Subba Rao, J.
1. This is an appeal against the order of the Subordinate Judge of Masulipatam, giving a decree in the terms of the award. The appellant is the husband of the respondent. They were married in the year 1930, and in 1944 disputes arose between them, and the wife was living apart from the husband from May 1944. She filed O.S. No. 64 of 1944 on the file of the Subordinate Judge of Masulipatam for recovery of Rs. 30,182-15-7 and also for return of movables. The relief was based upon a claim which is stated in paragraph 10.of the plaint as follows:
Cash, immovable and movable properties mentioned in paragraphs 5 and 6 were intended as stridhanam for the benefit of the plaintiff and her children by the first defendant and were declared as presents in the name of the plaintiff even. If the first defendant's story is that any of the presents were declared in name for the first defendant at the time of the marriage, since they were intended by the givers only for the benefit of the plaintiff, the plaintiff alone has got rights in them; it is so even according to the custom among the kammas. Apart from this, if estrangement results between the wife and husband, dowry and all other kinds of gifts and presents that were made to the bridegroom by the bride's people have to be handed back to the bride after rendering a complete account with interest by the bride-groom or his family. This has been the custom in force from a long time among the Kamma families of Andhra Desa.
Pending the suit the subject-matter of the litigation was referred to three named arbitrators who were advocates of long standing and also belonged to the Kamma community. They passed an award dated 27th January, 1947. In that award they found that the custom and usage set up in paragraph 10 of the plaint was true and valid, and that the custom was ancient and had been consistently acted upon. On that finding they directed the amounts presented by the bride's people either in the name of the plaintiff or in the name of the first defendant at the time of the marriage to be paid over to the plaintiff. Various objections were filed to the award, but the lower Court rejecting them gave a decree in the terms of the award. The first defendant has preferred the appeal against that order.
2. The learned advocate for the appellant contended that the award was illegal within the meaning of Section 30 of the Indian Arbitration Act. His argument was that the custom found by the arbitrators was against public policy inasmuch as it would encourage a wife to get away from her husband with the hope of getting money that was presented at the time of the marriage. We do not agree with this contention. This custom must have had its origin in an attempt made by the Kamma community to stabilise the condition of a woman, who, for one reason or other, had to live apart from her husband. It was conceived in the best interests of women, a section of the public, who would otherwise be put to grave hardships and untold miseries. Not only this custom is not against public policy but is really in the interests of an important section of the public. The custom is not that an unchaste woman, who has been discarded by her husband because of her uneasily, should be given money presented at the time of the marriage. If so, there may be some force in the argument of the learned advocate for the appellant. The custom is really to safeguard the interests of a woman who, for one reason or other, has to live apart from her husband. In our view there is no illegality in the award of the arbitrators and the lower Court was right in passing a decree in terms of the award. The appeal therefore fails and is dismissed with costs.