1. This is a suit by a minor aged five to set aside the alleged adoption of the fourth defendant by the first defendant, the plaintiff being the daughter's son of one Subbaraya Pillai, the deceased husband of the first defendant. The adoption is said to have taken place in March 1886, the plaintiff was born in 1893 and this suit was instituted in November 1898.
2. The first question for determination is whether the suit is barred by limitation under Article 118 of the second schedule to the Limitation Act.
3. The District Judge, whilst dismissing the plaintiff's suit on the merits held that the suit was not barred by limitation, but it appears to us to be clearly barred. At the date of the adoption, besides his widow there were two daughters of Subbaraya Pillai, the second and third defendants, the latter being the mother of the plaintiff. That these two daughters was aware of the claim made by the fourth defendant as the alleged adopted son since 1886 is not disputed, and if they had brought a similar suit after six years from March 1886, it would undoubtedly have been barred under Article 118 of the schedule to the Limitation Act. Though this was conceded, it was contended on behalf of the plaintiff that, his right as daughter's son to inherit the estate of his grandfather being independent of the daughter's right, limitation, so far as he is concerned, must be taken to start from the time he became aware of the adoption which could not have been earlier than 1893 when he was born and the suit was brought within six years from that time. On behalf of the respondents it was urged that, in cases like this, daughters as immediate reversioners must be taken to represent the inheritance, and that a remote reversions such as the plaintiff should be held to be a parson claiming through or from the daughters within the meaning of Section 3 of the Limitation Act, and in this view the suit would be barred. This contention seems to us to be unanswerable. To hold otherwise would be holding that the time for reversioners to impeach an adoption is practically unlimited and would be directly opposed to the policy on which Article 118 is based, as it would leave the question of title founded on adoption in a state of uncertainty and open to litigation for ever and a day. It is established law that, with reference to res judicata, a qualified heir, such as the daughter, represents the inheritance, and a decision properly and fairly obtained against her in regard to a matter connected with the inheritance is binding upon persons entitled to take the estate in succession to her as reversionary heirs of the last male owner.
4. Now, with reference to the effect of limitation also a similar view must be taken on principle. A contrary conclusion would be also inconsistence with the ruling of the Judicial Committee in Mussummat Lachan Kunwar v. Anant Singh L.R. 22 IndAp 25 The authorities on which the learned Counsel for the plaintiff laid much stress are decisions in cases governed by Article 141, where limitation does not begin to run till the death of the qualified female owner takes place and the right of the reversioner to possession accrues. Those authorities have no hearing on the present case, for, where a plaintiff's suit depends upon the setting aside of an adoption, Article 118 is the one applicable and recourse cannot be had to Article 141 Parvathi Ammal v. Saminatha Gurukal I.L.R. 20 Mad. 40. The learned Counsel also laid stress on Kandasami v. Akkammal I.L.R. 13 Mad. 195 and other decisions to the effect that the intervention of reversioners with a life estate like the daughters in this case does not preclude a male reversioner entitled to take after them from obtaining a declaration in respect of property alleged to have been improperly alienated by a qualified female owner. Those cases rest on special grounds applicable to declaratory suits in respect of such alienations. But an adoption of a son by a Hindu widow to her husband is of course the introduction of an heir and concerns a matter of status and such an introduction cannot be treated to be in effect nothing more than a mere transfer of property. On the ground that the suit is barred by limitation we dismiss the appeal with costs.