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K. Appalaraju and ors. Vs. K. Rajagopala Narasaraju and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberLetters Patent Appeal No. 19 of 1946
Judge
Reported inAIR1950Mad595
AppellantK. Appalaraju and ors.
RespondentK. Rajagopala Narasaraju and ors.
Appellant AdvocateP. Somasundaram and ; P. Satyanarayana Raju, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateThe Advocate General and ; V. Parthasarathy, Advs.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Cases ReferredK.K. Ramchandra v. K.K. Lakshmi Narasimha
Excerpt:
- .....which evidences the grant makes it clear that it was 'for the support of the family.' out of this allowance narasaraju ii was making grants to his brothers and cousins. it appears that in all he was paying out a sum of rs. 296/- per month but it is not possible to discover any principle on which he apportioned the amount. after narasaraju's death, a reduced grant at the rate of rs. 500/- per month was made to his eldest son ramachandraraju ii. after his death in 1923 the government made a further reduced grant at the rate of rs. 250/- per month to defendant 1. the plaintiffs who are distant relations of defendant l claimed that they were entitled to share in the allowance granted to defendant 1. they applied to the collector and obtained from him the necessary certificates under the.....
Judgment:

Balakrishna Ayyar, J.

1. This is a Letters Patent appeal by some of the plaintiffs from the judgment of Byers J. dismissing the suit which they and some others had brought for a share in a certain pension.

2. In 1840, the Government either resumed or bought in the zamindary of Ramachandrapuram for arrears of peishcush. Some time between that year and 1846 the Government made a grant of Rs. 400/- per mensem to Ramachandraraju I apparently, solely on compassionate grounds. It is alleged on behalf of the plaintiffs that the grant was made for the maintenance of the family but the relevant document has not been filed and is not before us. Ramachandra died in 1846 and, about two years later, the Government made a grant of Rs. 700/- per month to his eldest son Narasaraju II. Exhibit C which evidences the grant makes it clear that it was 'for the support of the family.' Out of this allowance Narasaraju II was making grants to his brothers and cousins. It appears that in all he was paying out a sum of Rs. 296/- per month but it is not possible to discover any principle on which he apportioned the amount. After Narasaraju's death, a reduced grant at the rate of Rs. 500/- per month was made to his eldest son Ramachandraraju II. After his death in 1923 the Government made a further reduced grant at the rate of Rs. 250/- per month to defendant 1. The plaintiffs who are distant relations of defendant l claimed that they were entitled to share in the allowance granted to defendant 1. They applied to the Collector and obtained from him the necessary certificates under the Pensions Act and instituted the suit out of which this appeal arises to enforce the share they claimed. The learned Subordinate Judge dismissed the suit. On appeal, the District Judge took the view that the plaintiffs were entitled to share in the allowance and remanded the suit for ascertaining the amount payable to the plaintiffs. From the order of remand an appeal was preferred to this Court which was heard by Byers J. He agreed with the Subordinate Judge and dismissed the suit with costs throughout. The present appeal has been brought against that order.

3. In support of his contention that the plaintiffs are entitled to share in the allowance granted to defendant 1, Mr. Somasundaram, their learned Advocate, first relied on Ex. C, a letter dated 8th January 1848 from the Secretary to the Government of India to the Government of Madras, sanctioning the payment of Rs. 700/- to Narasaraju II wherein it is specifically mentioned that the grant was 'for the support of the family', the argument by implication being that the grant to defendant l must have been on the same terms. He next referred to Ex, N series which show that up to 1930 the grantees of the allowance were in their turn making payments to several of their relations. He next placed some reliance on EX. D, a letter written on 1st November 1894 by Ramachandraraju II to a relation of his informing him that a sum of Rs. 38-15-4 was due to him out of the allowance that was being paid to Narasaraju II and asking him to go over and take the money. The argument of Mr. Somasundaram here was that the letter indicates the consciouness of a legal obligation to make the payment. He also referred to Ex. F dated 10th November 1943, which is an application by defendant 1 to the Government for the grant to him of an allowance, in which he stated as follows :

'The petitioner begs to submit that as the family of forty three members which had to be supported at the time of the death of the petitioner's grandfather, Sri Raja Narasaraju Bahadur Garu, now increased to sixty six members any further reduction or extinguishment of the aforesaid pensionary allowance of Rs. 500/- which has been found to be hardly adequate for the bare necessities of that large number of dependants thereon will entail greater hardship and misery for no fault of theirs.'

Mr. Somasundaram finally referred to the unreported decision in K.K. Ramachandra Raju v. K.K. Lakshminarasimha, A. S. no. 232 of 1942 in which a compassionate pension was held to be divisible.

4. There are, however, quite a number of circumstances to be considered on the other side. Though Ex. C shows that the grant referred to in that letter was made 'for the support of the family,' Ex. 4 which evidences the grant to defendant 1 does not show any such thing. That letter merely states 'The Government . . . are pleased to sanction a pension of Rs. 250/- per mensem to M.R. Ry. J. Rajagopala Narasaraju Garu for life with effect from 28-9-1923'. The letter does not say that the grant was for the support of the family. It is clear from the proceedings of the Board relating to this grant that the order of the Government made it plain that the allowance should lapse absolutely on the death of defendant l. There is no justification for reading into Ex. 4 a condition which, though it appears in Ex. 6, the Government did not think fit to incorporate in it. The circumstance that the grant was to lapse absolutely on the death of defendant 1 would be another circumstance tending to show in some degree that the grant was a personal one.

5. Though when a payment is being made for several years we might in some instances infer that it is on account of some obligation, it does not always or necessarily follow that this obligation is one enforceable at law. A voluntary payment does not lose its nature merely because it is being made for a number of years. We have also to take into account the fact that so far as defendant 1 is concerned, Exs. 10 and 11 show that he made the payment only for two years. The plea which defendant l put forward in Ex. F that the size of the family had increased to sixty six is not of much importance because it is commonly noticed that the large majority of people who appeal to the compassion of Government frequently dwell on the size of their families and the difficulty of maintaining them all.

6. Even if in the present case we can treat the grant to defendant 1 as having been made 'for the support of the family' it is difficult to see how the plaintiffs can be treated as members of the family of defendant 1 in any sense of the term. They are not his children or grandchildren; nor are they the wives or husbands of such children or grandchildren. They are not the parents or grandparents of defendant 1. They do not live in the same house with him and he is under no obligation, legal, social or moral, to provide for any of them. Whether we regard the grant to defendant l as in the nature of his personal property or his ancestral property or in the nature of impartible property in his hands, the plaintiffs cannot claim to share in it on any principle of law that has been brought to our notice. The decision in K.K. Ramchandra v. K.K. Lakshmi Narasimha, A. S. 232 of 1942, turned on the history and nature of the pension in that case and has no application to the facts before us.

7. In the result the appeal is dismissed with costs.


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