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Civil Miscellaneous (Original) Tikka Shatrujit Singh and ors. Vs. Brig. Sukhjit Singh - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFamily;Property
CourtDelhi High Court
Decided On
Case NumberInterim Application No. 1532 of 1978 and Suit Appeal No. 1052 of 1977
Judge
Reported inILR1979Delhi321
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC), 1908 - Order 7, Rule 11
AppellantCivil Miscellaneous (Original) Tikka Shatrujit Singh and ors.
RespondentBrig. Sukhjit Singh
Advocates: Madan Bhatia,; Maehswar Dayal,; S. Pappu and;
Excerpt:
.....for herself and on behalf of her minor children against their father claiming partition of the suit property. it was claimed that the father defendant no. 1 instituted a separate suit against his wife (i.e. the mother) claiming some of the properties as his personal and exclusive properties. the claim of the father was emphatically denied by the plaintiffs, and according to them the said claim has given cause of action for institution of the present suit in order to protect their rights in the suit properties. the present application was filed by the defendant no. 1 claiming inter alias that the suit has been instituted by the plaintiff-mother out of self interest in order to claim a share for herself equal to that of the son, and that she had chosen to use minor plaintiffs to press..........no. 4 and defendant no. 2 are entitled to maintenance and marriage expenses on partition out of suit properties. the mother has pleaded that her interests are not in any manner adverse to the interests of her minor children i.e. plaintiffs 1, 2 and 4. the partition has been claimed on the ground that towards the close of 1975 defendant no. 1 dveloped relations with a certain lady residing in delhi and started neglecting the entire family, that in august, 1976 defendant no. 1 deserted the plaintiffs and defendant no. 2 on account of strong objection by plaintiff no. 3 to the intimate involvement of defendant no. 1 with that lady which has caused extreme sufferings and humiliation to the entire family, that the sister of defendant no. 1 reprimanded him for his said relationship and.....
Judgment:

Sultan Singh, J.

(1) This is an application on behalf of defendant No. 1 under Order 7 Rule Ii, Order 32 Rule 9 read with Section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure for rejecting the plaint and/or dismissing the same. Brigadier Sukhjit Singh, (defendant No. 1) is the father and Maharani Gita Devi (plaintiff No. 3) is his wife, plaintiffs I and 2 are their minor sons while plaintiff No. 4 and defendant No. 2 are their daughters.. The plaintiffs filed this suit for partition on 1st December, 1977 alleging that the plaintiffs and defendants are the members of the Mitakshara Hindu un-divided Family, that plaintiffs Nos. I and 2 and defendant No. 1 are the co-parceners and the properties in suit are co-parcenary properties governed by the law of Mitakshara, and are partible, that plaintiffs I and 2 as co-parceners are entitled to sue for partition. The minor sons have sued through their mother as next friend. It is also alleged that the two daughters plaintiff No. 4 and defendant No. 2 are entitled to maintenance and marriage expenses on partition out of suit properties. The mother has pleaded that her interests are not in any manner adverse to the interests of her minor children i.e. plaintiffs 1, 2 and 4. The partition has been claimed on the ground that towards the close of 1975 defendant No. 1 dveloped relations with a certain lady residing in Delhi and started neglecting the entire family, that in August, 1976 defendant No. 1 deserted the plaintiffs and defendant No. 2 on account of strong objection by plaintiff No. 3 to the intimate involvement of defendant No. 1 with that lady which has caused extreme sufferings and humiliation to the entire family, that the sister of defendant No. 1 reprimanded him for his said relationship and thereafter he shifted from the house to Qutab Hotel and subsequently he left Delhi as he was posted out to N.E.F.A. The plaintiffs I and 2 claim l/4th share each in the properties in suit after deducting amounts for maintenance and marriage expenses of the two daughters. It is further pleaded that upon severance of Hindu Undivided Family status and partition, the plaintiff No. 3, the wife. is also entitled to l/4th share in the properties in suit less the Stridhana received by her from defendant No. 1. It is admitted that the defendant No. 1, is entitled to l/4th share Defendant No. 1 is the Karta and manager of the Hindu Undivided Family and is in receipt of the entire income of the poperties in suit. The properties in suit mentioned in paras 8 of the plaint consist of (1) double-storeyed residential house at Plot No. B-90A Greater Kailash-l, New Delhi, (2) commercial flat No. 101 on the 1st Floor of the property known as Surya Kiran, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi, (3) residential house known as Villa Bouna-Vista and cottage Villa Chalat, situated in village Chuharwal, District Kapurthala, (4) residential house in Mussorie known as Chateen besides other movables such as furnitures, shares, carpets, jewellery etc. The shares in Joint Stock Companies are detailed in para 22 of the plaint.

