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Katuri Dharmarao Vs. Manepalli Bapanayya and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFamily
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported in(1941)1MLJ15
AppellantKaturi Dharmarao
RespondentManepalli Bapanayya and ors.
Cases ReferredChinnu Pillai v. Kalimuthu. Chetti
Excerpt:
- - , concurred, indicated a strong preference for the decision in rangasami v......detail he held that the alienation was binding on the sons. the appellant filed an appeal to the district judge of kistna. the district judge disagreed with the finding of the subordinate judge that the alienation was binding on the sons. he considered that it had been proved that the father had lived an immoral life. he rejected the appeal, however, on the ground that the property alienated represented less than one-third of the estate and as the father was at the time of alienation entitled to a third share in the joint estate the alienation should not be set aside.2. the appellant has now appealed to this court. he contends that the district judge should have held that the father was not entitled to more than one-sixth of the family property as three sons were born subsequent to the.....
Judgment:

Alfred Henry Lionel Leach, C.J.

1. The appellant was the plaintiff in a suit filed in the Court of the Subordinate Judge of Bezwada in which he asked for partition of the family properties and for possession of his share. He also asked the Court to set aside an alienation made by his father on the 10th September, 1921. The family estate then consisted of two house sites in the town of Bezwada, one site measuring 290 sq. yards and the other 720 sq. yards. On each site was a house built of mud and stone. The property alienated by the father was the first of these properties. At that time the joint family consisted of the father (the sixth respondent in this appeal) and his two sons (the appellant and his younger brother, the second respondent). Both the sons were then minors. Three other sons were born to the father between the years 1921 and 1931. They are the third, fourth and fifth respondents. The plaint contained the usual allegation that the father had lived a debauched life and that the property had been sold in order that he might indulge in his depraved habits. The Subordinate Judge rejected this plea and in a judgment in which he considered the evidence in detail he held that the alienation was binding on the sons. The appellant filed an appeal to the District Judge of Kistna. The District Judge disagreed with the finding of the Subordinate Judge that the alienation was binding on the sons. He considered that it had been proved that the father had lived an immoral life. He rejected the appeal, however, on the ground that the property alienated represented less than one-third of the estate and as the father was at the time of alienation entitled to a third share in the joint estate the alienation should not be set aside.

2. The appellant has now appealed to this Court. He contends that the District Judge should have held that the father was not entitled to more than one-sixth of the family property as three sons were born subsequent to the alienation. In support of this contention the appellant relies on the decision of the Full Bench of this Court in Rangasami v. Krishnayyan (1891) 1 M.L.J. 603 : I.L.R. 14 Mad. 408, ignoring entirely the subsequent Full Bench decision in Chinnu Pillai v. Kalimuthu Chetti : (1911)21MLJ246 and the numerous decisions which regarded this case as settling the law. For the alienee, the first respondent, it has been contended that there was no justification for the finding of the District Judge that the father had lived an immoral life. The Court is asked to reverse the judgment of the District Judge on this point and restore that of the Subordinate Judge; but it is not open to the first respondent to raise this contention, because he has not printed the evidence. In these circumstances it does not lie in his mouth to say that there was no justification for the District Judge's conclusion. The Court is not in a position to investigate the question. The finding of the first appellate Court on a question of fact is binding here unless it can be shown that the finding is without foundation and without the evidence that cannot be shown.

3. The only real point in this appeal is whether the case is governed by Rangasami v. Krishnayyan (1891) 1 M.L.J. 603 : I.L.R. 14 Mad. 408 and a glance through the cases which have been decided by this Court since then shows that this Court has repudiated that decision and has held that the decision in Chinnu Pillai v. Kalimuthu Chetti : (1911)21MLJ246 is to be regarded as settled law. In Rattgasami v. Krishnayyan I.L.R.(1902)Mad. 690 , a Full Bench, consisting of Collins, C.J., and Muthuswami Aiyar, Parker and Shephard, JJ., held that when a member of a joint family sells his share in the family property that share must be computed with reference to the state of the joint family at the date of the suit, not at the date of the alienation. If that decision were to be followed it is clear that it would mean that in this case the respondent would only be entitled to a one-sixth share in the estate, because at the date of the suit the family consisted of six members. The wisdom of the decision in Rangasami v. Krishnayyan I.L.R. (1902) Mad. 690 was doubted by Bashyam Aiyangar, J., in Aiyyagari Venkataramayya v. Aiyyagari Ramayya I.L.R.(1902)Mad. 690 . Bashyam Aiyangar, J., who relied on the decisions of the Privy Council in Deen-dyal Lal v. Jugdeep Narain Singh , was of the opinion that the share should be computed from the date of the alienation and not from the date of the suit--This judgment led to the question being by a Full Bench of five Judges in Chinnu Pillai Kalimuthu Chetty : (1911)21MLJ246 . The' Bench consisted of White, C.J. and Benson, Munro, Sankaran Nair and Krishnaswami Aiyar, JJ. After the arguments had been closed Krishnaswami Aiyar, J., was appointed the Law Member of the Governor's Council. This appointment was made before judgment was delivered and the question was raised whether the Court, being then composed of only four members, was competent to deliver judgment. With a view to solving the difficulty the learned Chief Justice reconstituted the Bench, the only difference being the Hon'ble Mr. Krishnaswami Aiyar was not included. Counsel had nothing to add to the arguments which had previously been addressed to the Court and the four members who composed it thereupon proceeded to deliver judgment. They were of the opinion that under Hindu Law an alienee of the interest of a coparcener is entitled to enforce his claim against the family estate on the basis of the vendor's right at the time of the alienation. This meant that the decision in Rangasami v. Krishnayyan (1891) l M.L.J. 603 : I.L.R. 14 Mad. 408 was repudiated.

