amended upto date and the dispute relates to two occupancy tenancy plots of pre-zamindari abolition era, to wit, plots Nos 199 (10 biswas 9 dhurs) and 200 (10 biswas 10 dhurs) of village Chokia alias Udai-ka-Pura, Taluqa Chauthar, pargana Bhadohi, district Varanasi These two plots originally formed part of the occupancy holding of Sheo Harakh, who had three sons, namely. Ram Rup, Ram Jag (petitioner No. 1) and Ram Sundar. Petitioners Nos. 2 to 6 are the descendants of Ram Rup while Sm. Phulhasi (opposite party No. 4) is the widow of Ram Sundar, who died sometime in the year 1939 After the death of Ram Sundar there was some dispute between Sm. Phulbasi on the one hand and the collaterals of her husband on the other and Sm. Phulbasi had to institute a suit against them on the allegations that her husband Ram Sundar was separate from other members of his family at the time of his death However, a compromise was arrived at between the parties as a result of which the plaintiff i.e. Sm Phulbasi (opposite party No. 4) admitted the defendants' claim that Ram Sundar, her late husband, had died while he was still a member of the joint family along with the present petitioners and that the entire property was joint family property The defendants of that suit by means of that compromise recognised the right of Sm Phulbasi to remain in possession of the two plots, now in dispute, along with certain other property in lieu of maintenance, past and future. It was also provided that she shall have no right of transfer over the property which was being given to her in lieu of maintenance. The compromise decree was passed on 29-2-1944. It was also provided in the compromise that the possession of the plaintiff over the plots and other property which had been given to her duly recognised with effect from 1351 Fasli. During the years 1357 and 1358 Fasli the name of Sm. Phulbasi was recorded in the revenue papers as co-tenure-holder of the plots.

3. When the U.P. Consolidation of Holdings Act was enforced and consolidation operations were started in the village in question the name of the opposite party No. 4 appeared in Consolidation of Holdings Form No. 5 as a co-tenure-holder of the petitioners to the extent of one-third share in khata No. 55. The petitioner filed an objection that the entry, regarding her being a co-tenure-holder be expunged. Sm. Phulbasi also filed an objection claiming that she had become a bhumidhar of the two plots in question. The Consolidation Officer ordered that her name be expunged from the tenancy khata and that it should be entered only in the remarks column against these two plots as an occupant in lieu of maintenance. Opposite party No. 4 went up in appeal before the Settlement Officer, Consolidation, who look the view that the effect of the compromise was that the two plots in question stood transferred to her and that she was not a licencee therefor. He. therefore, ordered that the name of Sm. Phulbasi (opposite party No. 4) be recorded over the two plots as bhumidhar. The petitioners filed a revision application which was dismissed. The present writ petition is, therefore, directed against the orders passed by the Settlement Officer, Consolidation, in appeal and the Director of Consolidation in revision.

4. It is contended that the compromise arrived at between the parties in the year 1944 has not been properly interpreted and the opposite party No 4 being a widow in the joint family, had no interest in the family property and that the was in possession of the two plots in question merely in lieu of maintenance by virtue of the compromise decree of 1944. On the basis of these assertions it is alleged that there is an error of law apparent on the face of the record which should be corrected by means of a writ in the nature of certiorari.

5. Most of the facts mentioned in the writ petition and narrated above were not disputed by opposite party No. 4. It was, however, alleged by means of a counter affidavit that the tenancy plots in question were heritable as well as transferable under the Tenancy Law of Banaras State. That position is not disputed on behalf of the petitioners so far as the khata of which the two plots in question form part is concerned. Another averment made in the counter affidavit was that Sm. Phulbasi could, by virtue of the provisions of the Hindu Women's Rights to Property Act, 18 of 1937, lay claim to her deceased husband's property and the contention of the petitioners that she was entitled only to maintenance allowance was without any force.

6. This contention in the counter affidavit is, however, of no avail because the Hindu Women's Rights to Property Act (Act 18 of 1937) was extended to Banaras State by means of Notification No. 780/ XVII-3-3/1940-41 dated 27-11-1941, published in the Banaras State Gazette dated 10-12-1941. Ram Sundar died sometime in the year 1939 and by that time the Hindu Women's Rights to Property Act, 18 of 1937, was not enforced in Banaras State.

7. Learned counsel for the petitioner has contended that there is an error of law apparent on the face of the record because under the terms of the compromise it was specifically provided that

(1) the two plots in question were being given to Sm. Phulbasi in lieu of her right of maintenance, and

(2) she could not transfer these plots during her lifetime.