(2) The plaintiffs allege that on 13th January, 1977 defendant No. 1 filed a suit against his wife, (plaintiff No. 3) claiming the jewellery and the properties at Kapurthala and Mussorie with all movables lying therein as his personal and exclusive properties, that he also claimed exclusive rights with respect to the property at B-90A Greater Kailash, New Delhi excepting l/7th share in the said property belonging to plaintiff No. 3. This claim of the defendant No. 1 is emphatically denied by the plaintiffs, and according to them the said claim of the defendant No. 1 has given cause for institution of the present suit for partition of the family properties by the minor sons who are the coparceners, and the suit is to protect their rights in the suit properties. The plaintiffs thus claim a preliminary decree for partition, and thereafter a final decree separating the shares and possession of the parties.

(3) The defendant No. 1 in this application has claimed that the interests of plaintiff No. 3 arc adverse to the interests of minor children, that the suit has been instituted by plaintiff No. 3 purely out of self interest in order to claim a share for herself equal to that of the minor sons, that plaintiff No. 3 is being advised by her friend Shri Anoop Singh at present resident of B-98 Greater Kailash, that since plaintiff No. 3 cannot, under her own right, institute partition proceedings, she has choosen to use plaintiffs No. 1 and 2, her minor sons, as a cover to press her own claim and achieve her selfish end. The defendant No. I also claims rejection of the plaint under Order 7 Rule 11 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(4) The objections to the maintainability of the suit as clarified now at the Bar by the learned counsel for the respondent are that the present suit does not disclose any cause of action and that the suit is barred by law according to the statements made in the plaint. No other point is being pressed by defendant No. 1 with respect to other objections raised by her in the reply dated 10th April, 1978 to I.A. No. 1445 of 1978.

(5) The plaintiffs have filed a reply to this application wherein all the contentions raised by the defendant No. 1 are emphatically denied. The defendant No. 1 has also filed a rejoinder. It is not necessary to reproduce in detail the contents of the reply of plaintiffs supported by affidavit and the rejoinder of defendant No. 1 supported by affidavit. The suit instituted on 13th January, 1977 (Suit No. 35 of 1977) by the defendant No. 1 in this Court claiming the properties as his exclusive properties, is a sufficient ground for the institution of the present suit by the minor plaintiffs I and 2 through their mother to protect their interests. If the minor plaintiffs I and 2 are not protected at this stage, they are likely to suffer irreparable loss. The present suit, is, thereforee, for the benefit of the minors especially when the father has filed a suit separately claiming exclusive ownership of all the properties in suit. Nothing has been brought to my notice to hold that the interests of plaintiff No. 3 (mother) are adverse to the interests of her minor sons plaintiffs Nos. 1 and 2 except bare allegations in the application. I hold that plaintiff No. 3 has no interests adverse to the interests of her minor children. After father, who claims exclusive rights to properties the mother is the proper person to protect the rights of her minor children.

(6) As regards the contention of the learned counsel for the defendant that the plaint does not disclose a cause of action, it appears that necessary allegations of facts in support of claim for partition on behalf of minor co-parceners of the property belonging to the Joint Hindu Family have been made in the plaint. It is stated by the plaintiffs that the properties in suit are the co-parcenary properties, that the defendant No. 1 is claiming exclusive rights to all these properties and that he has been neglecting the entire family because he is in intimate involvement with a certain lady residing in Delhi. On these grounds partition of the properties has been claimed by the minor sons and the suit is for the benefit of minors. The defendant No. 1 is also alleged to have deserted the entire family on account of the said lady. I hold that plaint discloses a cause of action and it cannot be thrown out under clause (a) of Rule 11 of Order 7 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(7) Clause (d) of Rule 11 of Order 7 of the Code of Civil Procedure is as under :

'7(11)The plaint shall be rejected in the following cases:--- (a) .... (b) .... (c) ..... (d) where the suit appears to be on the statement in the plaint to be barred by any law'.

(8) Under this clause the Court has to examine the plaint as it is without any reference to any other document, on the record. Although the defendant No. 1 has filed the written statement but it is not necessary to refer to the written statement. It was also conceded by the learned counsel for the defendant No. 1 that for purposes of deciding the present application and to reject the plaint under clause (d) of Rule 11 of Order 7 of the Code of Civil Procedure, Court has to look into the allegations contained in the plaint alone. The contention of the learned counsel for the defendant No. 1 is that the present suit relates to partition of impartible estate. I do not agree with the submission of the learned cousel for defendant No. 1. The suit pertains to partition of various properties alleged to be belonging to the Joint Hindu Family consisting of defendant No. 1 and other parties to the suit. The plaintiffs claim that the co-parcenary consists of defendant No. 1 and his two sons namely plaintiff Nos. I and 2. The real contest is about the allegations contained in paras 15 and 17 of the plaint on the basis of which it is claimed that the properties in suit and Gaddi of Kapurthala is an impartible property and as such the suit for partition is not maintainable. Paras 15 and 17 of the plaint are as under :

