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Ram Adhar and anr. Vs. Mt. Sudesra - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFamily
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Reported inAIR1933All491; 145Ind.Cas.529
AppellantRam Adhar and anr.
RespondentMt. Sudesra
Excerpt:
- .....these are abstract questions of law, and we therefore need not go into the facts of the case. the word 'sister' in the english language ordinarily means a sister of the full blood. for authority, see murray's english dictionary, 1919 edition. it says: 'a female in relationship to another person or persons having the same parents.' then (sic) notes in smaller types 'sometimes loosely used in the sense of half-sister, and in that of sister-in-law.' in the concise oxford dictionary 'sister' is stated to mean 'daughter of the same parents' (also sister-german) or (strictly half-sister parent). this means that a sister must be the child of the same parents, but sometimes a half-sister is also called a sister. chambers' dictionary also gives the same meaning to the word 'sister.' thus, in.....
Judgment:

Mukerji, J.

1. This is a reference to a Full Bench. The questions to be decided are: '(1) Does the word ''sister' in Section 2, Hindu Law of Inheritance (Amendment) Act, 2 of 1929, include a half sister? (2) If so, does it include both a half-sister by the same father and a half-sister by the same mother?' These are abstract questions of law, and we therefore need not go into the facts of the case. The word 'sister' in the English language ordinarily means a sister of the full blood. For authority, see Murray's English Dictionary, 1919 Edition. It says: 'A female in relationship to another person or persons having the same parents.' Then (sic) notes in smaller types 'Sometimes loosely used in the sense of half-sister, and in that of sister-in-law.' In the Concise Oxford Dictionary 'sister' is stated to mean 'daughter of the same parents' (also sister-german) or (strictly half-sister parent). This means that a sister must be the child of the same parents, but sometimes a half-sister is also called a sister. Chambers' Dictionary also gives the same meaning to the word 'sister.' Thus, in plain English language a sister would not include a half-sister.

2. In the Indian Succession Act (Act 39 of 1925), Section 27 lays down that for purposes of succession under that Act there is no distinction between those who are related to a person by full blood and who are related to him by the half blood. But this Section 27 does not apply to Hindus : see Section 23 of the same Act. The fact that it was necessary to mention that there was no distinction for purposes of this Indian Succession Act of 1925 between a person of the half-blood and a person of the full-blood goes to show that but for this enactment, there would be a distinction. This is by way of a general observation based on the language of the Act. If we look into the spirit of the Hindu law as interpreted in those parts or the country where the Mitakshara law prevails, we shall find that a relation of the full blood excludes a relation of the half blood. If we hold that 'sister' in Section 2 of Act 2 of 1929 includes a half-sister, we shall be putting a sister and a half-sister in the same category. Further we shall be introducing a 'half-sister' between the words 'sister' and 'sister's son.' Further, Act 2 of 1929 is an enabling Act which introduces certain persons as heirs who had no such place according to the ordinary interpretation of the Mitakshara law. Unless we have a clear reason to believe that the legislature was introducing by implication a person not specifically mentioned as an heir we have no right to give the word 'sister' a wider meaning than it would ordinarily bear.

3. Again if we hold that a sister includes a half-sister, then there will be no reason to make a distinction between a uterine sister and a consanguine sister. Among the Hindus a woman on becoming a widow does not remarry, except under the enabling Act of 1850, and instances of such marriages are very rare. Ordinarily it would be repugnant to the notions of Hindus to recognize a woman as a sister who has not the same father as the person himself. She would therefore not be regarded as an heir. For the reasons given above, we think that the Act should be construed strictly, and we hold that the word 'sister' does not include a half-sister, either uterine or consanquine. The second question does not arise in view of our answer. Let this answer be returned to the Bench concerned.


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