1. This appeal arises out of a suit for a declaration that a Will alleged to have been executed by one Lallu Mal in favour of his wife Jasodha on the 29th of June 1903, as also a Will made by Musammat Jasodha on the 5th of May 1908, are void by reason of the fact among others that both Lallu Mal and Jasodha were under the age of 18 years at the date of the execution of the respective documents. It is admitted that both Lallu Mal and Musammat Jasodha were over the age of 16 but under the age of 18 years. The contention on behalf of the defend ant-respondent is that both being Hindus and having attained the age of 16 years were capable of disposing of their property by Will. The Court below held that Lallu Mal and Jasodha were competent to execute the Wills in question, and that having done so with full knowledge of their contents and being of full testamentary capacity the Wills were valid and the plaintiffs' suit failed. This appeal was then preferred, and the main contention on behalf of the appellants is that the question is concluded by the provisions of the Indian Majority Act, Act No. IX of 1875. The argument addressed to us on behalf of the respondent is that both Lallu Mal and Jasodha being upwards of 16 years, and so having attained full age, according to the Hindu Law they had power to make Wills; that the capacity to make a Will is not regulated by Statute and that the Hindu Law should be applied to the case.
2. We are of opinion that the question is concluded by the Indian Majority Act. That Act extends to the whole of British India and was intended to prolong the period of non-age in the case of Hindus as well as of other subjects of the Crown.
3. In the preamble it is stated that 'it is expedient to prolong the period of non-age and to attain more uniformity and certainty respecting the age of majority than now exists'. Section 2 is a saving clause and prescribes that nothing in the Act contained shall effect (a) the capacity of any person to act in the following matters, namely marriage, dower, divorce and adoption; (6) the religion or religious rights and usages of any class of Her Majesty's subjects in India; or (c) the capacity of any person who before this Act comes into force has attained majority under the law applicable to him. Then sections prolongs the non-age of a minor of whose person or property a guardian has been or shall be appointed up to 21st year; and in the case of every other person domiciled in British India., prescribes that every such other person 'shall be deemed to have attained his majority when he shall have completed his age of 18 years and not before'.
4. It appears to us that the enactment extended the period of non-age in the case of Lallu Mal and Jasodha to their 21st year respectively, as a guardian was appointed for each of them, and overrides any rule of law as regards non-age which may have subsisted prior thereto. It will be observed that in Section 2 (class A) the only exception made in regard to the application of the provision of the Act is in the cases of marriage, dower, divorce and adoption. The capacity to do any other act is not safe-guarded. The only their exception is the capacity of any person who before the Act came into force had attained majority under the law applicable to such person. In the present case Lallu Mal and Jasodha had not attained majority before Act IX of 1875 came into force. Therefore class (0) does not safeguard their capacity to make a Will. The Act was intended to attain uniformity and certainty respecting the age of majority and we think it governs a case such as the present.
5. For these reasons, the view taken by the learned Subordinate Judge is, in our judgment, erroneous. We accordingly allow the appeal, set aside the decree of the Court below and decree the plaintiff's claim with costs in both Courts including fees in this Court on the higher scale.