Skip to content


Sajjanpal Singh and ors. Vs. Mt. Harnaraini Kunwar - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Reported inAIR1935All285; 157Ind.Cas.192
AppellantSajjanpal Singh and ors.
RespondentMt. Harnaraini Kunwar
Cases ReferredMahendra Nath Biswas v. Shamshul
Excerpt:
- interpretation of statutes definition clause: [markandey katju & h.l. dattu, jj] meaning given to an expression in one statute cannot be applied to another statute. - hans kunwar, but she failed to induce the revenue court to enter her name in the register as being in possession of the property in esauli. he clearly meant that the will did not give her a claim to the ancestral property, but that there was no proof of any family custom by which, this property should go to the collaterals and that the ordinary hindu law would entitle the daughter to claim the property in preference to the collaterals. there is no suggestion by any witness that he was suddenly taken ill and that he was in good health when his executed his will on the 20th august. it may well be that the will of the 24th.....allsop, j.1. this is an appeal by some of the defendants in a suit for possession which was decreed by the learned subordinate judge of etah. the property in suit is a, share of 4 biswas in the village of esauli. this property originally belonged to one jiwa ram who died on 27th august 1890. it is now admitted that it was ancestral property. jiwa ram also had other property which he had separately acquired. his widow, mt. hans kunvvar, succeeded to the whole of his property and remained in possession up to her death on 12th february 1928. the plain tiff-respondent, mt. har naraini kunwar, is the sole surviving daughter of jiwa ram. she got possession of the separately acquired property on the death of her mother, mt. hans kunwar, but she failed to induce the revenue court to enter her.....
Judgment:

Allsop, J.

1. This is an appeal by some of the defendants in a suit for possession which was decreed by the learned Subordinate Judge of Etah. The property in suit is a, share of 4 biswas in the village of Esauli. This property originally belonged to one Jiwa Ram who died on 27th August 1890. It is now admitted that it was ancestral property. Jiwa Ram also had other property which he had separately acquired. His widow, Mt. Hans Kunvvar, succeeded to the whole of his property and remained in possession up to her death on 12th February 1928. The plain tiff-respondent, Mt. Har Naraini Kunwar, is the sole surviving daughter of Jiwa Ram. She got possession of the separately acquired property on the death of her mother, Mt. Hans Kunwar, but she failed to induce the Revenue Court to enter her name in the register as being in possession of the property in Esauli. She therefore instituted the suit which has given rise to this appeal and obtained a decree for possession, from the lower Court.

2. In order properly to understand the question in issue between the parties it is necessary to set forth their relationship with the original owner, Jiwa Ram. This Jiwa Ram was the son of Lachhman Singh who had five brothers. One of these brothers, Chet Ram, died without leaving male issue. The other brothers were Lekhraj Singh, Dulab Singh, Muktabil Singh and Glrdhari Singh. The defendants are Sajjanpal Singh, Mahendarpal Singh, Jogendarpal Singh and Gajendarpal Singh are the great-grandsons and great great-grandsons of Muktabil Singh. The defendants, Lal Singh and Basdeo Singh are the grandsons of Girdhari Singh. The defendants, Narain Singh, Lokhpal Singh, Balwant Singh, Chhaitarpal Singh are the great-grandsons of Gulab Singh. The defendant, Shankar Singh, is the grandson of Lekhraj Singh and defendant, Mt. Tika Kunwar is the widow of Sundar Singh, the son of Lekhraj Singh. The plaintiff Mt. Har Naraini Kunwar is, as we have already said, the sole surviving daughter of Jiwa Ram by his wife Mt. Hans Kunwar. Some of the defendants are the appellants before us and others have been impleaded as respondents. The plaintiff-respondent based her claim on two grounds, namely, as the daughter of Jiwa Ram under the Hindu law and as the legatee under a will which was executed by Jiwa Ram on 20th August 1890, and registered on the 23rd August of that year.