4. It is said by the learned Counsel for the appellant in this case that as there are here two Full Bench decisions, each by a Court composed of four Judges, he is entitled to rely On the earlier decision, but this argument cannot be accepted because as I have already indicated this Court has held that the later decision settled the law, so far as this province is concerned. In Baluswami Aiyar v. Lakshmana Aiyar : (1921)41MLJ129 , the question was considered by Wallis, C J., and Oldfield and Kumaraswami Sastri, JJ. The leading judgment was delivered by Kumaraswami Sastri, J., and in it the learned Chief Justice and Oldfield, J., concurred. After referring to Rangasami v. Krishnayyan (1891) l M.L.J. 603 : I.L.R. 14 Mad. 408 and Chinnu Pillai v. Kalimuthu Chetti : (1911)21MLJ246 , Kumaraswami Sastri, J., said : .

It may therefore be taken as settled that there is no fluctuation in the share to which the alienee is entitled and that his share will be the share of the vendor at the date of the alienation, subject of course to the equities in favour of the other members of the family against the transferor.

5. Other cases in which the same view has been taken are Sivagnanam Servaigar v. Ramasami Chettiar (1911) 22 M.L.J. 85, Ganesh Row v. Tulja Ram Row (1913) 26 M.L.J. 460, Seetharam Naidu v. Balakrishna Naidu (1913) 26 M.L.J. 604, Doraisami Sirumadan v. Nondisami Saluvan (1912) 25 M.L.J. 405 : I.L.R. 38 Mad. 118 , Soundararajan v. Saravana Pillai : (1916)30MLJ592 , Subba Goundan v. Krishnamachari (1921) 42 M.L.J. 372 : I.L.R. 45 Mad. 449 Ramaswami Aiyar v. Venkatarama Aiyar : AIR1924Mad81 and Vasireddi Balachandrasekhara Varaprasad Bahadur v. Mallela Lakshmindrasimham : AIR1940Mad9691 .

6. The only dissentient note was struck in Muthukumara Sthapathiar v. Sivanarayana Pillai (1932) 64 M.L.J. 66 : I.L.R. 56 Mad. 534, which was decided by Jackson and Mockett, JJ. The decision given was in accord with Chinnu Pillai v. Kalimuthu Chetti : (1911)21MLJ246 , but Jackson, J., in the course of his judgment in which Mockett, J., concurred, indicated a strong preference for the decision in Rangasami v. Krishnayyan (1891) 1 M.L.J. 603 : I.L.R. 14 Mad. 408. Inasmuch as Chinnu Pillai v. Kalimuthu Chetti : (1911)21MLJ246 , had in numerous judgments extending over a period of twenty years been accepted as settling the law, it is with great respect, difficult to understand the need for this further discussion. In view of what has gone before Chinnu Pillai v. Kalimuthu. Chetti : (1911)21MLJ246 , must be followed and therefore the appellant's main contention must be rejected.

7. The only other question which the Court is called upon to consider is whether the District Judge was wrong in allocating the alienated property to the vendor's share. We agree with the District Judge that it represented less than what the father was entitled to as his share of the family property, at the date of the alienation. The land is less than one-third of the whole estate in area and the record shows that the house which stood upon it was of very little value.' It has transpired in the course of the hearing that the first respondent as the owner of the site has built upon it a residence at a cost of some Rs. 20,000. This; probably explains the origin of this suit.

8. The appeal will be dismissed with costs in favour of the first respondent.

9. The first respondent has filed a memorandum of cross-objections as the District Judge has disallowed his costs in the District Court and in the trial Court. This cannot be justified and the costs will be allowed. The first respondent will get his costs here and in the two Courts below with costs on the memorandum of cross-objections.


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