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Rameshwar Rai Vs. Sheopal Rai and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Judge
Reported in117Ind.Cas.822
AppellantRameshwar Rai
RespondentSheopal Rai and ors.
Cases ReferredCourt Moti Shah v. Gandharp Singh
Excerpt:
hindu law - widow--agreement by reversioner not to claim more than one-half of estate, validity of--estoppel--family arrangement. - u.p. zamindari abolition & lands reforms act, 1951 [act no. 1/1951]. section 3(4) & u.p. land revenue act, (3 of 1901). sections 14-a (3) & 14; [s.rafat alam, r.k.agarwal & ashok bhushan, jj] expression collector- held, it includes additional collector. powers and functions of collector can be exercised by additional collector under section 198(4) of 1950 act, provided he has been so directed by collector of the district. [1996 aihc 3628 overruled]. - they, however, failed to pay her the rent secured by this lease, so she mortgaged the land to one bansidhar in 1895. at least the document purported to be a mortgage......the plaintiff, whose two brothers were dead by then, and sheopal. rameshar did not resist the suit. sheopal and musammat lachminia compromised it. sheopal agreed with sheopher for the latter to have one-half of the moiety of the property assigned by the agreement of 1914 to himself. it is clear that the effect of this compromise was to make sheopher bound by the original agreement of 1914 so far as the rights of the parties to that agreement other than sheopal were established; for in getting half of sheopal's share he was taking advantage of that agreement, which created that half share.3. rameshar, whose two brothers have now died, in this suit claims the whole of raghunandan's estate as the nearest reversioner. both the lower courts have rejected the claim, taking the view that.....
Judgment:

Ashworth, J.

1. This second appeal arises out of a suit brought by Remeshar plaintiff in respect of certain property originally owned by one Raghunandan. The plaintiff claimed to be entitled as next reversioner on the death of Raghunandan's widow, Musammat Lachminia, and the suit was brought against more remote reversioners. The suit was resisted on the ground that the plaintiff was estopped by a certain agreement from claiming the whole of the estate of Raghunandan.

2. The facts of the case are as follows:--The genealogical table given in the judgment of the lower Appellate Court indicates the relationship between the parties to this suit, Raghunandan, the last male owner, died in 1892, leaving behind him a widow, Musammat Lachminia. The lady could not manage her husband's property herself, so she entered into an arrangement, which pruported to lease out her land to the plaintiff, his two brothers and his two distant cousins. They, however, failed to pay her the rent secured by this lease, so she mortgaged the land to one Bansidhar in 1895. At least the document purported to be a mortgage. Thereupon the plaintiff Rameshar and his two brothers brought a suit in 1895 for cancellation of the mortgage, and I am told that it was on the ground that it was fictitious and destructive of their rights. Any way they were successful. Nine years later the plaintiff, his two brothers Sarju and Ram Dhani, and a distant cousin Sheopal entered into an agreement with Musammat Lachminia, which provided that during Lachminia's lifetime the three brothers consisting of the plaintiff Ramdhani and Sarju should remain in possession of half the property and Sheopal, a distant cousin, in possession of the other half. They were to pay Government Revenue and pay the lady an annuity of Rs. 31 but the lady's name was to continue in the village papers as the owner for the time being. After her death the plaintiff and his two brothers were to be entered in the khewat for half the property and Sheopal for the other half. Mahadeo brother of Sheopal was not a party to this agreement. His grandson Sheopher represents the surviving member of Mahadeo's line. In 1916 Sheopher finding that his grand-father had not been a party to this agreement, brought a suit for cancellation of the deed of 1914 against Musammat Lachminia, Rameshar, the plaintiff, whose two brothers were dead by then, and Sheopal. Rameshar did not resist the suit. Sheopal and Musammat Lachminia compromised it. Sheopal agreed with Sheopher for the latter to have one-half of the moiety of the property assigned by the agreement of 1914 to himself. It is clear that the effect of this compromise was to make Sheopher bound by the original agreement of 1914 so far as the rights of the parties to that agreement other than Sheopal were established; for in getting half of Sheopal's share he was taking advantage of that agreement, which created that half share.

3. Rameshar, whose two brothers have now died, in this suit claims the whole of Raghunandan's estate as the nearest reversioner. Both the lower Courts have rejected the claim, taking the view that he is precluded by the agreement of 1914 from claiming more than a half share.

4. In this appeal it is urged that when the agreement of 1914 was executed there is not proved to have existed any family dispute, and so that agreement cannot operate as a family agreement. It is sufficient to say as to this that a family agreement may be executed to avoid the occurrence of disputes in future even if they have not already arisen. But apart from the question whether the agreement operated as a family agreement, there can be no doubt that it operated as a personal agreement estopping Rameshar from making the present claim. Under that agreement Rameshar got immediate possession of half the property which he would not have apart from that agreement. It makes no difference that Sheopal also got immediate possession of half the property. Having obtained this benefit, it is not open to Rameshar to resile from his agreement not to claim on behalf of himself, or his branch of the family, more than one-half of the estate of Raghunandan when that estate should open out. The decisions to the effect that reversioners cannot contract with a Hindu widow in possession so as to change a mere hope of succession into a definite right to a share in the property have no application to a case of estoppel. Reference may be made to a two Judge decision of this Court Moti Shah v. Gandharp Singh : AIR1926All715 where it was held that there is nothing to prevent an agreement entered into by the reversioner to an estate in the possession of a Hindu widow during the lifetime of such widow, binding by estoppel the reversioner when the succession opens on the death of the widow. In that case the law on the subject was sufficiently discussed. It is, no doubt, true that parties cannot contract to make the law of succession different to that which it is, but there is nothing to prevent a party contracting not to take advantage of benefits that may subsequently arise to him under the law of succession. The latter kind of agreement so far from ignoring or contravening the law of succession is based on the fact of the law being such and such. A person cannot give up a right which he cannot possibly ever have.

5. For the above reasons, this appeal fails and is dismissed with costs.


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