'15.That the grand-father of the defendant No. 1 succeeded to the Gaddi of Kapurthala as the male-heir. The Gaddi itself constituted a valuable property right carrying privileges, title and monetary benefits attached to the Gaddi. All the properties and the Gaddi to which the grand-father of defendant No. 1 succeeded including the income attached to the Gaddi, were ancestral properties in the hands of the grand-father of defendant No. 1. Even otherwise, properties acquired by the grand-father of defendant No. 1 with the aid of any impartible estate became private properties and were governed by the law of inheritance applicable to the Mitakshara school.' '17. That in fact the great grand-father of plaintiffs 1 and 2 (the grand-father of the defendant No. 1), built up Chateau and St. Helens at Mussoorie with the aid of ancestral funds and were his private properties. Even otherwise, the properties acquired with the aid of any impartible estate by the great grand-father or grand-father of plaintiffs I and 2 became Huf properties. Defendant No. 1 and his father did not acquire any property with the aid of the privy purse but even if they did so, it was or at any rate became Huf co-parcenary property as. any property acquired with the aid of impartible estates would become private property with all the incidents of co-parcenary attached to it. All the jewellery pieces of art etc. are ancestral, private properties.'

(9) From the reading of the plaint as a whole and especially these two paragraphs No. 15 and 17 it appears to me that the plaintiffs claim partition of various properties including the properties acquired out of the income, if any, of the impartible estate of the Gaddi of Kapurthala. It is claimed by the plaintiffs that property acquired out of income if any of the impartible estate, is the property of the family and liable to partition. In these circumstances, it cannot be said that the suit relates to only impartible estate. It will be a question of fact whether the properties in suit are or are not impartible. Without going into evidence, it is not possible merely on the allegations contained in the plaint to say that the suit for partition relates to only impartible estate.

(10) In Her Highness Maharani Sarojini Uevi etc. v. The Save the Children Fund etc. I.L.R. 1973 H.P. 1244 it has been held as follows:

'IT is well settled proposition that rule of primogeniture applies only to State properties or impartible estate. It does not apply to private properties which devolve in succession in accordance with the personal law of person owning such property. The rule of primogeniture in Nabha applied only to State properties. A joint Hindu Family may also possess an impartible estate which is devolved by applying the principle of survivorship to the eldest member of the senior most branch. Properties other than impartible in such family are treated as self-acquired properties of the members to whom they belong. Such properties always devolve in accordance with the personal law of inheritance. If it is a joint Hindu Family, the private properties partake the character of co-parcenary property. The law of inheritance applicable to Mitakshara school applies to Sikh community and admittedly the rulers of Nabha State belonged to that community. If Sterling Castle was private property of H.H. Ripudaman Singh, it became joint Hindu family property in the hands of H.H. Pratap Singh and his brothers, and the plaintiffs can claim a partition of such property.'

'IT is settled law that property acquired from the income of impartible estate is self-acquired property and does not partake the character of impartible estate. Such property devolves in succession in accordance with the personal law applicable to the family.'

(11) It has thus been held that there are private properties other than state properties or impartible estate. In the present case defendant No. 1 has to place on record the material to substantiate that all the properties in suit arc not partible especially when the interests of the minors are involved and the defendant No. 1, the father, has separately instituted a suit claiming exclusive title to all the suit properties. It is admitted at the bar by the learned counsel for the defendant No. 1 that the properties inherited by defendant No. 1 originally belonged to his father or grandfather, and devolved upon him under Wills executed in his favor. Under ordinary Hindu law all the properties inherited by defendant No. 1 from his father or grand-father are ancestral properties and as such it appears that will cannot be executed with respect to such properties. I would add that at this stage it is not necessary to decide or to go into the question whether the properties in suit could be bequeathed by will executed by the father or grand-father of defendant No. 1. This is a question to be decided at the trial of the suit. I have made these observations just to rebut the exclusive rights in the properties claimed by defendant No. 1 on the basis of Will.

(12) The learned counsel for the defendant No. 1 has referred to the following judgments and : [1978]1SCR742 . At this stage I am of the opinion that these judgments are not applicable to the facts of the present case without giving the parties an opportunity to lead evidence in support of their respective contentions. The counsel for the plaintiffs has referred to : [1968]3SCR119 in support of his contention that the present suit for partition by the two minor co-parceners, under the facts and circumstances of the present case is maintainable.

(13) Considering all the contentions of the respective parties I am of the view that plaint discloses cause of action and the present suit from the statements contained in the plaint does not appear to be barred under law. I, thereforee, dismiss this application of defendant No. I with no order as to costs.


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