3. After the death of Jiwa Ram there was a dispute about succession to his property. The mother of the defendant Narain Singh set up the plea that her son had been adopted by Jiwa Ram and in support of her contention she relied upon a will or declaration said to have been executed by Jiwa Ram on 24th August 1890. It appears that one branch of collaterals, that is the branch of Lekhraj Singh, set up a claim that Jiwa Ram had died as a member of a joint Hindu family and that they were entitled to succeed to his property by way of survivorship. There is upon the record a report made by the Tahsildar of Jalesar on 7th January 1891, in connexion with the mutation of the register. In that report he mentioned that there was a claim that Narain Singh had been adopted by Jiwa Ram and also said that Sundar Singh and others had claimed that the property was ancestral, that they were heirs and that Mt. Hans Kunwar had only a right to maintenance. From this we infer that the latter claim was to the effect that Jiwa Ram and the claimants had been members of a joint Hindu family up to the time of Jiwa Ram's death. It is now said that there was also a custom in the family that collaterals should succeed to ancestral property in preference to daughters and daughter's sons, but it is not clear whether that claim was also made after Jiwa Ram's death in the year 1890.

4. In continuation of the claim that Narain Singh was the adopted son of Jiwa Ram an application was made by him under the guardianship of his mother for probate of the alleged will of 24th August 1890. Mt. Hans Kunwar was of course claiming a widow's estate and there was also the question at issue whether after her death her daughters or the collaterals should succeed. At that time there were alive not only Mt. Har Naraini Kunwar, the plaintiff-respondent, but also Mt. Hewal Kunwar who was Jiwa Ram's daughter by another wife. Jiwa Ram had married five wives, four of whom had died before him. He had two daughters besides Mt. Hewal Kunwar and Mt. Har Naraini Kunwar, namely, Mt. Chandan Kunwar and Mt. Het Kunwar, but Mt. Chandan Kunwar was not alive at the time of his death and Mt. Het Kunwar was a posthumous daughter.

5. The dispute which had arisen about the property led to an agreement dated 27th February 1891, by which the questions in issue were referred to arbitration and this agreement was followed by an award dated 2nd April 1891, by which Mt. Hans Kunwar was to remain in possession of all the property during her lifetime and after her death the self acquired property was to go to the daughter and the property in Esauli was to go to the collaterals. Each of the surviving branches, namely, those of Lekhraj Singh, Gulab Singh, Muktabil Singh and Girdhar Singh were to get a share of 1/4th in the property, that is, one biswa out of the 4 biswas. After the agreement was entered into on the 27th February, Narain Singh's mother Mt. Nairn Kunwar withdrew on 12th March 1891, the application for probate which she had made on his behalf.

6. When the plaintiff instituted the present suit, the contentions put forward by the defendants were that she had; no right under the will of 20th August 1890, that there was a custom, which we have already mentioned, which prevented her from succeeding to the property and that the award of the arbitrators by which they were entitled to the property was binding upon the parties to the suit. The learned Subordinate Judge did not rely upon the will as giving Mt. Har Naraini Kunwar a right to the property in Esauli. He said that the plaintiff was entitled to rely upon the will and was entitled to the relief claimed, but be added that she was entitled to the self-acquired property of Jiwa Ram under the will and to the ancestral property of Jiwa Ram in Esauli under the Hindu law. He clearly meant that the will did not give her a claim to the ancestral property, but that there was no proof of any family custom by which, this property should go to the collaterals and that the ordinary Hindu law would entitle the daughter to claim the property in preference to the collaterals. He explicitly found indeed, that the custom was not established. He found that the arbitrators went beyond the reference in deciding what should happen to the property after the death of Mt. Hans Kunwar and consequently decided that the award was not binding upon the plaintiff.

