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Smt. Nawab Shahrukh Jahan Begam Vs. Saiyed Enayat HusaIn Khan and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectTrusts and Societies
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 254 of 1970
Judge
Reported inAIR1975All452
ActsSpecific Relief Act, 1963 - Sections 34; Mohamedan Law
AppellantSmt. Nawab Shahrukh Jahan Begam
RespondentSaiyed Enayat HusaIn Khan and ors.
Appellant AdvocateS.C. Mathur, Adv.
Respondent AdvocatePradeep Kant, Adv. holding brief for D.N. Srivastava, Adv.
DispositionAppeal allowed
Excerpt:
.....- realization from income of property which could be attached - a beneficiary had right to income - mutwalli admitted plaintiff's claim - claimed that no substantial increase to justify increase in rate of maintenance - court held that plaintiff entitled to enhanced maintenance. - - 11.26 paise per mensem as well as for fixation of this amount. 1. he admitted the creation of waqf as well as right of the plaintiff to claim maintenance. on the issue of non-joinder, the trial court held that since the suit was filed against mutwalli who was to carry out the directions of the waqif and since plaintiff had a right to get maintenance the suit could not be said to be bad for non-joinder of necessary parties on issue no. the plaintiff went up in appeal, but remained unsuccessful...........out of the income of the property about which waqf-alal-aulad was created. the income of the waqf property at that time was rs. 100 per mensem. plaintiff's mother died in 1953 leaving three sons and three daughters including the plaintiff. the plaintiff's share in the 'guzara' or maintenance of her mother came tore. 1.11 paise. now the income of the property about which the first waqf was created has gone up to rs. 745 per mensem while income of the property about which second waqf was created yielded rs. 300 per mensem. the description of the properties given in the waqf deeds was mentioned in schedule 'a' attached with the plaint. the allegations of the plaintiff were that expenses of living condition having increased the plaintiffs share of guzara was not only insignificant tout.....
Judgment:

S.K. Kaul, J.

1. This is a plaintiff's appeal and it arises out of a suit brought by her for declaration that she is entitled to receive her maintenance at the rate of Rs. 11.26 paise per mensem as well as for fixation of this amount. The allegations of the plaintiff were that Waqf-Alal-aulad was created by Nawab Saiyed Vilayat Husain Khan in this way that he executed a first deed of waqf on 20-4-1919 and subsequently he executed another deed on 30-1-1924. Under the terms of those deeds plaintiff's mother was granted maintenance at the rate of Rs. 10 per mensem out of the income of the property about which Waqf-Alal-aulad was created. The income of the Waqf property at that time was Rs. 100 per mensem. Plaintiff's mother died in 1953 leaving three sons and three daughters including the plaintiff. The plaintiff's share in the 'Guzara' or maintenance of her mother came toRe. 1.11 paise. Now the income of the property about which the first Waqf was created has gone up to Rs. 745 per mensem while income of the property about which second Waqf was created yielded Rs. 300 per mensem. The description of the properties given in the Waqf deeds was mentioned in Schedule 'A' attached with the plaint. The allegations of the plaintiff were that expenses of living condition having increased the plaintiffs share of Guzara was not only insignificant tout looking to the increase of the income of the property it was expedient in the interests of justice that her Guzara be increased to Rs. 11.26 paise per mensem in view of the proportionate increase in the income of the Waqf property. On these grounds declaration was sought for. The suit was contested on behalf of defendant No. 1. He admitted the creation of Waqf as well as right of the plaintiff to claim maintenance. He, however, alleged that although there has been an increase in the rental income, but taxes and expenses also have gone up proportionately with the result that there was no substantial increase in the income so as to justify increase in the rate of maintenance. It was also urged that the maintenance amount was fixed in the Waqf deed and it could not be altered one way or the other. It was also alleged that the court fees paid was insufficient, that relief for declaration alone should not be given, and that Waqf Board was a necessary party to the suit.

2. The trial court decided issue No. 1 on 12-8-1966 and plaintiff complied with the order of the court by paying appropriate court-fees. On the issue of non-joinder, the trial court held that since the suit was filed against Mutwalli who was to carry out the directions of the waqif and since plaintiff had a right to get maintenance the suit could not be said to be bad for non-joinder of necessary parties On Issue No. 2, however, the trial Court held that since the amount was fixed in the Waqf deed it could not be altered. The trial court did not go into the question as to what alterations could be made in case if it be held that this fixed amount could be altered in view of the increase in the income of the Waqf property. As a result of his finding on Issue No. 2 the suit was thrown out. The plaintiff went up in appeal, but remained unsuccessful. She has now come up in second appeal to this Court.

3. Learned counsel for the appellant urged before me that since income of the property had increased the amount of maintenance should be increased by the Court Learned counsel for the respondent urged that the amount could not be enhanced and in any case relief for declaration alone could not be allowed.