It is contended that the opposite party No. 4 having been given some property by means of a family arrangement could not claim that the property had been transferred to her under the compromise decree and, therefore, the line of argument adopted by the consolidation courts was wrong.

8. The khata of which the two plots in question formed part was an occupancy holding. It is not disputed that in the Banaras State the land of occupancy holding was both heritable and transferable. With the enforcement of the U.P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, 1951, as applied to Banaras State the khata-holders of the disputed khata, of which the two plots in question formed part, were to became bhumidhars of the land (vide Section 18 of the U.P. Zamindari Abolition and Land Reforms Act, 1951).

9. The main question for consideration is whether the consolidation courts were justified in arriving at the finding that Sm. Phulbasi (opposite party No. 4) could be treated as a joint khata-holder and bhumidhar of the plots in question.

10. Section 14 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, provides as follows:--

'14(1) Any property possessed by a female Hindu, whether acquired before or after the commencement of this Act, shall be held by her as full owner thereof and not as a limited owner.

Explanation -- In this sub-section 'property' includes both movable and immovable property acquired by a female Hindu by inheritance or devise, or at a partition, or in lieu of maintenance or arrears of maintenance, or by gift from any person whether a relative or not, before at, or after her marriage, or by her own skill, or exertion, or by purchase or by prescription, or in any other manner whatsoever, and also any such property held by her as Stridhan immediately before the commencement of this Act.

(2) Nothing contained in Sub-section (1) shall apply to any property acquired by way of gift or under a will or any other instrument or under a decree or order of a civil court or under an award where the terms of the gift, will or other instrument or decree, order or award prescribed a restricted estate in such property.'

The section applies to all 'property' including agricultural lands as was held in the case of Shakuntala Devi v. Beni Madhav, AIR 1964 All 165 and Amar Singh v. Baldev Singh, AIR 1960 Punj 666.

11. All the requirements of Sub-section (1) of Section 14 were, therefore, fulfilled as according to the compromise decree and also the averments made in the petition Sm. Phulbasi, opposite party No. 4, had remained in possession of the plots in question in lieu of maintenance allowance. She must, therefore, be regarded to be the bhumidhar of the plots and not merely a limited owner as she must have been considered prior to the passing of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956.

12. The learned counsel for the petitioner has placed reliance on Sub-section (2) of Section 14 and has contended that inasmuch as the rights of the parties in regard to the property in question had been determined by means of a decree of the court the provisions of Sub-section (1) of Section 14 shall not apply.

13. In my opinion there is no force in this argument. Sm. Phulbasi got possession over the plots in question as she (was) a widow of the family and clearly entitled to maintenance. The decree merely confirmed the family arrangement. She got the property in lieu of maintenance under a family arrangement. She did not acquire the property in question under a decree or order of the civil court.

14. The object of Sub-section (2) of Section 14 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, is to confine the language of Sub-section (1) to its own subject and to stress its co-existence with sets of provisions in other enactments, such, for instance, as the Transfer of Property Act and the Indian Succession Act which may be applicable to Hindus. Its object is also to make it abundantly clear that a restricted estate can even after the commencement of the Hindu Succession Act 1856 come into existence in case of interest in property given to a female Hindu, by operation of transactions inter vivas, by testamentary disposition, by decree of order of a civil court or under an award. It also makes it clear that any such restricted estate created prior to the commencement of the Act will not be enlarged into full ownership by operation of Sub-section (1) if the gift, will, other instrument, decree, order or award had prescribed a restricted estate. However, in the present case we are concerned with a family arrangement under which certain property was ear-marked for Sm. Phulbasi, in lieu of her maintenance allowance, past and future. It is nowhere mentioned in the compromise decree that after the death of Sm. Phulbasi the plots in question will revert to the collateral of her husband. All that was mentioned therein was that during lifetime she will have no right to make any transfer of the property. It may be that in case Sm. Phulbasi had died prior to the commencement of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, the plots in question might have gone bock to the next reversioners of her husband. However, the effect of the passing of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, is that she becomes a full owner (bhumidhar) of the plots in question.

15. The consolidation courts have considered this matter from a slightly different angle holding that the two plots in question stood transferred to Sm. Phulbasi under the compromise decree and that she was not a licencee therefor. They did not consider the effect of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. They, however, arrived at the correct conclusion.

16. No case for interference is made out as there does not appear to be any error of law, much less an error of law apparent on the face of the record.

17. The writ petition is dismissed with costs to the contesting respondents.


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