7. We think that it will be convenient for us to dispose of the arguments-based upon the will and upon the alleged custom before we proceed to discuss the effect of the award which is. the important question in this appeal. (After dealing with, these questions. His Lordship proceeded). We have already mentioned the circumstances in which the parties entered into an agreement on 27th February 1891, to refer their disputes to arbitration. The agreement itself is Ex. B-1. The parties were the collaterals and Mt. Nairn Kunwar as the guardian of Narain Singh on the one side and Mt. Hans Kunwar in her own right and as the guardian of Mt. Har Naraini Kunwar, Mt. Het Kunwar and Mt. Kewal Kunwar on the other side. The_ agreement recited that there was a dispute between the parties in respect of the property forming the estate of Thakur Jiwa Ram Singh, but did not go into further detail. It added that the parties 'had agreed to abide by the decision of certain arbitrators. These arbitrators were Jeolahal Singh and Bhagwan Singh who were appointed by the collaterals and Mt. Nairn Kunwar on the one side and Megh Singh and Bal-want Singh who were appointed by Mt. Hans Kunwar, Mt. Het Kunwar and Mt. Kewal Kunwar on the other side. There was also an umpire Khushal Singh who was accepted by both parties. The agreement was registered on the 3rd March 1891, and the award of the arbitrators was delivered on 15th April 1891. As we have already said, the award was that the Esauli property should remain in the possession of Mt. Hans Kunwar during her lifetime and after her death should pass to the collaterals and that the remaining property should remain in the possession of Hans Kunwar during her life-time and after her death should go to the surviving daughters or their heirs. There was a further provision that Mt. Hans Kunwar was a purdahnashin lady and had no experience of the management of an estate and that therefore Sumer Singh should act as manager of the estate and is hould receive a salary of Rs. 200 per annum. This Sumer Singh was the husband of Mt. Kewal Kunwar and the son-in-law of Jiwa Ram. The award was registered on 15th April 1891, and was followed by mutation of the register in favour of Mt. Hans Kunwar.

8. The learned Subordinate Judge found that the award was not binding upon the plaintiff-respondent, Mt. Har Naraini Kunwar, because the arbitrators had changed the course of devolution, because the arbitrators travelled be yond the scope of the reference in deciding what should happen to the property after the death of Mt. Hans Kunwar and because the arbitrators, having found apparently that Narain Singh was not the adopted son and having also found that Jiwa Ram was not at his death a member of a joint Hindu family, were not competent to destroy the rights under the Hindu law of the daughters. He also found that Mt. Hans Kunwar executed the agreement to refer, but that she did not understand its effects and that for this reason, as she was a purdahnashin lady, the award was not binding upon her or her daughters.

9. The first question we have to consider in this connexion is whether in the circumstances we can hold that the agreement to refer was an agreement properly executed by Mt. Hans Kunwar so as to bind her. The learn ed Subordinate Judge was much in fluenced, as appears from his judgment, by the fact that he believed that the reversioners had been making dishonest efforts to prevent the Esauli property from passing out of the hands of their family and particularly that they had set up a forged will or wills. We have already referred to the fact that Mt. Nairn Kunwar had relied upon a document executed on 24th August 1890. In this document Jiwa Ram referred to the will of the 20th August and to another will which he said that he had sent in a registered cover, presumably to the District Judge, on the 22nd August. He added that these two wills had not laid down all the conditions which he wished to be applied to his property. He declared that he had adopted Narain Singh as his son and had performed the necessary ceremonies. He then said that he was making a final will in order to do away with any possible disputes. The terms of the will were that in the event of the birth of a son to Mt. Hams Kunwar the adopted son should get the of the property in accordance with Hindu law and that in the event of the birth of a daughter the adopted son should get the whole property. The argument of the learned Subordinate Judge is that the will of the 22nd August must have been a. forgery and as a consequence the will of the 24th August which mentioned the previous will must also have been a forgery. No will of the 22nd August has been produced by any party to the suit. There is an application by Jiwa Ram, Ex. 4. This application is dated 20th August 1890, and is addressed to the District Judge. It stated: that the petitioner had received an envelope under a registered cover containing a forged and false will and that the only will that was true and correct was the will executed on the 20th August and registered on the 23rd August. The petitioner suggested that the forged and false will was fabricated by Sundar Singh and that as it had been delivered to the post office insufficiently stamped and in a torn envelope it had been returned to the petitioner. Jiwa Ram died on the 26th or 27th August, and it is admitted that he had gone from his village to Soron on, the banks of the Ganges and had died in that place.

