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Valia Konikkal Edom Kelu Achen Vs. Valia Konikkal Edom Lakshmi Nethyar Ammal and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in18Ind.Cas.234
AppellantValia Konikkal Edom Kelu Achen
RespondentValia Konikkal Edom Lakshmi Nethyar Ammal and ors.
Excerpt:
malabar law and usage - 'manchilavu', meaning of--right of members of tarvads and tavazhis to 'menchilavu'--usage--karar between karnavan and some members as to menchilavu--right of after-born members. - - 2 and 3 were not in existence at the time of the karar and circumstances seem to have clearly undergone a material change so as to allow of a greater sum for maintenance being granted to the plaintiff's tavazhi than was considered reasonable at the time of the karar, and the award by the lower courts of a larger sum for menchilavu, in view of such a change of circumstances, should not be interfered with in second appeal......by courts in ordinary cases, it is understood that, if the circumstances of the decree-holder or judgment-debtor afterwards become changed to a very material extent, a new suit could be brought to have a fresh decree with modified terms passed with reference to the change of circumstances.4. in this case, the plaintiffs nos. 2 and 3 were not in existence at the time of the karar and circumstances seem to have clearly undergone a material change so as to allow of a greater sum for maintenance being granted to the plaintiff's tavazhi than was considered reasonable at the time of the karar, and the award by the lower courts of a larger sum for menchilavu, in view of such a change of circumstances, should not be interfered with in second appeal.5. i agree, accordingly, that the second appeal.....
Judgment:

Sundara Aiyar, J.

1. This is a suit by some of the members of the Valia Konikal Edam, one of the branches of the Palghat Rajah's family, for arrears of what is called Menchiavu. The word is used to designate a part of what is required for the support of a person and is distinguished from what is strictly necessary for food and raiment. Legally, it may be taken to mean part of what would be included in the terms 'maintenance' and 'necessaries.' There was a karar entered into between most of the adult members of the Edam in the year 1901. The 1st plaintiff was one of the parties to it. Plaintiffs Nos. 2 and 3, her children, were born afterwards. According to that karar, the 1st plaintiff's mother, Salakshi Nethiyaramma, and her children were to be given Rs. 100 for their Menchilavu. The 1st plaintiff was then a minor and was stated in the karar to be represented by Kelu Achau, the karnavan of the Edam. There was no contract between the karnavan and the 1st plaintiff's mother as representing her branch of the tarwad. It cannot, therefore, be said that the karar was binding on the tavazhi of the plaintiffs as such until properly set aside. The plaintiffs based their claim not on the karar, but on the usage of the family according to which Menchilavu was payable to its members. The existence of such usage was not traversed in the written statement and no issue was framed to try that question. As we understand the written statement, the plaintiff's claim was met by the allegation that the karar prevented them from claiming anything more than what was allotted to Salakshmi Nethiyaramma and her children under it, We agree with the lower Courts in holding that the plaintiff's right cannot be held to be negatived by the karar. The karar really contains no provision for the maintenance of plaintiffs Nos. 2 and 8 and the 1st plaintiff cannot be held to be bound by it if the allotment made was, as found by the lower Courts, grossly insufficient. Nor can she be held to be bound by it on account of a contract entered into on her behalf by any one authorized to do so. Both the lower Courts have found that the conduct of the members of the Edam shows that the karar has not been adhered to so far as the allotments made for maintenance are concerned. This would support the District Munsif's view that the karar was not understood to have made any permanent allotment to those who were minors at the time of its execution, but only to enable the three ladies, who had children, to maintain them while they were under their protection during the minority. But, apart from this view of the Mansif's as to the construction to be put upon the document, we must hold that it cannot be pleaded in bar of the plaintiff's right to a reasonable allowance for Menchilavu. We see no reason to hold that the amount awarded by the lower Courts is otherwise than reasonable.

2. I dismiss the second appeal with costs of the plaintiffs. The memorandum of objections is also dismissed with costs.

Sadasiva Aiyar, J.

3. With regard to the expression 'Menchilavu,' the literal meaning seems to be 'excess expenditure.' I take it that it means that which is usually allowed beyond what is strictly required for food and clothing alone. Under the expression, therefore, come, the sums which are required for keeping up a respectable appearance consistent with the position and dignity of the family to which a person belongs, sums required for a reasonable amount of travelling to holy places in the case of a member of an aristocratic family etc., for slight conveniences and comforts, which though they might be called luxuries when indulged in by a low-class individual, would come under the head of 'necessaries' in the case of persons belonging to families which cannot be classed with the lower sections of the community. Assuming again that the karar in question in this suit was binding on all the tavazhis in existence at the time it came into force, I think the reasonable construction of such a karar is that it was not intended to be enforced against any tavashi bound by it in the beginning after the circumstances of that particular tavazhi have changed so materially that it would be inequitable to hold the tavazhi to its terms without making important and necessary modifications therein. Even as regards a solemn decree for maintenance passed by Courts in ordinary cases, it is understood that, if the circumstances of the decree-holder or judgment-debtor afterwards become changed to a very material extent, a new suit could be brought to have a fresh decree with modified terms passed with reference to the change of circumstances.

4. In this case, the plaintiffs Nos. 2 and 3 were not in existence at the time of the karar and circumstances seem to have clearly undergone a material change so as to allow of a greater sum for maintenance being granted to the plaintiff's tavazhi than was considered reasonable at the time of the karar, and the award by the lower Courts of a larger sum for Menchilavu, in view of such a change of circumstances, should not be interfered with in second appeal.

5. I agree, accordingly, that the second appeal should be dismissed with costs.


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