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Muhammad Ashiq Ali Vs. Musammat Hajra Bibi - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Judge
Reported inAIR1924All690; 82Ind.Cas.627
AppellantMuhammad Ashiq Ali
RespondentMusammat Hajra Bibi
Cases ReferredSrinivasa Row Saheb v. Yamunbhai Ammal
Excerpt:
civil procedure code (act v of 1008), section 152 - dower-decree--form defective--execution--decree, whether can be, amended. - 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. - this may quite well have been due to the fact that it had been mentioned in the body of the pleading, and it was so well-known to everybody, that no child in the business of the law required to be told what the shares were. if the decree had been drawn up as prayed, it would have been bad for duplicity. if the decree itself created any obstacle, justice could still be done not fancifully, but on well-established principles, enunciated, for example, in the house of lords in the case of hatton v.1. this appeal succeeds. the matter is really quite simple. a suit for dower-debt was brought by a widow against certain heirs of her husband. she herself exempted her property, and, therefore, her share in the contribution to the debt, in the plaint, and she finally claimed the balance of the debt, namely rs. 7,500, against the balance of the heirs. owing to carelessness, which we are afraid is too frequent, her pleader did not in the relief claim specifically the exact shares in which she was entitled to succeed against each defendant. this may quite well have been due to the fact that it had been mentioned in the body of the pleading, and it was so well-known to everybody, that no child in the business of the law required to be told what the shares were. the relief claimed was, in the.....
Judgment:

1. This appeal succeeds. The matter is really quite simple. A suit for dower-debt was brought by a widow against certain heirs of her husband. She herself exempted her property, and, therefore, her share in the contribution to the debt, in the plaint, and she finally claimed the balance of the debt, namely Rs. 7,500, against the balance of the heirs. Owing to carelessness, which we are afraid is too frequent, her Pleader did not in the relief claim specifically the exact shares in which she was entitled to succeed against each defendant. This may quite well have been due to the fact that it had been mentioned in the body of the pleading, and it was so well-known to everybody, that no child in the business of the law required to be told what the shares were. The relief claimed was, in the alternative, joint or several. The contest was about the amount of the dower and other matters. There was no dispute about the share of liabilities. The judgment gave the relief as prayed. If the decree had been drawn up as prayed, it would have been bad for duplicity. It was drawn up, as my brother pointed out in the argument, in general terms, which, having regard to the plaint, were ambiguous. All this is quite wrong, but it does not affect the substance of the matter. The suit was decreed and an appeal was brought to this Court. The question of the form of the decree was lost sight of in this Court as in the Court below owing to other more important issues then being disputed. The result was that nobody, until this ingenious person in execution raised the question, troubled about the precise form. Now objection is raised in execution that the decree makes all the defendants jointly and severally liable, that is to say, each of them liable for the whole amount. Everybody connected with the case knows that that was never the intention, and the only question is whether the law is so helpless as to be unable to give effect to the rights of the parties. The law is not helpless. We are of opinion that the learned Judge is wrong and that he was bound to construe the decree in the light of the admitted fact that both parties were fighting over a dower-decree. If the decree itself created any obstacle, justice could still be done not fancifully, but on well-established principles, enunciated, for example, in the House of Lords in the case of Hatton v. Harris (1892) A.C. 547; (52 L.J.P.C. 24 : 1 R. 1 : 67 L.T. 722 where the Courts in Ireland with the approval of the House of Lords amended a palpable mistake about interest in a decree nearly fifty years afterwards. Also in the case of Lachmi Narain v. Jwala Nath 18 A. 344; A.W.N. (1896) 87 : 8 Ind. Dec. (N.S.) 936 and in the case of Srinivasa Row Saheb v. Yamunbhai Ammal 29 M. 84 : 16 M.L.J. 50 both of which are examples of the application of the plain injunction to Courts of Law in India contained in Section 152 of the Code. To remove any doubt we order that this decree be amended by apportioning the shares as between Ghasiti, the mother, now represented by Ashiq Ali on the one hand, and Ismail on the other, to l/3rd and 5/12ths respectively. The appeal must be allowed with costs here and below and in this Court on the higher scale. The lower Court must be directed to pay to the decree-holder the amount paid into Court by the appellant less the amount of costs, which we have just ordered, when ascertained. The payment will, therefore, be delayed until the costs have been ascertained and are ready to be deducted. The lower Court will also amend the decree in accordance with the foregoing observations. The amount, namely, Rs. 3,333-5-4 deposited is to be in full discharge of the judgment-debtor's liabilities.


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