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Chinnappavu Naidu Vs. Meenakshi Ammal and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFamily;Property
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberSecond Appeal No. 1229 of 1966
Judge
Reported inAIR1971Mad453
ActsHindu Succession Act, 1956; Hindu Widow's Re-marriage Act. 1856 - Sections 2
AppellantChinnappavu Naidu
RespondentMeenakshi Ammal and anr.
Cases ReferredBhuri Bai v. Champi Bai.
Excerpt:
.....her gelting husband's estate and becoming absolute owner remarrying after act-estate not forfeited-hindu widow remarriage act (xv of 1856), section 2 will not apply.; on a consideration of the question as to whether after the hindu succession act (xxx of 1956) the disqualification imposed by section 2 of the hindu widow's remarriage act (xv of 1856) continues to have force,; held, section 2 of the hindu widow's re-marriage act provided a hindu widow on re-marriage shall forfeit her right to property which she had inherited from her husband. section 14(1) of the hindu succession act which says that it the widow was possessed of limited estate at the commencement of the act, it would be converted into a full ownership in her, in absolute and unrestricted in its terms and sweep enabling the..........to whether after the hindu succession act, 1956, the disqualification imposed by section 2 of the hindu widow's re-marriage act. 1856, continues to have force. the courts below held that the former act prevails. on a careful consideration we accept that view. the first plaintiff was the widow of the defendant's brother. her husband died in 1955. thereafter she remarried. the defendant was alleged to have trespassed upon the property to which the first plaintiff had succeeded as the heir to her husband and on that claim, she asked for a declaration of her title to the suit properties and for an injunction restraining the defendant from interfering. she also asked for mesne profits in the sum of rs. 8000, being according to her, the value of 80 bags of paddy cut and carried away by him......
Judgment:
1. This second appeal raises an interesting point as to whether after the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, the disqualification imposed by Section 2 of the Hindu Widow's Re-marriage Act. 1856, continues to have force. The Courts below held that the former Act prevails. On a careful consideration we accept that view. The first plaintiff was the widow of the defendant's brother. Her husband died in 1955. Thereafter she remarried. The defendant was alleged to have trespassed upon the property to which the first plaintiff had succeeded as the heir to her husband and on that claim, she asked for a declaration of her title to the suit properties and for an injunction restraining the defendant from interfering. She also asked for mesne profits in the sum of Rs. 8000, being according to her, the value of 80 bags of paddy cut and carried away by him. The lower appellate court while accepting the decree of the trial court declaring the title of the first plaintiff, remitted the suit to the trial court for fresh disposal after the determination of mesne profits. It directed that an issue should be framed on that question and that the parties should be at liberty to direct evidence on that issue. This the lower appellate court did by allowing the memorandum of cross objection filed by the plaintiffs. The lower appellate court even went so far as to permit the plaintiffs to amend the plaint in this regard.

2. Section 2 of the Hindu Widows' Re-marriage Act. 1856, provided that a Hindu widow on remarriage shall forfeit her right to the property which she had inherited form her husband. Now, does this provisions affect the first plaintiff? Learned counsel for the appellant contends that Section 2 of the Hindu Widows' Re-marriage by a widow she should not be able to succeed other husband. In view of this it is said that he forfeiture provided by Section 2 of the Hindu Widows' Re-marriage Act still obtains and it would deprive the first plaintiff of her right to still hold the property of her husband. Though the point is not free fro doubt, a combined reading of Section 4(1)(b), 14, 27 and 28 leaves us with the impression that the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act have overriding effect and Section 14(1). which is absolute and unrestricted in its terms and sweep, enables the first plaintiff to hold the property as absolute owner thereof. The test for the application of Section 14(1) is whether, on the date of the commencement of the Hindu Succession Act. 1956, a Hindu female was in possession of any property as a limited owner. If she was, the limited estate would be converted into full ownership. There is nothing in Section 14(1) or any other section to qualify the absolute ownership or to forfeit her full ownership on her re-marriage. It is true the Legislature was certainly conscious of the disqualification based on re-marriage. Section 24 will incapacitate a widow on her re-marriage from succeeding to the property of her husband. But nowhere as it been stated in the Act that once she has succeeded, her subsequent marriage will forfeit her right to hold the property. On the other hand, clause (b) of Section 4(1) makes it clear that ''any other law in force immediately before the commencement of this Act shall cease to apply to Hindus in so far as it is inconsistent with any of the provisions contained in this Act.'' Section 2 of the Hindu Widows' Remarriage Act 1856, is, to our mind, definitely in conflict with Section 14(1) which says that, if the widow was possessed of a limited estate at the commencement of the Act. it would be converted into a full ownership in her. The intention of the Hindu Succession Act. whether it is deliberate or not, appears to be as its provisions stand, that a subsequent remarriage will not work forfeiture. That is also consistent with authority. Ramaiya v. Mottayya, (FB) held that subsequent unchastity will not make a widow forfeit the property which she has succeeded to her husband on his death. The view we have taken is also supported by a judgment of a single Judge of the Rajasthan High Court in Bhuri Bai v. Champi Bai. . We are, therefore, of the view that the courts below came to the correct conclusion on this aspect of the matter.

3. As to the remit order of the lower appellate court, we are unable to accept it. Though the first respondent had definitely claimed the value of the paddy alleged to have been cut and carried away by the appellant. no evidence was directed on his point. In fact, the plaint was not clear as to the value and the circumstances in which it was done. No issues also had been raised in the trial court. In the circumstances, we do not think that the lower appellate court was justified in making the remit order. We accordingly set it aside. The result would be that the memorandum of cross objections filed by the plaintiffs in the lower appellate court would stand dismissed. The second appeal fails and is dismissed except for the modification mentioned above.

4. The first respondent is entitled to her costs.

5. Appeal dismissed.


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