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Smt. Basant Kaur Vs. Smt. Tej Kaur and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFamily
CourtPunjab and Haryana High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 1020 of 1958
Judge
Reported inAIR1967P& H429
ActsHindu Law; Transfer of Property Act, 1882 - Sections 8; Succession Act, 1925 - Sections 87
AppellantSmt. Basant Kaur
RespondentSmt. Tej Kaur and ors.
Appellant Advocate Y.P. Gandhi, Adv.
Respondent Advocate Roop Chand, Adv.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Cases ReferredMt. Malan v. Kishore Chand
Excerpt:
.....passed by a single judge in exercising powers of superintendence under article 227 of the constitution. - it is not disputed, and indeed it could not be that if the mother was the absolute owner of the property she could dispose it of in any manner she liked. it is well known that whenever property is given for life, the expression in the document is 'ta hiyat' or 'ta zindagi' none of these expressions appear in the mutation. the mere fact that the gift of property is made for the support and maintenance of a female relation cannot be taken to be a prima facie indication of the intention of the donor, that the donee was to enjoy the property only during her lifetime. where, therefore, a hindu widow relinquished by a written deed all her rights in certain properties and received..........appeal on the ground that the gift made by the sons to the mother was an out and out gift and the mother held the property as an absolute owner. it is not disputed, and indeed it could not be that if the mother was the absolute owner of the property she could dispose it of in any manner she liked. it is against this decision of the lower appellate court that the present second appeal has been preferred.4. mr. y. p. gandhi, learned counsel for the plaintiffs, has raised only one contention, namely, that on the true interpretation of exhibit p. 3, the gift merely conveyed a limited estate to the mother, mst. bholi. he has laid stress on the following phrase in the order of the mutation officer that--'....the donors say that they have given the property for maintenance of the mother.' it.....
Judgment:

D.K. Mahajan, J.

1. This second appeal is directed against the decision of the Senior Subordinate Judge reversing, on appeal, the decision of the trial Court decreeing the plaintiffs' suit.

2. Plaintiffs 2 and 3 are the widows of Arjan Singh one of the donors; plaintiff 4 is the widow of one of the second donor Jalmed Singh (Arjan Singh & Jalmed Singh are real brothers) and plaintiff 1 is the son of plaintiff 2. The last maleholders of the property in dispute were Arjan Singh and Jalmed Singh. They gifted the suit land to their mother, Mst. Bholi. The gift was oral and was made in the year 1919 and is evidenced by Exhibit P 3. Mst Bholi sold this land to her daughter Tej Kaur for Rs. 4,000/- and this has led to the present suit for a declaration that the sale is without consideration and legal necessity and would not affect the reversionary rights of the plaintiffs.

3. The sole question, that required determination in the Courts below, was whether Mst Bholi was an absolute owner of the property acquired by her by gift from her sons? The trial Court held that Mst. Bholi held only a life-interest and therefore, could not sell the property. The sale being before the Hindu Succession Act, she naturally could not become the absolute owner thereof under that Act. The lower appellate Court, however, reversed the decision of the trial Court on appeal on the ground that the gift made by the sons to the mother was an out and out gift and the mother held the property as an absolute owner. It is not disputed, and indeed it could not be that if the mother was the absolute owner of the property she could dispose it of in any manner she liked. It is against this decision of the lower appellate Court that the present second appeal has been preferred.

4. Mr. Y. P. Gandhi, learned counsel for the plaintiffs, has raised only one contention, namely, that on the true interpretation of Exhibit P. 3, the gift merely conveyed a limited estate to the mother, Mst. Bholi. He has laid stress on the following phrase in the order of the Mutation Officer that--

'....the donors say that they have given the property for maintenance of the mother.'

It may be mentioned that when the donors appeared before the Patwari they merely stated that they had gifted the property to the mother. No mention of the reason for the gift was made. It is only before the Revenue Officer that the reason for the gift is disclosed. However the mere fact, that the property is given for purposes of maintenance, does not mean that the property was not given absolutely. There are no indications in the document that the property was given for life. It is well known that whenever property is given for life, the expression in the document is 'Ta Hiyat' or 'Ta Zindagi' None of these expressions appear in the mutation.

In fact, the oral gift had already taken place when the report was made to the Patwari and in the report even the purpose of the gift is missing; and it appears to me that the purpose of the gift was mentioned at the instance of the Revenue Officer. So far as the donors are concerned, they had made an out and out gift to the mother. It was held by the Supreme Court in Ram Gopal v. Nand Lal, AIR 1951 S. C. 139, as follows:

'There is no warrant for the proposition that when a grant of an immovable property is made to a Hindu female, she does not gel an absolute or alienable interest in such property, unless such power is expressly conferred upon her. The position is that to convey an absolute estate to a Hindu female, no express power of alienation need be given: it is enough if words are used of such amplitude as would convey full rights of ownership.

The mere fact that the gift of property is made for the support and maintenance of a female relation cannot be taken to be a prima facie indication of the intention of the donor, that the donee was to enjoy the property only during her lifetime. The extent of interest, which the donee is to take, depends upon the intention of the donor as expressed by the language used, and if the dispositive words employed in the document are clear and unambiguous and import absolute ownership, the purpose of the grant would not, by itself, restrict or cut down the interest. The desire to provide maintenance or residence for the donee would only show the motive which prompted the donor to make the gift, but it could not be read as a measure of the extent of the gift:

Where, therefore, a Hindu widow relinquished by a written deed all her rights in certain properties and received under a tamliknama two items of property, house and shop as 'malik' the deed containing no express words showing that she was to enjoy the property only during her lifetime:

Held, on consideration of all the circumstances, that an absolute estate was conveyed to her by the tamliknama, though the gift was expressed to he for her maintenance and residence.'

This decision fully covers the present case, Mr. Gandhi, learned counsel for the appellant, drew my attention to the decision of Lahore High Court in Mt. Malan v. Kishore Chand, AIR 1923 Lah 17, for his contention that in these circumstances, the gift should be held to have been made for life. The decision in Mt. Malan, AIR 1923 Lah 17 does not support the learned counsel's contention. That was given on totally different facts. Moreover, that decision would be no longer good law in view of the decision of the Supreme Court in Ram Gopal's case. AIR 1951 SC 139.

5. No other contention has been advanced.

6. For the reasons recorded above, this appeal fails and is dismissed; but there will be no order as to costs.


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