10. It is therefore doubtful whether this petition refers to any will of the 22nd August, because it is not certain whether a document delivered to an outlying post office on the 22nd August would have been returned to Jiwa Ram at Soron in time for him to execute the petition which we arc considering. The learned Subordinate judge assumes that the petition refers to that will and considers that the statement made by Jiwa Ram in the petition, is conclusive upon the point whether that will was forged. In our opinion it can not be assumed that the wills of the 22nd August and the 24th August, were not executed by Jiwa Ram. We must remember the circumstances. Jiwa Ram, according to the endorsement made by the sub-registrar on the will of the 20th August, was about 65 years of age. According to Rhushal Pal Singh, a witness produced by the plain tiff, Jiwa Ram was very ill at the end of August and had gone to Soron on the 25th of that month because his case was hopeless and he wished to die on the banks of the Ganges. Manphul Singh, a witness for the plaintiff, has stated that Jiwa Ram was suffering from dysentery and Mt. Nairn Kunwar, who was examined on commission, has said that he was ill for some two months before his death. There is no suggestion by any witness that he was suddenly taken ill and that he was in good health when his executed his will on the 20th August. The mere fact that he executed a will indicated that he was aware that he had not long to live.

11. In these circumstances it was natural, as he lived in Isauli where his collaterals also lived, that he should have been subjected to various influences and he himself may have been attempting to reconcile conflicting interests. From the contents of the admitted will of the 20th August, it is apparent that he was concerned in some measure about his own spiritual welfare and the consequent necessity for the adoption of a son. It is also probable from the terms of this will that he had some feeling that the ancestral property in his native village in Esauli should go to his own family, that is, to his collaterals and should not pass to other families into which his daughters might have married or might in future marry. This being so, it is likely enough that he might have wavered from time to time and executed a series of wills under the influence of his wife and daughters and their immediate relations on the one side and of the collaterals on the other side. It may well be that the will of the 24th August, was executed as the result of a feeling that Mt. Hans Kunwar might not adopt a son. At that time Jiwa Ram might have felt that it was safer for him to make the adoption himself subject to a provision for the possibility that a natural son might be born to him posthumously. These are suppositions, but they do lead to the conclusion that it is possible to explain the existence of more than one will otherwise than on the presumption that all the wills except that of the 20th August must have been forged.

12. It has been suggested that the statement in the will of the 24th August that an adoption had taken place could not possibly be true because the will of the 20th August was registered on the 23rd August and that was the date on which the adoption is alleged to have been made. After this period of 40 years we cannot expect the witnesses to remember accurately the various dates on which the incidents occurred. It is argued that it can be inferred from statements made by Mt. Nairn Kunwar that the adoption must have taken place on the same date as the registration of the will, but she is not at all clear upon this point and we think that it is conceivable that there may have been some form of ceremony, whether strictly legal or not, on the 21st or 22nd August. We do not hold, and indeed it has not been argued, that there was a valid adoption; but we consider that the circumstances are not sufficient to justify the finding that the two wills to which we have referred are forged wills and that for this reason it must be supposed that the collaterals were at that time already making dishonest attempts to prevent the property from passing out of their hands. The learned Subordinate Judge was evidently of the opinion that it was a valid conclusion from the existence of these earlier dishonest proceedings that the subsequent proceedings evidenced by the agreement to refer and by the arbitration award must also necessarily have been dishonest. This is an argument with which we cannot agree because we are not satisfied that the earlier proceedings were dishonest.

