Oldfield and Tyreell, JJ.
1. This suit has been brought be set aside a gift of certain property made by one Rani Bai, defendant, in favour of the co-defendants, her nephews. The property belonged to Gur Bakhsh; from him it passed to his son Kuar Chand, and at his death his heir was his widow Musammat Anandi. He left also a daughter, the plaintiff, and her sons, also plaintiffs. They sue as reversioners to set aside the gift.
2. It appears that on Kuar Chand's death, his mother, Rani Bai, and his widow Anandi, disputed as to the property, and the dispute was referred to arbitration. An award was made, by which the property left was divided between Rani Bai and Anandi. This was in 1868, and a decision given on the award, and the property, the subject of the gift, was part of what came to Rani Bai. The plaintiffs assert that Rani Bai had no power to give the property, having only a life-interest under Hindu law.
3. The parties are Sadhs, and the defence is that Hindu law does not govern the succession to the estate of Kuar Chand; that Musammat Rani got the property absolutely in 1868, and has held adversely to the heirs and reversioners; that the plaintiff's are remote reversioners and have no right of suit, and have no right as reversioners to Rani Bai, so as to be able to contest her acts.
4. These were the substantial defences which were set up, and were disallowed by the Courts below which decreed the claim, and the defendants in second appeal have raised the same contentions.
5. We do not consider any of them to be valid. Presumably the Hindu law of inheritance is applicable to the parties, and the defendants have not shown that any custom among the Sadhs, having the force of law, prevails opposed to Hindu law. Under Hindu law, on the death of Kuar Chand, Musammat Anandi Bai would succeed to a life-interest as his widow; but a dispute arose between her and her mother-in-law, Rani Bai, and the property was divided by award of arbitrators. It does not appear that either Rani Bai or Anandi claimed to take the property absolutely, but only disputed as to who was to have a life-interest in it; and it was the latter that was the subject of dispute and of the arbitration. Rani Bai was, under any circumstances, entitled to maintenance, and the decision come to was to put her in possession of half the property, but only on the footing of a woman's interest for life; and this being so--and it is the view taken by the Courts below of the arbitration award--we are of opinion that the defendants cannot set up any title by adverse possession on Rani Bai's part to defeat the claim of reversioners.
6. There remains the question whether the plaintiffs can maintain this suit. We think they can as reversioners to Anandi Bai. The arbitration award only settled a dispute between Anandi and Rani Bai, and it gave Rani Bai no higher title than Anandi Bai could bestow; that is, an interest in the property rightfully belonging to Anandi, so long as Anandi lived, but no longer. So far as reversioners are concerned, Rani Bai's act is the act of Anandi; and the plaintiffs, as reversioners to Anandi, can sue to set it aside. The gift is the act of one whom Anandi has put in a position to deal with the property, and who has dealt with it injuriously to plaintiffs' reversionary interests.
7. The decree of the Courts below is in effect to render the gift operative so long as Rani Bai lives; but in the view we take of the case, the decree will be made for a declaration that the gift shall not affect any rights of the plaintiffs as reversioners after the death of Anandi Bai. We dismiss the appeal with costs.