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Palaniyandi and anr., Minors by their Guardian Vellammal Vs. Veyilamuthu Pillai and 26 ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1929Mad93; (1928)55MLJ579
AppellantPalaniyandi and anr., Minors by their Guardian Vellammal
RespondentVeyilamuthu Pillai and 26 ors.
Cases ReferredPingala Lakshmipathi v. Bommireddipalli Chalamayya I.L.R.
Excerpt:
- - we are clearly of the opinion that in cases where a widow or daughter has an absolute estate and where she purports to sell the property absolutely, the purchaser is entitled to rely upon the title she had and there is no reason to cut down the estate intended to be sold by presuming that the parties intended only to have a widow's estate in spite of the fact that the sale-deed purports to be an absolute sale-deed conferring full title necessity being set out only as enabling the widow to confer such title......this view has been taken in venkatasubba rao v. adinarayana rao (1925) 50 m.l.j. 46, where an inam title deed was in favour of five persons and a similar argument was repelled. we think that the effect of an inam title deed is tantamount to a resumption by the government and ,a re-grant to the persons mentioned in the inam title deed and that what the widow got in the case was the absolute title which was the estate conferred by the grant. if it confers an absolute estate, we do not think we will be justified in cutting down the estate with reference to any other consideration. another argument was advanced by mr. varada-chariar, namely, that as the widow who sold the properties purported to convey only the widow's estate we must take the intention of the parties as to the estate.....
Judgment:

Kumaraswami Sastri, J.

1. This appeal arises out of a suit filed by the plaintiffs as the reversioners of one Sankaralingam Pillai, who died in 1872. Sankaralingam Pillai left a widow Kanthimathi Ammal and a daughter Than-gammal. Thangammal died in 1902 and Kanthimathi Ammal died on the 29th December, 1911. The reversioner according to the plaintiffs at the date of the death of Kanthimathi Ammal when the reversion opened was one Subbiah Pillai, who died on the 1st October, 1917, leaving three sons, the 1st, 2nd and 3rd plaintiffs. The 2nd and 3rd plaintiffs were minors and the 1st plaintiff was a major at the date of the suit. The 1st plaintiff died in 1913 and the 2nd and 3rd plaintiffs continued the suit. It is not disputed that the suit was to declare the plaintiffs as reversioners and set aside the alienations made by the widow and daughter or the widow alone. It is not disputed that these lands which form the subject-matter of the appeal form part of a karnam inam. Sankaralingam Pillai was removed from the office of karnam,about a year before he died but he managed to remain in possession of the lands and on his death his widow continued to be in possession. Subbiah Pillai claimed the lands and the office of karnam and wanted possession of those lands. The Revenue authorities however declined to interfere and referred Subbiah Pillai to a Civil Court. Afterwards Subbiah Pillai released all the lands which formed the karnam emoluments and another item of property which is the subject-matter of Appeal No. 455 of 1923 which we already disposed of. He released his rights to those properties--both the present rights which he had and the rights which he would have as reversioner. He got Rs. 600 as consideration for this release out of the sale of item No. 1 which the widow sold absolutely to a stranger. Ex. IV recites that the widow and the daughter began to alienate properties and create mortgages and this over them and evidently Ex. IV was taken in order to see that there was no trouble caused by the claims of the executant Subbiah Pillai and the various alienees and also to give the widow a right to dispose of the property as she pleased. It is admitted that the inam lands were enfranchised by the Government by Ex. D in the year 1891. Ex. D is granted to both Thangammal, the daughter and Kanthimathi Ammal, the widow. The material portion of the deed is as follows:

This inam, being held for karnam service now otherwise provided for, will be subject to the payment of an annual quit rent of Rs. 11 which is hereby imposed upon it in commutation both of the service and the reversionary interest possessed by the Government in 'tile inam. The inam is now confirmed to you in freehold, in other words the inam will be your own absolute property to hold or dispose of as you think proper, subject only to the payment of the above-mentioned quit rent.

