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Munni Lal Vs. Mt. Phula and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Reported inAIR1927All679; 103Ind.Cas.322
AppellantMunni Lal
RespondentMt. Phula and ors.
Excerpt:
- - 2. we are not satisfied that the finding of the learned subordinate judge as regards the oral will should be accepted. we must, therefore, reject this oral evidence entirely and hold that the plaintiff has failed to prove that there was any such will. we may note that the plaintiff herself who would have been the best witness in the case, has not chosen to go into the witness-box......vakil for the appellants that if the widow got the property on partition 'she would have a hindu widow's estate which would go to the line of her husband on her death. this view is confirmed by a judgment of their lordships of the privy council in debi mangal prasad singh v. mahadeo prasad singh [1912] 34 all. 234. on the finding that the widow got the property on private partition, the appeal must stand dismissed.7. we may, however, mention that the argument of the learned vakil for the appellants that in case she had obtained this property in lieu of maintenance, there would be a limited estate with a vested remainder cannot be accepted. as observed by their lordships of the privy council in the case referred to above, a mother at the time of the partition has no share as a.....
Judgment:

1. This is a defendant's appeal arising out of a suit for recovery of possession of property by avoidance of at mortgage-deed executed by the plaintiff's sons and a decree passed thereon and the consequent purchase followed by mutation of names in favour of the mortgagee. The plaintiff's case as set forth in the plaint was that the original owner of this property was Paras Ram, who under an oral will had bequeathed a one third share in the estate to his wife, Mt. Phula; that her name has remained entered as heir; that subsequently there was a private partition between the sons in 1905 under which she got her property separated; that this has been followed by partition proceedings in the revenue Court under which a separate mahal was constituted; that in spite of all these facts the defendant 1 took a mortgage from her sons, Udai Ram and Ram Chander, of the plaintiff's share,which was in no way binding on her. The contesting defendant denied that there was any bequest in favour of the widow or that she had got any property on partition. He pleaded that her name was entered in the revenue papers for the sake of her consolation and she had no proprietary interest. The learned Subordinate Judge has come to the conclusion that the will set up by the plaintiff was proved and she entered into possession under the directions of her deceased husband. He has further held that there was a private partition between the said sons at which she got a definite share, and lastly he held that the revenue Court proceedings were a bar to the defence. He has decreed the plaintiff's claim for proprietary possession of the property.

2. We are not satisfied that the finding of the learned Subordinate Judge as regards the oral will should be accepted. It is said that five or six days before his death, Paras Ram had made an oral will directing that his two sons and his widow should have equal shares in his estate. The only evidence in support of it is the statement of a witness, Dip Chand, who is a servant of the plaintiff and gets about Rs. 80 a year from the plaintiff's family. He is also a sarbarahkar of the plaintiff and makes collections on her behalf and it looks likely that he is the pairokar in this case. The solitary statement of this witness cannot be accepted, especially as, according to his own statement, he must have been only about 14 years of age when this oral will was made. It is impossible to believe that he would recollect all the particulars after such a long time. No mention of any oral will as apparently made in the partition proceedings in 1905 and 1909; and we cannot find any trace of any assertion of it earlier than this litigation. We must, therefore, reject this oral evidence entirely and hold that the plaintiff has failed to prove that there was any such will. We may note that the plaintiff herself who would have been the best witness in the case, has not chosen to go into the witness-box.

3. Even if the will set up by the plaintiff were to be accepted, it would obviously be invalid, inasmuch as it is not disputed that the property was a joint family property and at the time when he is said to have made the will, his two sons were minors. He, therefore, had no power to make a will with regard to such joint property when there were minors.

4. It is also clear that the statement of the plaintiff's witness even when put at its highest, does not amount to giving to the widow an absolute estate.

5. On the other hand the finding of the learned Subordinate Judge that there was a partition among the sons and that the widow got a share of her own, must be accepted, This finding is not based on the oral testimony of two witnesses, Dip Chand and Bhup Singh, but is corroborated by plenty of documentary evidence. The name of the lady has continued in the revenue papers for a long time and her assertion of a separate proprietary interest in the property over which her name is recorded, has been accepted twice by the revenue Court. In 1907, when an application for partition by another person was made, she also applied that her share should be separated. Udai Ram, one of the sons, objected on the ground that she had no proprietary interest in the property at all. The revenue Court by an order overruled this objection and decided that she had proprietary interest. This partition, however, did not come off as for some reason or another, the application for partition was either not pressed or was struck off. Subsequently in 1909 an application for partition was made by Mt. Phula herself, which also was objected to by Udai Ram. In spite of the objection the partition Court directed that the partition should be completed and five separate mahals have been constituted. It was during the pendency of these partition proceedings that the main contesting defendant obtained the mortgage in dispute. We are, therefore, of opinion that it is not possible for the contesting defendant to contend that the plaintiff does not possess any proprietary interest at all. The order of the revenue Court operates as a decree of a Civil Court and is binding on a transferee pendent lite.

6. If is conceded by the learned vakil for the appellants that if the widow got the property on partition 'she would have a Hindu widow's estate which would go to the line of her husband on her death. This view is confirmed by a judgment of their lordships of the Privy Council in Debi Mangal Prasad Singh v. Mahadeo Prasad Singh [1912] 34 All. 234. On the finding that the widow got the property on private partition, the appeal must stand dismissed.

7. We may, however, mention that the argument of the learned vakil for the appellants that in case she had obtained this property in lieu of maintenance, there would be a limited estate with a vested remainder cannot be accepted. As observed by their Lordships of the Privy Council in the case referred to above, a mother at the time of the partition has no share as a co-parcener. She is only entitled to maintenance and if a share is given to her on partition, it is given to her by way of provision for her maintenance, and when the necessity for maintenance ceases the property will revert to the estate from which it was taken. It seems to us that the principle underlying the two cases is the same, and if is impossible to hold that the widow has got a limited estate with a remainder in the sons. The appeal is accordingly dismissed with costs.


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