1. This second appeal raises a plain question of law. A Hindu widow in possession as such of her late husband's estate sold certain zemindari property which formed a portion of the said estate to the next reversioner, that is to say, to the one person who would have been entitled to succeed to the entire estate if the succession had opened by the death of the widow at the very time of the sale. As a matter of fact, the vendee died before the succession actually opened, and the plaintiff and two other persons (impleaded as pro forma defendants) were the nearest reversioners at that moment. The plaintiff sues to recover from the heirs of the vendee his one-third share in the property sold by the widow. Both Courts below have held that a sale to the nearest reversioner living at the time of the sale is equivalent to a sale with the consent of the said reversioner and was, therefore, sufficient to pass a good title independently of any direct evidence in support of the plea that the sale was for legal necessity. Now, there can be no doubt that if the widow had transferred the whole of her late husband's estate, instead of only a portion of the same, to the next reversioner, the latter would have obtained a clear and indisputable title, independently of any evidence as to legal necessity. Moreover, since the ruling of their Lordships of the Privy Council in Bajrangi Singh v. Manokarnika Bakhsh Singh 30 A. 1 : 3 M.L.T. 1 : 12 C.W.N. 74 : 9 Bom.L.R. 1348 : 6 C.L.J. 760 : 5 A.L.J. 1 : 17 M.L.J. 605 : 35 I.A. 1 it cannot be denied that if the widow had sold the property now in dispute to a stranger, with the consent of the nearest reversioners, the vendee would have acquired a clear title, which the actual reversioners on the death of the widow could not have contested by calling on him to prove by direct evidence that the sale was one for legal necessity. Nevertheless, the appellant contends that on the sale now in dispute the vendee took nothing but the life estate of the widow. He has on his side two decisions of the Madras High Court, Marudamuthu Nadan v. Sriniwasa Pillai 21 M. 128 and Rangappa Naik v. Kamti Naik 31 M. 366 : 18 M.L.J. 309 : 3 M.L.T. 355. The former decision, as a whole, can no longer be considered good law since the Privy Council ruling in Bajrangi Singh's case 30 A. 1 : 3 M.L.T. 1 : 12 C.W.N. 74 : 9 Bom.L.R. 1348 : 6 C.L.J. 760 : 5 A.L.J. 1 : 17 M.L.J. 605 : 35 I.A. 1. The latter has been adversely criticised by the Calcutta High Court in Pulin Chandra Mandal v. Balai Mandal 35 C. 939 : 32 C.W.N. 837 : 8 C.L.J. 280, where it is suggested that the Madras High Court's view is based on a misunderstanding of the Privy Council ruling in the older case of Behari Lal v. Madho Lal Ahir Gayawal 19 C. 236 : 19 I.A. 30.
2. I agree with the learned Judges of the Calcutta High Court. In Behari Lal's case 19 C. 236 : 19 I.A. 30, the widow had in fact transferred to the next reversioner the whole of her husband's estate, and not merely a portion of it but she had endeavoured so to frame the transaction as to reserve her own life -interest. It was held that she could not do this, but that to confer a good title, the transfer must be one of such a nature that the whole estate should get vested at once in the grantee. ' The meaning is that qua the property transferred, the widow must reserve nothing to herself, the idea that she could not execute a complete and valid transfer of a portion only of the estate could not be before the Court in a case in which the transfer, if valid, at all did in fact cover the entire estate.
3. Moreover, the rule laid down by the Madras High Court would seem to lead to extraordinary and undesirable results in actual working. A Hindu widow feels herself in need of ready-money, she goes to the next reversioner, lays her case before him and asks his permission to sell a portion of the estate. It is now admitted that he can give her permission to sell to a stranger, and that his consent will relieve such stranger vendee from the obligation of hereafter proving legal necessity for the sale otherwise than by pleading the presumption raised by the consent of the next reversioner. According to the Madras High Court, however, if the next reversioner wishes to purchase himself, and so to keep the property in the family, he can only do so subject to the risk that he himself or his heirs after him may be put to proof, perhaps many years later, of the fact that there was legal necessity for the sale. On this view of the law, some curious questions might well arise in case the next reversioner thought fit, as a matter of precaution, to arrange for a sale in favour of a relative of his own.
4. I prefer, therefore, to follow the Calcutta view, as the learned District Judge has done.
5. There was a suggestion thrown out in argument that the deed in suit does not purport to convey more than the widow's life-estate. I have examined the document, and I fail to see in what other or clearer terms a complete transfer by way of sale could have been effected. There is no force in this contention.
6. I accordingly dismiss this appeal with costs, including fees on the higher scale.