4. I shall take up the second point first raised from the side of the respondents. Since this suit was filed after the enforcement of the New Specific Relief Act of 1963, Section 34 is relevant for our purposes. It reads thus:

'34. Any person entitled to any legal character, or to any right as to any property, may institute a suit against any person denying, or interested to deny, his title to such character or right, and the court may in its discretion make therein a declaration that he is so entitled and the plaintiff need not in such suit ask for any further relief:

Provided that no court shall make any such declaration where the plaintiff, being able to seek further relief than a mere declaration of title, omits to do so.

Explanation.-- A trustee of property is a person interested to deny a title adverse to the title of some one who is not in existence, and for whom, if in existence, he would be a trustee.'

Learned counsel for the respondents urged in view of the decision of this court reported in Mahabir Jute Mills v. Firm Kedar Nath Ram Bharose : AIR1960All254 that a suit for declaration of pecuniary liability was not maintainable. That case evidently cannot be made applicable to the facts of this case for the simple reason that there was some contract between the parties. The defendant informed the plaintiff that he was not willing to furnish security and that whether the contract was to be treated as cancelled. Plaintiff informed him that the contract stood cancelled. Thereafter, defendant threatened to file a suit against the plaintiff for recovery of damages for breach of contract. The plaintiff as a counter-blast filed that suit praying that a declaration be made that no transaction about the purchase and sale of certain bales at certain rate took place and that no contract at certain other rate subsisted. In that connection A P. Srivastava, J. after noting-Section 42 of the Old Specific Relief Act observed at p. 893 (of All LJ) : (at p. 255 of AIR) that :

'The principle which emerges from their decisions is that Section 42 of the Specific Relief Act does not contemplate declarations about the pecuniary liability of persons as the same cannot be considered to be declarations about their legal character or any right to property.'

In this case before me declaration is sought about maintenance which is a charge on the property in the hands of the Mutwalli. The Waqf itself mentioned that in case the amount is not paid it could be realised and this realisation could be done from the income of the property which could be attached in such a suit. In this context the plaintiff had aright to the income which, being a charge on the property itself, is tantamount to a right in the property itself, inasmuch as she could not get money decree as a personal liability from the Mutwalli himself. After all the Mutwalli could have filed a suit for declaration of his right to accelerated rate of expenses or remuneration fixed in the waqf deed. In fact the beneficiaries could have themselves filed a suit for the reduction of this amount on the plea that the income of the property had gone down to such an extent that if remuneration of the Mutwalli as fixed in the waqf deed, was paid nothing would be left for payment to the beneficiaries. In such an event the only relief that could have been asked for was a relief of declaration because that would have been a declaration in respect of a right to the property. That being so, the present suit also is in the nature of declaration of a right to the property and unless the plaintiff asks for such a declaration which can be given to her only by a court of law, she cannot claim enhanced maintenance. In such a case it was not necessary for her to claim enhanced maintenance also because that would not be a consequential relief so much so that without asking for such a relief the relief of declaration would become meaningless. It is a distinct relief which may or may not be claimed. That being so, the present suit or declaration, in my view lies.

5. I now take up the other point involved in this appeal. I am really surprised that the two courts below tried to distinguish a ruling reported in Badrul Nissa v. Muzaffar Husain (1937 Oudh WN 429) as well as certain observations of the authors on the subject of Mahomedan Law. They have not been able to appreciate the ground of reasoning either in those text books or in the rulings which were quoted by them. It is true that in the waqf deeds the remuneration of the Mutwalli was a fixed amount and so was the maintenance allowance, but the intention of the waqf in creating the waqf was for upkeep of his issue. It was created for their benefit so that they may be kept out of the income of the waqf property. That being so, if the amount which was fixed at a time when expenses were exceedingly small can it be argued that when expenses have gone up these days and income has also gone up the beneficiaries should be asked to take that insignificant amount which would be totally insufficient for their upkeep, A sum of Rs. 10 per mensem that sounded a good figure in 1924 obviously sounds a ridiculous amount these days especially when income from the property, as was mentioned in the written statement, has gone up. It was not the intention of the waqif that insignificant amount should be continued to be paid to the issues for whose benefit the waqf was created and the balance may remain in the hands of the Mutwalli to be applied at his leisure for such objects as charity which was only as a last resort. The primary intention of the Waqif was while fixing a reasonable amount to see that income of the property was so distributed that only a small fraction was left for charitable objects like Fataha etc. In this background we have to consider the text books of the various distinguished authors on the subject of Mahomedan Law apart from ruling in 1937 Oudh WN 429 (supra). In this ruling Zia-UL-Hasan, J. observed at page 431:

'The other objection taken to the decree of the lower appellate Court is on the ground that no reduction should have been made in the plaintiff's allowances owing to a decrease in the total income of the waqf property. This is to my mind a totally unreasonable attitude on the part of the plaintiffs. It is not disputed that the income of the Zamindari property has gone down and if each of the beneficiaries should insist on getting the full allowance fixed for him by the waqf, it would lead to an impossible situation.