2. So far as Ex. D which forms the root of the title of the widow and the daughter is concerned, it is an absolute title conferred by the Government, giving them the property absolutely to hold or dispose of it as they thought proper, the only covenant being that they should pay the quit rent which the Government imposed upon the land. We think that the effect of the decision of their Lordships of the Privy Council in V&nkata; Jagatmadha v. Veerabhmdrayya I.L.R. (1921) M. 643 : 48 I.A. 244 : 1921 41 M.L.J. 1, is clear. Their Lordships of the Privy Council dissented from the view taken in Pingala Laksh-mipathi v. Bommireddipalli Chalamayya I.L.R. (1907) M. 434 : 1907 17 M.L.J. 101, which in its turn overruled the previous decisions of this Court in Venkata v. Rama I.L.R. (1884) M. 249 and Venkatarayudu v. Venkataramayya I.L.R. (1891) M. 284 and the previous cases on the subject. The effect of the decision of the Privy Council in our opinion is that Ex. D confers upon the widow and the daughter an absolute right to the property and their interests were not merely that of a Hindu widow or daughter succeeding to the property of her husband or father having only a limited right therein. Mr. Varadachari for the appellants attempts to draw a distinction and argues that the joinder of two persons as donees makes a difference as regards the construction of the grant and the interest conferred, that the point has not been touched by the decision of their Lordships of the Privy Council and that in the present case the grant being to two persons, the widow and the daughter, Courts can presume notwithstanding the decision in Venkata Jagatmadha v. Veerabhadrayya I.L.R. (1921) M. 643 : 48 I.A. 244 : 41 M.L.J. 1 that the Government intended to confer an estate limited by the Hindu Law. We are unable to follow this argument. All that the Privy Council decided was that the grant by the Government conferred an estate upon widows which had no reference to any provisions of Hindu Law, that the grant has to be considered according to its own tenor and where a grant is an absolute grant it cannot be cut down by any considerations as to the status of the family and the position of the members (grantees) at the date of the grant. The fact, that other donees are mentioned in our opinion would not make any difference as regards the construction of the grant. This view has been taken in Venkatasubba Rao v. Adinarayana Rao (1925) 50 M.L.J. 46, where an inam title deed was in favour of five persons and a similar argument was repelled. We think that the effect of an inam title deed is tantamount to a resumption by the Government and ,a re-grant to the persons mentioned in the inam title deed and that what the widow got in the case was the absolute title which was the estate conferred by the grant. If it confers an absolute estate, we do not think we will be justified in cutting down the estate with reference to any other consideration. Another argument was advanced by Mr. Varada-chariar, namely, that as the widow who sold the properties purported to convey only the widow's estate we must take the intention of the parties as to the estate which was intended to be granted to be regulated by the law in force at that time and that as the law after Pingala Lakshmipathi v. Bommireddipalli Chalamayya I.L.R. (1907) M. 434 : 1907 17 M.L.J. 101 was that in such cases notwithstanding the absolute terms of the inam grant the widow took only a limited estate, it was that estate which was bargained for and sold. He refers to the decision in the Kannivadi case Abdul Aziz Khan v. Appaya-sami Naicker I.L.R. (1903) M. 131 : 31 I.A. 1 as supporting his contention. I do not think that these considerations apply to the present case. It is clear that what was sold by the widow and what was intended to be purchased by the vendees was the full title to the property. The consideration was fixed with reference to the passing of an absolute title. That absolute title, if the property was property held by the vendor in a limited estate which is provided for by Hindu Law in the case of widows or daughter, can only be conferred in cases of necessity which would in Hindu Law justify an alienation. For that purpose the necessity was recited in the document. But if in fact the vendor had an absolute estate granted by the Government it is difficult to see why the purchaser should not take an absolute estate because that was the estate which the vendor and the vendee agreed to pass. In the one case it would be necessary to prove facts justifying the widow in giving an absolute title and in the latter case to prove a grant giving her such title. We are clearly of the opinion that in cases where a widow or daughter has an absolute estate and where she purports to sell the property absolutely, the purchaser is entitled to rely upon the title she had and there is no reason to cut down the estate intended to be sold by presuming that the parties intended only to have a widow's estate in spite of the fact that the sale-deed purports to be an absolute sale-deed conferring full title necessity being set out only as enabling the widow to confer such title. It is unnecessary in the view we take on these two points to consider whether the release Ex. IV was as regards the properties covered by the karnam inam, merely a release of the then existing rights claimed by the executant or the reversionary rights also. The appeal fails and is dismissed with costs. One set of costs for the contesting respondents.

Reilly, J.

3. I agree. In connection with Mr. Varada-chariar's suggestion that the vendees in this case may have intended only to buy the interests of the widow and daughter (the sale-deed with which we are concerned, I understand, were executed by both Kanthimathi Ammal and her daughter Than-gammal) it is not only to be noticed that the sale-deeds purport to convey an absolute title but that the principle that the vendees can get only the benefit of some lesser estate, which according to their appreciation or supposed appreciation of the law at the time was available for them, does not apply. From the statement given by the plaintiffs on the 4th November, 1918 it appears that all these alienations were made before 1907, that is, before the date of the Full Bench decision in Pingala Lakshmipathi v. Bommireddipalli Chalamayya I.L.R. (1907) M. 434 : M.L.J. 101 on the basis of which Mr. Varadachariar suggests that they could have supposed only that they were buying the widow's and daughter's interests. Mr. Varadachariar suggested that that statement of the plaintiffs was not to be taken too strictly in the matter of dates because there is some indication in it that they wished to contend that some of these alienations were not real but were merely benanri transactions by which Kanthimathi Ammal and Thangammal were to retain their interest in the property. In regard to that it is only necessary to say that it is quite clear that at the trial the suggestion was not pressed and there is no issue about it. I agree that the appeal must be dismissed with costs.


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