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Shankar Lal Vs. Damodar Das - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtAllahabad
Decided On
Reported inAIR1931All450
AppellantShankar Lal
RespondentDamodar Das
Cases ReferredLajwanti v. Safachand A.I.R.
Excerpt:
- - 183. that case is clearly distinguishable from the case before us. this was clearly recognized in the case of lajwanti v......court. in this document mt. basanti states that she inherited the property (the house) from her husband makundi. this is the clearest possible admission and might have induced the learned judge; if ho had read it, to hold that as a matter of fact makundi survived mt. gobindi, and thus became a reversioner to the estate of sarbu. we are however bound by the finding of fact that makundi died before mt. gobindi, and we have, no quarrel with that finding. the fact remains that in her will which was executed nearly three years prior to the sale deed in favour of damodar das, mt. basanti made a clear statement that she was holding as the heir to her husband. then she stated that she had no reversioner to the estate of her husband (waris audi). this statement again implies that if there had.....
Judgment:

Mukerji, J.

1. The facts which have given rise to this appeal are as follows according to the decision of the lower Court: One Sarbu was the owner of the property in suit. He retired from the world having become a sanyasi, and thus died a civil death. This was about 35 years ago. His wife Mt. Gobindi took possession of the property and she died some 19 or 20 years previously to the institution of the suit. Sarbu's brother Makundi died in the lifetime of Gobindi. On the death of Gobindi Mt. Basanti the widow of Makundi took possession of the property in suit. In 1922 Mt. Basanti executed a registered will professing to give the property after her death to one Niadar. Subsequently she changed her mind and sold the property to Damodar Das on 6th January 1929. She died shortly after this sale deed, and one Debi Sahai professing to be the next reversioner to the estate of Makundi on the death of Mt. Basanti executed a deed of gift in favour of school described as Sanatan Dharam School under the managership of L. Shankar Lal, the plaintiff-appellant.

2. The suit succeeded in the Court of first instance but was dismissed by the learned appellate Judge. The suit was dismissed on two grounds: (1) the plaintiff was not competent to maintain the suit; and (2) that Mt. Basanti held adversely to the reversioner of the estate of Makundi and therefore when she died, there was no title which could revert to Debi Sahai, as the next reversioner of the estate of Makundi, if there is any such estate. On appeal both the points are controverted, and we have to see if the decision is right. As regards the title of the plaintiff to maintain the suit, this is a matter of construction of a document, pure and simple. The school known as Sri Sanatan Dharam School does exist in Ghaziabad, and it is managed by certain gentlemen one of whom is the appellant L. Shankar Lal, described in the deed as the manager, The transfer by gift is in favour of the school under the managership of L. Shankar Lal, and it is further stated that the possession is being delivered to the said manager who was to hold as the proprietor (misl zat khas malik ke malikana qabiz dakhil honge). On behalf of the respondent, Mr. Panna Lal has relied on the case of Mathura Kuer v. Dharam Samaj [1916] 38 I.C.183. That case is clearly distinguishable from the case before us. In that case an endowment was created in favour of something which never existed. Just to give an appearance it was described that the entity in whose favour the endowment was being created was a Dharam Samaj. It was held that the gift was void, and the Dharam Samaj having no existence could not accept any gift. In the present case L. Shankar Lal, is mentioned by name and he is directed to hold the property on behalf of the school. If we hold, as we shall, that the defendant is a rank trespasser, we do not see why L. Shankar Lal should 'not be allowed to maintain the suit and eject a pure trespasser.

3. As regards the second question, it appears that the learned appellate Judge has overlooked the will dated 17th July 1922 executed by Mt. Basanti. The document is mentioned by the first Court but it is not at all noticed by the lower appellate Court. In this document Mt. Basanti states that she inherited the property (the house) from her husband Makundi. This is the clearest possible admission and might have induced the learned Judge; if ho had read it, to hold that as a matter of fact Makundi survived Mt. Gobindi, and thus became a reversioner to the estate of Sarbu. We are however bound by the finding of fact that Makundi died before Mt. Gobindi, and we have, no quarrel with that finding. The fact remains that in her will which was executed nearly three years prior to the sale deed in favour of Damodar Das, Mt. Basanti made a clear statement that she was holding as the heir to her husband. Then she stated that she had no reversioner to the estate of her husband (waris audi). This statement again implies that if there had been a reversioner to the estate of her late husband, the property would have gone to him. In the face of these admissions it cannot be said with any show of reason that Mt. Basanti was holding the property for herself as her stridhan and not as representing the estate of her late husband Makundi. The mere fact that a Hindu woman holds a property need not necessarily imply that she holds it for her own benefit. She may hold it on behalf of her husband's estate or on behalf of her sons' estate as the case may be. This was clearly recognized in the case of Lajwanti v. Safachand A.I.R. 1924 P.C. 121, by their Lordships of the Privy Council. We hold therefore that Mt. Basanti held not for herself but for the benefit of her husband's estate and thus by adverse possession matured in favour of her husband's heirs, an estate in the property in question. It follows that on the death of Mt. Basanti the property would go to the reversioner of Makundi's estate. In the result we allow the appeal, set aside the decree of the Court below and restore the decree of the Court of first instance. The appellant will have his costs throughout.


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