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Rajammal and ors. Vs. Kannammal - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. Petn. No. 769 of 1949
Judge
Reported inAIR1950Mad695
ActsCode of Civil Procedure (CPC) , 1908 - Order 6, Rule 17
AppellantRajammal and ors.
RespondentKannammal
Appellant AdvocateN.R. Raghavachariar ; and V.C. Sri Kumar, Advs.
Respondent AdvocateA. Nagarajan ; and A. Viswanathan, Advs.
DispositionPetition allowed
Excerpt:
- - it has also been well established by a series of authorities that this moral obligation becomes a legal one when the property of the deceased father is inherited by the heirs......judge of north arcot at vellore refusing to grant the application of the petitioner to amend the written statement or in the alternative to receive additional written statement under order 8, rule 9 and order 6, rule 17 and section 151, civil p. c.2. the case of the petitioners is that the respondent in this petition obtained a decree from the district munsif's court of arni granting her maintenance from out of the properties of her father, and in the hands of his heir. the respondent is a widow and she was not able to get any maintenance from her own husband's estate. relying on the contention that she did not get any maintenance from her own husband's estate, the district munsif decreed maintenance to the respondent to be paid from out of the properties in the hands of the.....
Judgment:
ORDER

Basheer Ahmed Sayeed, J.

1. This petition is against the order of the learned District Judge of North Arcot at Vellore refusing to grant the application of the petitioner to amend the written statement or in the alternative to receive additional written statement under Order 8, Rule 9 and Order 6, Rule 17 and Section 151, Civil P. C.

2. The case of the petitioners is that the respondent in this petition obtained a decree from the District Munsif's Court of Arni granting her maintenance from out of the properties of her father, and in the hands of his heir. The respondent is a widow and she was not able to get any maintenance from her own husband's estate. Relying on the contention that she did not get any maintenance from her own husband's estate, the District Munsif decreed maintenance to the respondent to be paid from out of the properties in the hands of the petitioners. The petitioners before me have filed an appeal against that decision and that appeal being 182 of 1948 is still pending. After the decree and after the filing of the appeal, the petitioners have come to know that the respondent has been leading an unchaste life and that on 15th October 1948 she gave birth to an illegitimate child. Having come to know this state of things the petitioners have applied to the District Judge by I. A. No. 127 of 1949 for amending their written statement filed in the suit raising a defence to the effect that the respondent in the appeal having become unchaste forfeits the right to the maintenance decreed in her favour by the decree of the lower Court.

3. Prior to this application, it transpires that the petitioner also made two other applications, one being 591 of 1948 for receiving additional evidence in the appeal and the other being 68 of 1949 for excusing the delay in filing additional evidence which came into their possession later. Both these applications were dismissed. It is not necessary for me to refer in detail to those applications for the purpose of this application, except to say, that in the first of the said applications, the petitioner stated that they had a serious suspicion that the respondent in the appeal was leading an unchaste life and since they had not material enough to conclusively prove that she was unchaste and out of consideration for the reputation of the family, they did not raise it as a defence to the suit when it was tried by the District Munsif.

4. The contention that is now to be considered in this petition is whether the petitioners are entitled to have the written statement amended or in the alternative to file an additional written statement. It cannot be disputed that a written statement or a plaint could be amended at any stage, if there are sufficient grounds shown for the purpose. In this case, the petitioner's contention is that since it has become established by reason of the certificate of birth obtained by the petitioners that the decree-holder, namely, the respondent in the appeal before the learned District Judge, has been leading an unchaste life and has subsequently given birth to an illegitimate child, she would not be entitled any more to receive the maintenance allowance that has been granted to her by the decree in the suit No. 105 of 1945. It is the established law that there is a moral obligation on the Hindu father to maintain a widowed daughter. It has also been well established by a series of authorities that this moral obligation becomes a legal one when the property of the deceased father is inherited by the heirs. But this legal obligation is based on the principle that the heirs take the property for the spiritual benefit of the propositus. But no authority has been placed before me by the counsel for the petitioners or by the counsel for the respondent on the point that a widowed daughter of a Hindu father receiving maintenance from out of the property of her father in the hands of the heirs will be entitled to continue to receive the maintenance allowance notwithstanding the fact that she has become unchaste. This is an important point of law that has not yet been decided by any Court in this country and it will not be proper on my part to decide this important question of Hindu law in the course of a civil revision petition of the type which I am now disposing of. Since if is an important question of law which arises in the petition filed by the petitioner before the learned District Judge and since it is a very important legal question the benefit of which the petitioners are entitled to take, it will be in the interests of parties that an opportunity should be afforded to both parties for that question being discussed and decided upon. It is also apparent that this matter as to whether a widowed daughter of a Hindu father will forfeit her right to maintenance from out of her father's estate in the hands of his heirs by reason of her proved unchastity, can be agitated in separate proceedings notwithstanding the result of the appeal now pending before the learned District Judge. It will also be the case that the same result will follow if the matter is agitated in the course of the appeal, by means of the present petition for amendment of the written statement being allowed.

5. After a careful consideration of all aspects of the case, I consider that it will meet the ends of justice and also avoid multiplicity of proceedings if the petition of the petitioners for amendment of the written statement or filing of additional written statement is granted. It will not be in the interests of the parties either, particularly the respondent, that she should be allowed to face further litigation and put to unnecessary expenses and delay in securing her right to maintenance, if the proposition of law contended for by the petitioners is not ultimately upheld.

6. In this petition, I do not think that any question of allowing starvation allowance to the widowed daughter, who is the respondent in the appeal before the District Judge, arises. On the whole, I consider that there is a substantial ground for allowing the petition for amendment of the written statement. I set aside the order of the learned District Judge and direct that the petition for amending the written statement or in the alternative for receiving the additional written statement should be allowed. Since the petitioners are receiving an indulgence and that too at a very late stage in the course of the appeal, it will be but right and proper that the petitioner should be directed to pay Rs. 75 to the respondent before the additional written statement or amendment is received by the Court. The written statement will be filed within one mouth from the date of receipt of this order by the lower Court. No order as to costs in this petition.


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