1. The plaintiffs in O.S. No. 18 of 1966 on the file of the court of the Subordinate Judge of Thanjavur are the appellants herein. There was an undivided Hindu family consisting of one Kalyanasundaram Pillai, his son Sabapathy Pillai and his son Srinivasam Pillai, the first defendant in the suit. There was a partition between them as evidenced by Ex. A-1 dated 21-4-1955. Under that partition, the joint family properties were divided into four schedules, A, B, C and D; A schedule was allotted to the share of Kalyanasundaram Pillai, B schedule was allotted to the share of Sabapathi Pillai, C schedule was allotted to the share of the first defendant Srinivasam Pillai, and D schedule was allotted to Sabapathi Pillai and Srinivasam Pillai jointly. Sabapathi Pillai died on 5th December, 1962. The plaintiffs-appellants are his widow and three daughters, the first defendant is his son and the 18th defendant is his mother. The appellants herein instituted the suit claiming that to the half share in the D schedule which belonged to Sabapathi Pillai, they alone were exclusively entitled and neither the first defendant Srinivasam Pillai, nor the 18th defendant had any share therein. On the other hand, the case of defendants 1 and 18 was that all the six persons were entitled to inherit the share of the Sabapathi Pillai in the D schedule properties in equal shares. From what we have stated above, the suit as well as the present appeal is concerned with Sabapathi Pillai's half share in the D schedule properties and the reference to the share of the parties will be relatable to that half share only. The learned Subordinate Judge of Thanjavur held against the appellants and decreed the suit for partition of their 4/6th share, allotting 1/6th share to the first defendant and another 1/6th share to the 18th defendant. It is the correctness of this conclusion that is challenged before us in the present appeal by the plaintiffs in the suit.
2. Though before the trial court, two contentions were put forward, namely, that 18th defendant had relinquished here share in the suit properties (which means the half share of Sabapathi Pillai in D schedule properties) in favour of the plaintiffs and that by a family arrangement entered into between the first defendant Srinivasam Pillai and the plaintiffs, the first defendant also had given up his share in Sabapathi Pillai's half share in favour of he plaintiffs, they are not repeated before us and the only contention that is advanced before us is on the basis of the constructions of Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 (Central Act 30 of 1956), hereinafter referred to as 'the Act'.
3. For the purpose of understanding the controversy it is desirable to set out Section 6 of the Act in full and the same is as follows:--
'When a male Hindu dies after the commencement of this Act, having at the time of his death an interest in a Mitakshara coparcenary property, his interest in the property shall devolve by survivorship upon the surviving members of the coparcenary and not in accordance with this Act.
Provided that, if the deceased had left him surviving a female relative specified in class I of the Schedule or a male relative specified in that class who claims through such female relative in the interest of the deceased in the Mitakshara coparcenary property shall devolve by testamentary or intestate succession, as the case may be, under this Act and not by survivorship.
Explanation I:--For the purpose of this section, the interest of a Hindu Mitakshara coparcener shall be deemed to be the share in the property that would have been allotted to him if a partition of the property had taken palace immediately before his death, irrespective of whether he was entitled to claim partition or not.
Explanation II: Nothing contained in the proviso to this section shall be constructed as enabling a person who has separated himself from the coparcenary before the death of the deceased or any of his heirs to claim on intestacy a share in the interest referred to therein.'
4. The argument of Mr. A. Sundaram Iyer, learned counsel for the appellant is that since the property obtained by Sabapathi Pillai at the partition was originally coparcenary property, Section 6 will apply and therefore by virtue of Explanation II to that section, the first defendant will have no right to a share in Sabapathi Pillai's half share. As far as the 18th defendant is concerned, the argument is based upon Explanation II itself on the misconception that the 18th defendant was claiming as an heir to kalyanasundaram Pillai, her husband. But once the learned counsel realised that the 18th defendant is an heir of Sabapathi Pillai, himself as his mother, he did not pursue this argument further. Hence, the only question for consideration is, whether by virtue of Explanation II the first defendant is excluded from inheriting the share of Sabapathi Pillai. Explanation II expressly refers to the proviso and the proviso itself will come into operation only if the case is covered by the main part of Section 6. If the main part of Section 6 does not apply, the proviso cannot apply and consequently Explanation II will have no operation. Therefore, the only question is whether the main part of Section 6 applies to the present case.
5. We are clearly of the opinion that the said section has no application. We have referred to the fact that there was a partition between Kalyanasundaram Pillai, Sabapathi Pillai and the first defendant and consequently at the time when Sabapathi Pillai died, he did not die having an interest in the Mitakshara coparcenary property. The very words of the section show that the section has application only to a case where at the time of the death of the person concerned, he happened to be an undivided member of a coparcenary and he had an interest in the coparcenary property, which interest will go by survivorship to the surviving members of the coparcenary, according to the Hindu Law.
The object of the section is to preserve this right of survivorship subject to the important and wide limitations enacted in the proviso. Once the coparcenary has come to an end by partition, there is no question of one member of the erstwhile coparcenary taking the property obtained by another member of that coparcenary at the partition, by survivorship. Therefore, if the propositus at the time of the death was a divided member of an erstwhile coparcenary, the section itself by its very language will have no application Our conclusion flows from the very language of the section which contemplates the existence of a coparcenary consisting of the propositus and one or more males at the time of the death of the propositus. In our opinion, the language of the section is too plain and clear to admit of an argument like the one advanced before us. In this case, admittedly Sabapathi Pillai died as a divided member and consequently he could not be said to have had an interest in a Mitakshara coparcenary property at the time of his death and therefore Section 6 has no application. Our construction of Section 6 derives support from a decision of this Court in Arunachalathammal v. Ramachandran Pillai, : AIR1963Mad255 , which has been affirmed by the Supreme Court in its judgment dated 20-2-1970, in C.A. No. 115 of 1967. The Supreme Court pointed out:--
'Section 6 of the Act has no application to property received by a member of a joint family on partition.'
Under these circumstances, the conclusion of the learned Subordinate Judge is correct and there are no merits in the contention of the learned counsel for the appellant.
6. However, Mr. Sundaram Iyer contended that the trial Court, while awarding costs against the appellants committed a mistake in calculating the costs on the entirety of the value of the suit properties, namely, Rs. 20,000 and odd, whereas the costs should have been calculated on that portion of the suit properties held to belong to the first defendant and the 18th defendant. We are of the view that this contention is correct, because even according to defendants 1 and 18, the plaintiffs are entitled to 4/6th share in Sabapathi Pillai's half share and the effect of the contention of the appellants was to deny 1/6th share to the first defendant and another 1/6th share to the 18th defendant. Consequently costs awardable to them must be based upon the value of the share sought to be denied to them. Accordingly, the decree of the trial court will be modified only in respect of costs, by making the amount of costs referable to the value of the shares of the first defendant and the 18th defendant separately.
7. Subject to the above modification with regard to costs, the appeal is dismissed. We do not make any order as to costs in this appeal.
8. Appeal dismissed.