13. We must consider the agreement to refer and the award upon their own merits. In Jiwa Ram's will of the 20th August and in the award itself it was mentioned that Mt. Hans Kunwar was a pardahnashin lady and incapable of managing the property. In the will Jiwa Ram appointed Surnar Singh and, in the event of his death, one Kunwar Lal Kayasth to manage the property for her. In the award Sumar Singh was appointed by the arbitrators as we have already mentioned. We may take it therefore that Mt. Hans Kunwar was a pardahnashin lady and that she had no capacity for business. We have to consider therefore whether it can be said that there is sufficient material on the record for holding that she must have understood what she was doing when she entered into the agreement to refer the dispute to arbitration. The learned Subordinate Judge has made a point that the agreement was not precise in defining the dispute which was the subject of the reference. The agreement did mention that there was a dispute about Jiwa Ram's property and a list of the property was attached. There had already been proceedings in the Revenue Court about the mutation of the register. We have already referred to the report of the Tahsidar of Jalesar dated 16th January 1891, in which he set forth the claims of Narain Singh, Sundar Singh and others. We think that Mt. Hans Kunwar must have known about these proceedings and that she must have known about the claims which were being made against her. Living as she did in Isauli, it is hardly possible that she did not know that it had been asserted by Mt. Nairn Kunwar that Jiwa Ram had adopted Narain Singh and that Sundar Singh and others were alleging that Jiwa Ram was a member of the joint Hindu family with them.

14. There are certain matters of which, a pardahnashin lady may well not be aware but it is improbable that she would not know about intimate family ;matters concerning relationship. On 15th January 1891, the mutation Court had passed an order, Ex. 9, that mutation should be effected in favour of Mt. Hans Kunwar. We think that she must have been aware of this fact and of the result of the dispute which had arisen. We do not think that we can infer that Mt. Hans Kunwar did not know what she was doing when she executed the agreement to refer merely from the fact that the disputes existing were not set forth in detail in that document. We notice that Sumer Singh was one of the persons who identified the ladies who were parties to the agreement at the time when the agreement was registered. We also notice that Kunwar Lal Kayasth was one of the witnesses to the award, Sumer Singh was Jiwa Ram's son-in-law and he and Kunwar Lal were clearly trusted by him. The learned Subordinate Judge has thought that Sumer Singh was a party to a conspiracy to defraud Mt. Hans Kunwar because by the award he was to obtain an income of Rs. 200 a year for managing the property. Sumer Singh's wife, Mt. Kewal Kunwar, was a party to the agreement and, as she was one of the daughters, her rights were affected as much as the rights of the plaintiff.

15. It has been argued that Mt. Kewal Kunwar was nearly as old as Mt. Hans Kunwar, being the daughter of a previous wife of Jiwa Rain's, and that Sumer Singh may have thought that she had little chance of succeeding and consequently that he was prepared to barter away her possible chances of succession in order to obtain the advantage of earning this income of Rs. 200 a year. We do not think that there is any force in this suggestion. Sumer Singh was giving away the possible rights of his wife and of his sons and in any event he was to manage the property of Mt. Hans Kunwar and if he chose to be dishonest, he could embezzle as much of the income as he wanted. We see no reason for supposing that he was a dishonest man or that he had any sufficient incentive for wishing to deceive the widow. Mt. Kewal Kunwar herself was a woman of about 32 years of age and was a party to the agreement. Kunwar Lal had also been trusted by Jiwa Ram and there is no suggestion that he had any reason for not bringing the true facts to the notice of Mt. Hans Kunwar. There is direct evidence that the agreement was read over to the women at the time when it was executed. We may refer to the evidence of Manphu Singh and of Mt. Nairn Kunwar. The latter was in the same position as Mt. Hans Kunwar and she has said that she understood what was happening. Her interests were affected because under the award her son, Narain Singh, was losing the rights which he would have had if it had been found that the adoption had taken place. Sirdar Singh, Mt. Nairn Kunwar's brother, has also given evidence of the fact that the draft and afterwards the fair copy of the agreement was read over to the ladies who were parties to it. We might perhaps, in other circumstances not attach a great deal of importance to this oral evidence of witnesses who are deposing to facts which took place so many years ago, but where everything points to the probability that the proceedings were thoroughly understood by all the ladies, we see no reason to disbelieve the evidence. It has also been suggested by the learned Subordinate Judge that the arbitrators were all in collusion with the collaterals. Jeolahal Singh and Bhagwan Singh were appointed by the collaterals and it is quite likely that they may have been favourably inclined towards them. They are said to have been agents of Sunder Singh. There is however very little reason for thinking that Megh Singh or Balwant Singh were also in a conspiracy against the widow and her daughters. It is suggested by the Subordinate Judge that Megh Singh, who was one of Jiwa Ram's sons-in-law but whose wife was dead at that time, had no reason for helping the widow and that he belonged to the same family as Jeolahal Singh and consequently was likely to support the collaterals. It is not clear what relationship there was between Megh Singh and Jeolahal Singh and we consider that this argument is farfetched. Balwant Singh has been produced as a witness by the defendants. The learned Subordinate Judge has said that he has reason to be against the plaintiff. The reason apparently is that Sheo Ram Singh, the plaintiff's husband, had at some time summoned him as a witness in a case arid, as he was away in Gwalior, had got a warrant of arrest issued against him. We do not know enough about the circumstances to say whether this incident would probably have made Balwant Singh an enemy of the plaintiff's but even if it had been sufficient to do so, it would have had no effect in the year 1891 long before it occurred. We can see no reason for thinking that the arbitration was in any way dishonest or unjust.

