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Adilakshmi and anr. Vs. Venkataramayya - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty;Civil
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in(1903)13MLJ359
AppellantAdilakshmi and anr.
RespondentVenkataramayya
Cases ReferredAyyadori Pillai v. Solai Ammal I.L.R.
Excerpt:
.....rate when, as here, the reversioner who brought the former suit and the reversioner who brings the present suit both stand in the same grade of relationship and are both equally entitled to succeed on the determination of the life estate. in this case it does not apply to the original estate of budnath, as to which the plaintiffs are clearly right and the defendants clearly wrong in their contention. nor is it readily conceivable that the decision will be fruitless ;because the question of law is of such a nature that its decision, though not binding as res judicata between the widows and a new reversioner would be so strong an authority in point as probably to deter either party from disputing it. i think this is clearly not so. claim were well-founded one of the plaintiffs was bound to..........ground that she did so, in the pre. sent case it cannot be said that the plaintiff in the former suit represented the inheritance or that the present plaintiff claims through the former plaintiff: both claim as heirs of the last male owner, the husband of the widow.3. it was also argued on behalf of the appellant that the claim of the plaintiff in the present suit is barred by reason of an adjudication in a suit in 1894 in which the widow and the alleged adopted son were co-plaintiffs. there was no issue with reference to the question of adoption but the decree was in favour of both plaintiffs. in this state of things it was suggested that expl. ii to section 13 of the code of civil procedure applies. i think this is clearly not so. the claim in that suit was made in the alternative,.....
Judgment:

Arnold White, C.J.

1. The main contention put forward on behalf of the appellants in this case was that the claim is barred as res judicata by reason of the adjudication in a suit brought in 1896 by another reversioner, the plaintiff's elder brother, in which the then plaintiff sought to have the alleged adoption set aside. This suit was dismissed upon the ground that it was barred by limitation. The point now relied on was not raised in the issues and was not taken in the Courts below. Strictly speaking, therefore, the appellants were not entitled to raise it here. We, however, allowed the question to be argued. The period of limitation prescribed by Article 118 of the second schedule to the Limitation Act of 1877 for obtaining a declaration that an alleged adoption is invalid, or never in fact took place, is six years from the time when the alleged adoption became known to the plaintiff. The arguments urged on behalf of the appellants have failed to satisfy me that a meaning other than the natural meaning should be given to the words 'becomes known to the plaintiff' at any rate when, as here, the reversioner who brought the former suit and the reversioner who brings the present suit both stand in the same grade of relationship and are both equally entitled to succeed on the determination of the life estate. In the present case the present plaintiff in no sense claims through the former plaintiff, whilst the former plaintiff did not purport to sue, and did not, as it seems to me, either in fact or in law sue as representing the inheritance. The question has been considered by the Privy Council on more than one occasion. In the judgment of the Privy Council in Isri Dutt Koer v. Mussumut Hansbutti Koerain 10 I.A. 150 their Lordships, in dealing with a suit brought by a reversioner during the lifetime of the widow to have an alienation made by the widow declared to be void, except for her life, observe (on p. 157). ' The only reason assigned for refusing relief, on the ground of discretion is that part of the case raises a difficult point of law, the decision of which, though involving expense and delay, may after all not be binding upon the actual reversioners. That may be a reason more or less weighty according to circumstances. In this case it does not apply to the original estate of Budnath, as to which the plaintiffs are clearly right and the defendants clearly wrong in their contention. Nor is it readily conceivable that the decision will be fruitless ; because the question of law is of such a nature that its decision, though not binding as res judicata between the widows and a new reversioner would be so strong an authority in point as probably to deter either party from disputing it.'

2. On principle there would seem to be no distinction so far as the point now before us is concerned between a suit for a declaration that an alienation is invalid and a suit for a declaration that an alleged adoption is invalid. The decision of the Full Bench of the Allahabad High Court in Bhagwanta v. Sukhi I.L.R. 22 A. 33 is in point, and it seems to me that that decision is right. The decision of this Court in Ayyadori Pillai v. Solai Ammal I.L.R. 24 M. 405 upon which the appellants strongly relied, went upon the ground that the daughter, the party against whom the earlier decree had been obtained, represented the inheritance and that a decision against the daughter in regard to a matter connected with the inheritance was binding on persons entitled to take the estate in succession to her as reversionary heirs of the last male owner. It is not necessary for us to consider whether on the facts of that case we should agree with the view taken by the judges that the daughter represented the inheritance. It is quite clear that the judgment was based upon the ground and only on the ground that she did so, In the pre. sent case it cannot be said that the plaintiff in the former suit represented the inheritance or that the present plaintiff claims through the former plaintiff: Both claim as heirs of the last male owner, the husband of the widow.

3. It was also argued on behalf of the appellant that the claim of the plaintiff in the present suit is barred by reason of an adjudication in a suit in 1894 in which the widow and the alleged adopted son were co-plaintiffs. There was no issue with reference to the question of adoption but the decree was in favour of both plaintiffs. In this state of things it was suggested that Expl. II to Section 13 of the Code of Civil Procedure applies. I think this is clearly not so. The claim in that suit was made in the alternative, and the then defendant was not bound to make it a ground of defence that no adoption had taken place.

4. If the. claim were well-founded one of the plaintiffs was bound to succeed, adoption or no adoption.

5. I think both the appellant's contentions fail and that this appeal should be dismissed with costs.

Moore, J.

6. I concur.


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