1. The defendant is the appellant. The suit is for a declaration of the plaintiff's title to the suit property and for an injunction restraining the defendant from interfering with her possession.
2. The plaintiff's case is that she purchased the suit property under a registered sale deed dated 7-12-1949 from one Vasudeva Gramani, who was the previous owner of the property, that ever since the purchase, she has been in possession of the suit property and none else has any interest in the same, that the said property is situate in an erstwhile Zamindari, which was taken over by the Government, stood in the name of Vasudeva Gramani, her vendor, that later after the Zamin was taken over by the State of Madras the plaintiff was granted a patta and subsequent to the taking over of the zamin by the State of Madras the plaintiff has been paying kist for the suit land and continues to be in possession of the same, that the defendant has no interest in the suit property, and that he has no title to any part of the suit property and his interference with her possession is unlawful and illegal and the present suit was filed for the reliefs mentioned above.
3. The defendant filed a written statement contending that the suit property originally did not belong to Vasudeva exclusively, but it belonged to four brothers, Vasudeva Gramani, Nandagopal Gramani, Nataraja Gramani and Rajaram Gramani, each having an equal share, that Vasudeva Gramani was not the exclusive owner and that the plaintiff is not entitled to anything more than what her vendor was entitled to. The further defence raised is that the purchase of the suit property from Nataraja and Rajaram on 12-4-1965 was for valuable consideration, that he was put in possession of half of the suit property, that from that day onwards the plaintiff and defendant were in possession of the properties in equal shares, that the plaintiff admitted the right and title of the defendant, that the defendant is enjoying the western half and in the circumstances the plaintiff has no cause of action and that the relief by way of injunction cannot be granted.
4. The trial Court dismissed the suit holding that the suit property was the joint family property of Vasudeva Nandagopal, Nataraja & Rajaram, that Ex. B1 under which the defendant claimed title was a genuine document and that consequently the defendant would be entitled to the eastern half while the plaintiff would be entitled to the western half of the suit property. However, the learned trial Judge erroneously dismissed the suit.
5. The plaintiff filed A.S. 317 of 1966 to the Subordinate Judge of chingleput. The learned Judge held that Vasudeva Gramani was the sole exclusive owner of the suit property and that consequently the plaintiff was entitled to the entirety of the property and that she was put in possession of the suit property as per Ex. A.2 in 1949. The learned Judge Further held that Ex. B.1 would not convey any title to the purchasers. The learned Judge also observed that the Revenue authorities had granted a fair patta Ex. A.5 in 1962 in favour of the plaintiff, although the defendant had also applied for patta. This circumstance was also taken note of by the learned Judge. In the result, the plaintiff's appeal was allowed and the suit decreed as prayed for. The defendant has filed the above second appeal.
6. When the case was taken up for hearing, a memo of compromise entered into between the parties was filed into court. As the plaintiff died during the pendency of the Second appeal, the legal representatives of the plaintiff were brought on record. As some of the legal representatives are minors represented by their guardian, I had to scrutinize the compromise and as I considered that the compromise might not be beneficial to the minors, I directed the second appeal to be heard on merits.
7. The learned counsel for the appellant attacks the finding of the appellate Judge that Vasudeva Gramani was the sole exclusive owner of the property. The contention of the learned counsel is that the purchase by Vasudeva Gramani was not in his individual capacity, but on behalf of the joint family, that the family continues to be joint and that there is no partition in the family and in this connection Exs. B.4 & B.6 were referred to. The materials on record show that Vasudeva Gramani was a member of the joint family consisting of himself and his three younger brothers, Nandagopal, Nataraja and Rajaram. The property appears to have been purchased in the name of Vasudeva Gramani sometime prior to 1949, before the estate was notified and taken over by the Government. When the family continues to be the joint family, there is no reason why the purchase by Vasudeva Gramani in a revenue auction should be exclusively for himself and not for and on behalf of the family of which he was a member. It is, of course, open to a member of a Joint Hindu family to acquire property in his own name. But the acquirer has to establish that the fund for the purchase did not come from the joint family fund but that it was his own. There is no material here to show that the purchase by Vasudeva Gramani in the revenue auction was out of his own funds and therefore the presumption that an acquisition by the head of the joint family should be for the family has to be accepted. If the purchase by Vasudeva Gramani was on behalf of the family, the sale by him to the plaintiff would not convey anything more that what he was entitled to and none of the other members jointed in the sale deed in the favour of the plaintiff nor was it shown that he was acting as the head of the family. I find that two of the four brothers Nataraja and Rajaram sold their half share in the suit property on 12-4-1955 under Ex. B.1 in favour of the defendant. Taking all the circumstances together I consider that the defendant's title to a half share in the suit property has been made out. Further one other circumstance may also be noticed that the plaintiff and the defendant have been in possession and enjoyment of their respective half shares from 1955. The plaintiff is in enjoyment of the western half and the defendant is in enjoyment of the eastern half.
8. In the result, the decree of the trial Court is modified and the plaintiff will be entitled to the western half of the suit property and the defendant to the eastern half of the suit property. To this extent, the second appeal is allowed. The parties will bear their respective costs throughout. No leave.
9. Order accordingly.