...... The mutwalli has of course nopower to increase or decrease the allowance of a beneficiary at his own sweet will and this is what was held in that case, but the same could be reduced by the court.'

That was a case in which the Mutwalli had asked for reduction of the amount that was fixed in the waqf deed to be paid to the beneficiaries on the ground that since income had gone down if reduction was not allowed an impossible situation would be created. I fail to understand why the same proposition vice versa should not be made applicable, namely, when the income has gone up the beneficiary can ask the Mutwalli to increase the allowance payable to him on the grounds firstly, that the amount so fixed in that particular period was considered sufficient to make both ends meet, but such an amount in these days of dear-ness would not be sufficient for the purposes for which the waqf was created. The second ground would of course be that since income from the property, has proportionately increased it was incumbent upon the Mutwalli to pay an increased rate of maintenance.

5-A. Mulla's Principles of Mahomedan Law. Seventh Edition, para. 211 at page 214 reads thus:

'If the amount fixed by the founder is too small, the Court may increase the allowance, but it must not exceed the limit of one-tenth.'

No doubt, this was with respect to remuneration of a Mutwalli but the principleremains the same, namely, that such a reduction or increase can be made by the court looking to the exigencies of the case Faiz B. Tyabji in Muhammadan Law, Third Edition, at page 628, where he discussed quantum or remuneration, observed that the remuneration of a Mutwalli who has no beneficial interest in the waqf property ought not ordinarily to exceed 1/10th of the income, unless after the religious and/or charitable objects of the waqf are duly maintained, there is a sufficient surplus left, and on a consideration of the nature of the waqf the court is of opinion that a higher remuneration would be just and proper. This goes to show that the Court could under certain circumstances increase the remuneration of the Mutwalli. Syed Ameer Ali in his book Mahommedan Law, Volume I, observes at page 469 that:

'Of course, the wakif can fix any amount, and even if it be more than one-tenth it would be valid; but if he fixes too low a sum, the Kazi has the power upon the application of the Mutwalli to fix a proper salary.'

The Mutwalli has no power to increase the allowance of the imam or khatib. The Kazi has the power to increase the allowance provided in his discretion it is necessary to do so for the benefit of the mosque, or when it is impossible to obtain ,a proper man to discharge the duties on account of the low salary fixed by the wakif. And this principle applies to the appointment of every servant, e.g., a muezzin, mudarris (teacher), and c. If these men cannot the had on the salaries fixed by the wakif, the Judge has the power of increasing their salaries from the balance of the fund. The Kazi has also the power of making provisions regarding the application of the balance of the income, in consultation with the members of the wakif's family or the beneficiaries.'

It is, therefore, clear that where an increment or reduction is called for in such cases, which are merely illustrative, the court has ample power to do so provided exigencies of the case demand. If, therefore beneficiary's allowance could be reduced on a suit by Mutwalli as was held in the Oudh case above with which I am in respectful agreement. I do not see why on the same principle beneficiary's allowance should not be increased on a suit filed by him as against the Mutwalli on the grounds noted aibove.

6. In the case of Abdul Wahab v. Sughra Begam : AIR1932All248 no doubt it was observed by a Bench of this Court that if the pay or pension of servants was made a valid object of the waqf, and the waqif has subsequently fixed, in the circumstances mentioned, the amounts to be paid to specified servants, it is not open to a subsequent mutwalli to reduce the amounts. But, this observation was made in respect of a case where Mutwalli on his own without taking recourse to a court of law had tried to reduce the amount. This Bench ruling does not take note of cases where such an amount could be reduced by the court on valid grounds. This ruling would therefore, not help the respondents. I would, therefore, decide this point in this way that suit for enhancement of amount can be filed by the plaintiff.

7. The question now arises what amount should be fixed now in view of the increased income of the waqf property which should be declared to be payable to the plaintiff, but here I find that the two courts below are completely silent on the subject. It is surprising why the trial court failed to give a finding on this aspect although in the issue the question of the amount to which the plaintiff was so entitled was involved. It has been observed in a number of cases ,by this Court that it is the duty of the trial courts to give finding on all the points involved irrespective of the effect of one finding on the suit. The reason was obvious because if subsequently that finding is upset then this Court has no option but to remand the case for decision on the point involved and that becomes a hardship on the parties who have been litigating for such a length of time. Had such a finding been given the case could have been straightway disposed of.

8. The learned Civil and Sessions Judge also failed to take note of this fact, with the result that I have no option but to remand the case to the trial court for this limited purpose alone namely to find out what is the income of the property in the hands of the Mutwalli and in view of the increased income what maintenance should be paid to the plaintiff looking to her share.

9. Parties have given evidence and the trial court should give a finding and thereafter it will be open to the parties, if they so choose, to file a proper appeal only against that limited question.

10. I would, therefore, allow the appeal, set aside the judgment and decree of the two courts below and remand the case to the trial court on the limited question involved.

11. Costs of this appeal shall abidethe ultimate result.


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