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P.R.M. Thiruvenkatasami Naidu Vs. K.R.P.R.A.L. Ranganathan Chettiar by Agent Ramaswami Naidu and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFamily
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1934Mad496; (1934)66MLJ310
AppellantP.R.M. Thiruvenkatasami Naidu
RespondentK.R.P.R.A.L. Ranganathan Chettiar by Agent Ramaswami Naidu and anr.
Cases ReferredMiri Mal v. Kanshi Prasad
Excerpt:
- .....there was a further direction that the interest accruing on this sum should be paid over to the minor's guardian. in the present appeal filed by the appellant (1st respondent in the* aforesaid o.p.) it is contended that the lower court had no jurisdiction to appoint a guardian for the minor in the circumstances of this case. the first objection is, that the petitioner had no locus standi to apply under section 7 of the act. the second objection is that when the money in question is not the undisputed property of the minor, the court has no power to appoint a guardian in respect of a disputed claim, and thirdly, the order directing the deposit of the money in a bank and the payment of the interest accruing thereon to the minor is attacked as an order which could not have been passed.....
Judgment:

Sundaram Chetty, J.

1. This Civil Miscellaneous Appeal arises out of an order passed by the District Judge of Madura in O.P. No. 6 of 1931 filed under Section 7 of the Guardian and Wards Act. This petition was put in for the appointment of a guardian for the minor, T. Tirupathi, aged about 14, in respect of a sum of Rs. 1,825-14-3 alleged to have been in deposit with the petitioner (the present 1st respondent) on behalf of the said minor. In this O.P. the minor's maternal grandfather was added as the 1st respondent and the minor's natural father as the 2nd respondent. The petitioner offered to deposit that sum in Court and also asked the Court to appoint either of the respondents as the guardian of the minor in respect of this particular fund on his furnishing security therefor. Some other prayers also were made in the aforesaid O.P. The appellant contested the petition mainly on the ground that the money which was in deposit with the petitioner did not really belong to the minor, but it was the money belonging to himself. As regards title to this fund, there was doubtless a dispute. The learned District Judge without making any enquiry as to the ownership of the fund in question proceeded to appoint the 2nd respondent as the guardian of the person and property of the minor and also directed the amount deposited by the petitioner to be placed as a fixed deposit for six months in the local Co-operative Bank. There was a further direction that the interest accruing on this sum should be paid over to the minor's guardian. In the present appeal filed by the appellant (1st respondent in the* aforesaid O.P.) it is contended that the Lower Court had no jurisdiction to appoint a guardian for the minor in the circumstances of this case. The first objection is, that the petitioner had no locus standi to apply under Section 7 of the Act. The second objection is that when the money in question is not the undisputed property of the minor, the Court has no power to appoint a guardian in respect of a disputed claim, and thirdly, the order directing the deposit of the money in a Bank and the payment of the interest accruing thereon to the minor is attacked as an order which could not have been passed when the minor's title to the money itself remained unsettled.

2. As regards the first objection, we think that the petitioner may be deemed to have filed this petition as a friend of the minor within the meaning of Section 8, Clause (b) of the Act. The word 'friend' in this clause is not defined. In the present case, the petitioner representing this fund to be the minor's property has filed the petition in order to have a guardian appointed for the minor who would take charge of this fund. The appellant admits in his counter that this money was deposited with the petitioner in the minor's own name, though he disputes the right of the minor to this fund. Prima facie, this petition must be deemed to have been put in by the petitioner in the minor's interest, and we can treat this petition as having been filed by one who is a friend of the minor. There is not, therefore, much substance in the objection that the petitioner has no locus standi to file the petition.

3. The question whether the fund really belongs to the minor or to his maternal grandfather cannot be decided in this petition filed under Section 7 of the Guardian and Wards Act. The mere fact that the appellant disputes the minor's right is not enough to oust the jurisdiction of the Court to appoint a guardian for the minor in respect of this fund. In order to enable the minor to have his right established to the fund in a properly framed suit, the appointment of a guardian may be necessary. Any such appointment will be conducive to the welfare of the minor. The view taken by the Lahore High Court in an almost similar case in a decision reported in Miri Mal v. Kanshi Prasad (1926) 93 I.C. 328 is in support of the 1st respondent's contention. In that case, the application for the appointment of a guardian was resisted by another person who claimed to be the owner of the fund in deposit in respect of which a guardian was sought to be appointed. It is observed that it is sufficient that the minor has prima facie a claim to it in order to enable the Court to appoint a guardian. In the present case, the appointment of the minor's father as guardian for his property (which, of course, is the fund in question) does not in any way prevent the rival claimant from setting up his claim in a separate suit. When the petitioner offered to bring this money into Court which was made the subject-matter of the O.P. there was nothing wrong if the Court allowed this sum to be deposited as prayed for. If this amount were the subject-matter of a suit, such an order would be permissible under Rule 10 of Order 39, Civil Procedure Code. By virtue of Section 141, Civil Procedure Code, the same procedure can be adopted in a petition filed under the Guardian and Wards Act. By reason of the deposit into Court there is no prejudice to the appellant, because the amount was deposited by the petitioner of his own accord and at his risk. Any claim which the appellant may have against the 1st respondent for interest will not in any way be affected by the Court having ordered the investment of this fund in the Bank. The fund will remain as a deposit to the credit of this O.P. subject to the result of a suit between the minor and the appellant as regards the title to it. When the rights of the appellant as against the 1st respondent (petitioner) are in no way jeopardised there can be no reasonable objection to the money remaining in Court deposit.

4. The order appealed against is certainly irregular in more respects than one. When there is no prayer for the appointment of a guardian for the person of the minor, the Court has chosen to appoint the minor's father as the personal guardian. When the petition itself was filed with respect to this particular fund as the property of the minor, the order of the Lower Court is in general terms, viz., that the 2nd respondent is appointed as the guardian of the property of the minor. When the very title to the fund in Court is in dispute, the Lower Court should not have directed the payment of interest accruing thereon to the guardian of the minor. The order of the Lower Court requires a material modification on account of these errors.

5. In the result, the order of the Lower Court is modified and, in substitution for it, we pass an order appointing the present 2nd respondent as the guardian of the property of the minor, viz., the fund in question. This sum of money and the interest accruing thereon should remain in deposit in Court to the credit of the aforesaid O.P. till the question of title to this money is decided by a competent Court. The discretion of the Lower Court as to how this fund should be invested is not in any way fettered by this order. In the event of the minor's title to the money being established and his guardian drawing the money, he must first furnish security and then draw it. We make no order as to costs.

6. The memorandum of objections is dismissed but without costs.


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