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Birjbhukhan Dube and ors. Vs. Mt. Ram Dulari - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFamily
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Reported inAIR1927All695; 103Ind.Cas.393
AppellantBirjbhukhan Dube and ors.
RespondentMt. Ram Dulari
Excerpt:
- - it is well settled that under the hindu law a widow, on becoming unchaste, forfeits her rights to maintenance. if a decree declaring the right of a widow to receive maintenance can be vacated by her subsequent unchastity, i fail to appreciate why, notwithstanding such an unchastity of the widow, an agreement fixing a particular amount on account of her annual maintenance should continue to have a binding effect......agreed to pay annually a fixed amount.4. when the unchastity of a widow disentitles her to receive maintenance, it is difficult to hold that the mere fact of the maintenance being secured to her by an agreement will not deprive her of her right to receive maintenance after she has become unchaste. as was pointed out in the case of nagamma v. virabhadra [1894] 17 mad. 392 all that was done by the agreement was to fix the amount of the maintenance. but the moment that the widow becomes unchaste and loses her right to receive maintenance the agreement becomes inoperative.5. it has been held by this court in the case of daulta kuari v. meghu tiwari [1893] 15 all. 382 that a decree obtained by a hindu widow declaring her right to maintenance is liable to be set aside or suspended in.....
Judgment:

Iqbal Ahmad, J.

1. This appeal must be allowed. It is well settled that under the Hindu law a widow, on becoming unchaste, forfeits her rights to maintenance. The only question that arises for consideration in the present appeal is whether the fact of the maintenance being secured to the widow by an agreement executed by the relations of her deceased husband enlarges her ordinary rights, and entitles her, notwithstanding her unchastity, to claim the maintenance secured to her by the deed of agreement. The first Court answered this question in the negative. But the lower appellate Court has, on the authority of the decision of this Court reported as Bhup Singh v. Lachman Kunwar [1904] 26 All. 321, decided that the plaintiff-respondent, notwithstanding her unchastity, is entitled to a decree for the amount claimed by her, inasmuch as the defendants-appellants had agreed to pay her a certain amount as maintenance, and this agreement was reduced to writing.

2. In the case of Bhup Singh's case [1904] 26 All. 321 the agreement that formed the subject-matter of consideration was an agreement 'by way of compromise of a claim' and not a bare agreement to give a certain amount as maintenance to the widow. It was observed in that case that

the agreement was an agreement under which an annuity was provided by way of compromise of a claim not a claim for maintenance, but a claim of title to immovable property.

3. It would thus appear that the reason why, notwithstanding her unchastity, the widow in Bhup Singh's case [1904] 26 All. 321 was held entitled to maintenance was that the agreement embodied a settlement of a disputed claim between the widow and the relations of her deceased husband. In the present case there is nothing to show that the defendants passed the agreement in consideration of the plaintiff-respondent surrendering her right, or supposed right, to the property of her deceased husband. Indeed the deed of agreement is not on the record, and nobody in this Court is in a position to know what the terms of that agreement were. All that appears from the pleadings of the parties is that in lieu of the maintenance to which the plaintiff-respondent was entitled the defendants agreed to pay annually a fixed amount.

4. When the unchastity of a widow disentitles her to receive maintenance, it is difficult to hold that the mere fact of the maintenance being secured to her by an agreement will not deprive her of her right to receive maintenance after she has become unchaste. As was pointed out in the case of Nagamma v. Virabhadra [1894] 17 Mad. 392 all that was done by the agreement was to fix the amount of the maintenance. But the moment that the widow becomes unchaste and loses her right to receive maintenance the agreement becomes inoperative.

5. It has been held by this Court in the case of Daulta Kuari v. Meghu Tiwari [1893] 15 All. 382 that a decree obtained by a Hindu widow declaring her right to maintenance is liable to be set aside or suspended in its operation on proof of subsequent unchastity of the widow. If a decree declaring the right of a widow to receive maintenance can be vacated by her subsequent unchastity, I fail to appreciate why, notwithstanding such an unchastity of the widow, an agreement fixing a particular amount on account of her annual maintenance should continue to have a binding effect.

6. For the reasons given above I allow the appeal, set aside the decree of the lower appellate Court and restore the decree of the trial Court with costs in all Courts.


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