1. The appellant is a Hindu widow who applied to the lower Court for a succession certificate in respect of a sum of money due to her deceased husband's estate. The respondent is her deceased husband's brother. He objected to the grant of the certificate alleging that he was the deceased man's undivided brother. The learned District Judge has directed the certificate to issue on condition that the appellant should furnish security. Accordingly a question under Sections 373 (3) and 375 arose. Though it seems there was material before him the learned Judge did not think fit to decide this question of fact. He preferred to decide the rights of the widow to the succession certificate purely according to her status and the terms of the will. He said, also : 'Prima facie the will gives the petitioner only a life interest with remainder to reversioners specified.' The will gives the petitioner a life interest in certain immovable properties with remainder to named persons. It also gives her an absolute estate in certain immovable properties. This succession certificate however is concerned with money and the will is silent with regard to that.
2. In order to shorten the litigation in this case we propose to deal with the legal aspect of this matter. There are three decisions of the Allahabad High Court directly in point. The first is Jai Dei v. Banwari Lal (1913) 35 All. 249, where Tudball and Muhammad Rafiq JJ. held that there might be special circumstances for requiring a Hindu widow to give security. In Narain Dei v. Mt. Parmeshwari A.I.R. 1918 All. 406 Richards C.J. and Banerji J. reaffirmed that security should not be taken from a Hindu widow of a separated Hindu asking for a certificate to enable her to collect debts in the absence of special circumstances rendering the taking of security necessary. The learned Judges point out that on an application by a widow the only question which arises when she is admittedly entitled to a certificate is whether there are special circumstances making it expedient that she should be directed to give security. More recently, in Mt. Kausilla v. Sukhdei A.I.R. 1923 All. 579 Walsh and Ryves JJ. dealt with the position in very direct terms. They said : 'In the ordinary way a Hindu widow ought not to be called upon to give security at all. No doubt there are many reversioners who are interested, but it is not the business of the Court to go out of its way to look after the reversioners who have no vested interest and to assume everything against the widow.' With that statement of the law the High Court of Patna has expressed its agreement in Badri Narain v. Lachminia A.I.R. 1935 Pat. 10. The learned Judges had before them exactly the point before us now and they approved in express terms the statement of the law which proceeded from the Bench in Mt. Kausilla v. Sukhdei : AIR1923All579 . We understand there is no direct authority in this High Court. We therefore think it right to express our agreement with the view held by the Allahabad and Patna High Courts. It must be remembered that as pointed out by the Judicial Committee in Vasonji Morarji v. Chandabibi A.I.R. 1915 P.C. 18 the estate taken by a Hindu widow is not to be regarded as an ordinary life estate. Their Lordships approved the statement of Mr. Mayne in Edn. 8 of his Hindu Law at p. 870 to the effect that a Hindu widow's estate 'is not a life estate, because, under certain circumstances she can give an absolute and complete title. Nor is it in any sense an estate held in trust for the reversioners. Within the limits imposed upon her the female holder has the most absolute powers of enjoyment.' It may be that an order requiring a Hindu widow to give security for the realisation of debts due to her husband's estate would in many cases virtually involve a prohibition on the money being collected at all, and becoming barred by limitation. Accordingly, if in fact the deceased and the respondent became divided and in the absence of special circumstances the widow is entitled to a succession certificate without security But the question as to whether they are or not divided has not been determined. We remand the matter for re-hearing to the learned District Judge, who, after he has decided the question of fact relating to the division or otherwise, will deal with the question of the issue of a certificate in the light of the above observations. This is manifestly a case which the District Judge should dispose of as early as possible. The respondent does not appear. He will pay the appellant's costs of this civil miscellaneous appeal in any event and of the proceedings before the learned Judge out of which this appeal arises.