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Marangami Rowthen Vs. Karupati Nagur Meera Labbai Rowthen and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFamily;Property
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in(1913)24MLJ258
AppellantMarangami Rowthen
RespondentKarupati Nagur Meera Labbai Rowthen and ors.
Cases ReferredAbdul Valid Khan v. Mussamat Nuroin Bibi
Excerpt:
.....possession you shall enjoy it according to the terms mentioned above. the words of exhibit d clearly are that ismail ammal should enjoy the property itself during her life time and nagore meeranna should have an absolute estate after her..........the gift in favour of nagore meeranna was invalid as it was of an estate in remainder and that the life estate in her own favour would operate as an absolute conveyance. the district munsif was apparently of opinion that her contention was sound. but after coming to that conclusion he observed that 'supposing both the life estate in favour of 1st defendant and vested remainder in favour of her son are void, the document must be treated to have conferred an absolute right on both,' relying on the words 'i give the property to you both.' he held that the instrument must be treated not as a simple gift or hiba but as a sale, as it was made in consideration of the rights of mahar and inheritance of the donees, and that the 1st defendant and her son took as tenants-in-common absolutely and.....
Judgment:

1. The facts necessary for the decision of this Second Appeal may very briefly be stated. Vavukhan Rowther, a Mahomedan, had two wives. The plaintiffs are his sons by his junior wife. By his senior wife he had a son named Nagore Meeranna who died in 1906. The plaintiffs' suit is to recover their share by inheritance in the property of Nagore Meeranna. They put forward two instruments; one of them was a deed of gift, under which item No. 1 of the plaint properties was claimed as belonging to Nagore Meeranna, executed by his natural grand-mother, and the other a deed of settlement executed by Vavukhan in favour of his senior wife, the 1st defendant and his son Nagore Meeranna. The defendants contended that possession was not given under the deed of gift, that it was therefore invalid and that the property therefore did not belong to Nagore Meeranna. This plea has been found against by both the Lower Courts and as there is no legal objection to that finding we must accept it in Second Appeal.

2. With regard to items Nos. 2 and 3 included in the deed of settlement, the plea was that they belonged to the 1st defendant Ismail Ammal herself although the document under which they were purchased was in the name of her husband, and that even if they belonged to the latter, the property belonged to herself under the settlement deed. The Lower Courts have found that the items did not belong to the 1st defendant but to Vavukhan the executant of the deed of settlement. The only question we have to deal with in Second Appeal is as to the rights created by Exhibit D. The substantial portion of the settlement deed is in these terms : 'As I have given you with perfect willingness the undermentioned immoveable property worth Rs. 1,800 for the Mahar and share according to the Mahomedan Law, of Ismail Ammal, one of you and for the share of Nagore Meeranna Rowthen and as I have made you entitled thereto by Inams of this settlement deed, providing that Ismail Ammal one of you shall enjoy it during her life-time and that afterwards Nagore Meeranna Rowthen shall enjoy it from generation to generation and that you shall have no claim whatsoever to the other immoveable and moveable properties that are in my possession you shall enjoy it according to the terms mentioned above.' The 1st defendant's contention is that according to the Mahomedan Law the gift in favour of Nagore Meeranna was invalid as it was of an estate in remainder and that the life estate in her own favour would operate as an absolute conveyance. The District Munsif was apparently of opinion that her contention was sound. But after coming to that conclusion he observed that 'supposing both the life estate in favour of 1st defendant and vested remainder in favour of her son are void, the document must be treated to have conferred an absolute right on both,' relying on the words 'I give the property to you both.' He held that the instrument must be treated not as a simple gift or Hiba but as a sale, as it was made in consideration of the rights of Mahar and inheritance of the donees, and that the 1st defendant and her son took as tenants-in-common absolutely and the plaintiffs would be entitled to their share of Nagore Meeranna's half share.

3. On Appeal the District Judge held that Exhibit D must be treated as a sale and that although the release by Nagore Meeranna of his right of inheritance to the remainder of Vavakhan's properties could not be construed as a valid consideration the dower due to Ismail Ammal was sufficient consideration in law for the conveyance both to her and to her son.