16. Apart from the other circumstances we must also consider the effect of the agreement. It certainly did not in any way affect the rights of Mt. Hans Kunwar who was to remain in possession of the whole property during her life time. It cannot be said greatly to have affected the rights of the daughters who were given the reversion of the separately acquired property. The plaintiff's own witness, Khushal Pal Singh, said that the income of the self-acquired property was about Rs. 2000 a year whereas the income of the property in Isauli was about Rs. 600 a year. The suggestion has been thrown out that Mt. Hans Kun war in order to preserve her own rights gave away the rights of her daughters. The plaintiff herself has relied on the will of the 20th August. Under that will Mt. Hans Kunwar was empowered to adopt a son to Jiwa Ram and if she had made the adoption, the Isauli property was to go to the son and not to the daughters. It is evident therefore that Mt. Hans Kunwar had no need to enter into this arbitration to deprive her daughters of the Isauli property. It was sufficient for her to make the adoption in order to produce that result. All that she did was to give up her right to adopt a son in order to conciliate the collaterals who were claiming the whole property. The daughters were not adversely affected in any true sense of the term by this arrangement. It must be remembered that there was real cause for apprehension that there might be a ruinous litigation between the members of the family. We have said that we consider that the will of 20th August does not in the absence of an adoption deprive the daughters of any share in the Isauli property, but it must be conceded that it was at least arguable that the will might have that effect.

17. We realise that it is not established now that Narain Singh was adopted by Jiwa Ram, but the claim had been, made and it was supported by documentary, evidence, so that there was every ground for contention upon the point and at the time when the agreement to refer was executed the application for probate made by Mt. Nairn Kunwar on behalf of her son was still to be considered by the Courts. The custom that collaterals should succeed to ancestral property in preference to daughters and their sons has not been established by evidence, but the claims that such a custom existed was clearly not an impossible claim in the circumstances. There was the agreement which was made at the time of Chandan Singh's death and there was Jima Ram's own statement in the wajibularz which, might possibly have been construed in favour of the custom. There were real causes of dispute and we must remember that it might have been extremely difficult for Mt. Hans Kunwar to obtain reliable witnesses from Esauli where the family of Jiwa Ram had always lived and were well established. It seems to us that she adopted a very wise course in coming to a settlement with the collaterals and the result of the award was entirely in her favour and almost entirely in favour of her daughters. We find from the evidence and all the circumstances of the case that Mt. Hans Kunwar thoroughly understood what she was doing when she entered into the agreement to refer the disputes to arbitration and there is nothing in the circumstances which could possibly lead us to suppose that the arbitration was in any way unfair to her or to her daughter. We therefore find that the award would have been binding upon Mt. Hans Kunwar if she had been alive.