4. In Second Appeal it is contended that the view is wrong and the gift to Nagore Meeranna being of an interest in future was invalid under the Mahomedan Law as according to it delivery of possession is essential to a gift, and that the transaction could not be regarded as a sale in favour of both Ismail Ammal and Nagore Meeranna. We are of opinion that this contention must prevail. There can be no doubt that the conveyance under Exhibit D was of a life estate to Ismail Ammal and of the remainder to Nagore Meeranna. It was suggested that what was conveyed to Ismail Ammal was only the usufruct of the items during her life time. But after perusing the original document we are unable to accept this argument. The words of Exhibit D clearly are that Ismail Ammal should enjoy the property itself during her life time and Nagore Meeranna should have an absolute estate after her death. The ownership is not vested in Nagore Meeranna during the life time of Ismail Ammal. Nor are we able to construe the document as conveying both the life estate and the remainder to both the grantees for a single consideration flowing from both. The life estate is granted to Ismail Ammal in consideration of the Mahar and share due to her according to Mahomedan Law and the remainder is granted to Nagore Meeranna in consideration of the share due to him and the release of his rights to a share in the other properties belonging to the donor. The conveyance of an interest in remainder or interests in future has been frequently held to be invalid according to Mahomedan Law. Where a life estate is given with remainder to another person, the donee of the life estate takes the property absolutely. See Leasemally v. Currimbhoy Ibrahim : (1911)13BOMLR717 Mahamud Ibrahim v. Abdul Latif : (1912)14BOMLR987 where the question is fully discussed by Beaman J., Abdul Karim Khan v. Abdul Quain Khan I.L.R. (1906) A. 342 Muhamad Shah v. Official Trustee of Bengal I.L.R. (1909) C. 431, Abdul Gafur v. Naizamuddin I.L.R. (1893) B. 1 P.Cand Mussamat Hemade and Ors. v. Mussamat Bulden and Government (1871) 17 W.R. 527 Banoo Begam v. Mir Abed Ali I.L.R. (1907) B. 172 has been cited on behalf of the respondent. But that case was one under the Shia Law in which life estates are recognized. We must hold that if the conveyance so far as Nagore Meeranna was concerned was a gift and not a sale it must be held to be invalid. It is contended that it must be regarded as a sale as the grant was in consideration of his releasing his right to inheritance in the property of Vavukhan. The decision of Chandavarkar, J. in Shamsudin v. Abdul Hosain : (1906)8BOMLR252 is in support of this contention. The learned Judge upheld a gift in consideration of the release by the donee of a right to a share in the property of the donor which would descend to her on his death on the ground that the 'transaction was in the nature of a family arrangement by which the father made immediate provision for his daughter, to take effect both in his life time and after his death, and to which the daughter consented in consideration of the present benefit received and the future benefits to be received by her.' The decision of the learned Judge however was reversed on appeal by Jenkins C.J. and Beaman J, in Shamsudin v. Abdul : (1906)8BOMLR781 . We agree with the decision of the Court of Appeal. The right to inherit to a person is not property which can be transferred either according to the Mahomedan Law or according to the general principles of law as recognized in Section 6 of the Transfer of Property Act. We also agree in the view that it cannot be the subject of a valid release for the same reason, and could not therefore form a consideration which would in law justify our treating the conveyance in favour of Nagore Meeranna as a sale. It is not contended that the release of such a right is treated as consideration by the Mahomedan Law. As pointed out in Shamsuddin v. Abdul : (1906)8BOMLR781 the opinion of the majority of Mahomedan Law officers in Mussamat Khan jan v. Mussamat Jan Bibi 4 S.D.A. 220 was to the, contrary. See also Abdul Valid Khan v. Mussamat Nuroin Bibi (1884) L.R. 12 IndAp 91. We are unable to see how the case could be strengthened by speaking of the conveyance as a family settlement. That could not affect the question whether the release of a right of inheritance could be regarded as legal consideration. The conveyance in Exhibit D to Nagore Meeranna must therefore be treated as invalid, and the 1st defendant's contention that she took an absolute estate must be upheld. The suit with respect to items Nos. 2 and 3 must be dismissed. We reverse the decree of the Lower Appellate Court and restore that of the District Munsif with proportionate costs for both sides here and in the Lower Appellate Court.

5. The Memorandum of objections is dismissed with costs.


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