18. We have been referred to certain cases as authorities. We may mention : Beni Din v. Ram Naresh 1929 All. 824, Farid un-nisa v. Mukhatar Ahmad 1925 P.C. 205, Annoda Mohun v. Bhuban Mohini Debi (1910) 28 Cal. 546 and Kali Bakhsh Singh v. Ram Gopal (1913) 36 All. 81.

19. We do not think that it is necessary to discuss these cases at any length. It seems to us that the law on the subject is quite clear. Apart from dicta which refer to the peculiar circumstances of each of these cases, we consider that one broad principle emerge from them all. Whereas a Court will suppose, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, that an adult person who has executed an instrument intends to be bound by its terms, it will make this exception in favour of a pardanashin lady that it will make no supposition of this kind but will consider her bound by the terms of the instrument which she has executed only if it is positively satisfied by direct evidence or by evidence of the circumstances which obtained at the time that she did throughly understand what she was purporting to do and this executed the instrument with full knowledge of its effects. In our opinion, in this case the condition is fulfilled and the instrument was binding on Mt. Hans Kunwar.

20. It still remains for us to go into the question whether the agreement and the award were binding upon the plaintiff-respondent, Mt. Har Naraini Kunwar. In the case of Amrit Narayan Singh v. Gaya Singh 1917 P.C. 95, it was held that a right to reversion is a mere spes succession is and cannot be transferred. That was a case of a minor and it was held that the guardian could not bargain with the spes succession is on his behalf or bind him by any contractual agreement in respect thereof. In the case of Imrit Kunwar v. Boop Narain Singh (1880) 6 C.I.R. 76 (P.C.) to which the learned Subordinate Judge has referred, it was held that the daughters could not in any circumstance be bound by a compromise entered into by their mother, a Hindu widow.

21. In so far as Mt. Hans Kunwar purported to act for her daughters as their guardian, it is possible that she was not entitled to de so, so as to prevent the plaintiff from claiming the property which she has claimed in the suit which has given rise to this appeal. We however think that the matter may be regarded in another way. Mt. Hans Kunwar represented the estate of her husband. Certain attacks were being made against the estate. It was her duty to protect it. Let us presume that the claims were false. If that was so, Narain Singh was asserting a title to property which was not his and Sundar Singh and others who were setting up the existence of a joint family were aiming at the destruction on the estate in so far as it was the estate of a separated Hindu. We would refer to the case of Ramsumran Prasad v. Shyam Kurari 1922 P.C. 356. In their judgment in that case, their Lordships of the Privy Council referred to the case of Imrit Kunwar v. Boop Narain Singh (1880) 6 C.I.R. 76 (P.C.). They said that it must be remembered what that case really was and that if the language was rather wide no one referring to the case in full could be misled by it. Their Lordships approved of the doctrine laid down in Mahendra Nath Biswas v. Shamshul-nissa Khatun 1915 Cal. 629. Their Lordships advered upon the difficulties which would arise if a Hindu widow in possession of her husband's estate was unable to enter into a valid compromise binding the reversioners so as to prevent injurious litigation, as would be the case if such a compromise was not binding upon them. We consider that in the circumstances of the case before us it was very necessary for Mt. Hans Kunwar to enter into the agreement into which she did enter so as to avoid the possibility of litigation between the members of the family. It appears to us to make no difference whether the arbitration was a real one in the sense that the arbitrators decided the questions at issue or whether the transaction was a mere settlement between the members of the family which was embodied in the form of an agreement to refer and an award. Mt. Hans Kun-war was representing her husband's estate which would pass in course of time to her daughters or to other reversioners and she came to a settlement which was very beneficial to the daughters. We consider that the plaintiff-respondent is bound by the arrangement and we cannot fail to notice that she is in possession of the separately acquired property without dispute as a result of that arrangement. We find that the plaintiff-respondent had no title to the property which she claimed. We allow the appeal setting aside the judgment and decree of the learned Subordinate Judge we dismiss the suit with costs in both the Courts.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //