Skip to content


P.V. Subbayyan Chettiar Vs. Rajaram (Minor by His Grandmother and Guardian, Kamakkal) and anr. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFamily
CourtChennai High Court
Decided On
Reported in(1958)1MLJ335
AppellantP.V. Subbayyan Chettiar
RespondentRajaram (Minor by His Grandmother and Guardian, Kamakkal) and anr.
Cases ReferredMadura H.P. Fund v. Kamakshi Ammal
Excerpt:
- .....who, differing from the trial judge, construed the estate conferred upon the judgment-debtor, balamani ammal, as a life estate, and, allowing the appeal, modified the decree of the lower court to the extent of declaring that the appellant would get only a life estate in item 1 of the plaint a schedule for the life of the judgment-debtor. the question for consideration in the second appeal is, which is the correct interpretation of exhibit b-1. three decisions are referred to in the judgment of the trial court in support of his conclusion that the terms of exhibit b-1, correctly read, conferred an absolute estate upon balamani ammal in respect of the property now in dispute. they are pugalum perumal v. thangathammal : (1949)1mlj389 lakshmana reddi v. nallappa reddi (1953) 2 m.l.j. 14.....
Judgment:

Ganapatia Pillai, J.

1. The plaintiff is the appellant in this second appeal which arises out of a suit instituted by him for setting aside the order in E.A. No. 680 of 1952 on the file of the Court of the District Munsif, Periakulam. The admitted facts are shortly these. The appellant obtained a money decree against defendant 2 and her husband on a promissory note in O.S. No. 101 of 1948. In execution of that decree, he brought to sale two items of properties and purchased them himself. The property now in dispute in this litigation is the first item out of the two purchased items. After the appellant had taken delivery of possession of this item through Court, the first defendant the son of the 2nd defendant applied under Rule 100 of Order 21 for an order of re-delivery and this application was allowed. To set aside this order, the suit was brought by the present appellant. The title of the judgment-debtor is based upon Exhibit B-1, a settlement deed, dated 2nd July, 1937, executed by her husband, Ramaswami Chettiar, in her favour. The trial Court, on a construction of this deed held that the judgment-debtor was conferred an absolute estate in the properties which were sold in execution and that her son, the first defendant, had no manner of right or title to this property. Against that decision, an appeal was taken to the Subordinate Judge, Dindigul, who, differing from the trial Judge, construed the estate conferred upon the judgment-debtor, Balamani Ammal, as a life estate, and, allowing the appeal, modified the decree of the lower Court to the extent of declaring that the appellant would get only a life estate in item 1 of the plaint A Schedule for the life of the judgment-debtor. The question for consideration in the second appeal is, which is the correct interpretation of Exhibit B-1. Three decisions are referred to in the judgment of the trial Court in support of his conclusion that the terms of Exhibit B-1, correctly read, conferred an absolute estate upon Balamani Ammal in respect of the property now in dispute. They are Pugalum Perumal v. Thangathammal : (1949)1MLJ389 Lakshmana Reddi v. Nallappa Reddi (1953) 2 M.L.J. 14 (Short Notes) and Nagaraja v. Natesa : AIR1925Mad1013 . The lower appellate Court, without considering the effect of these decisions relied on by the trial Court, referred to the decision of the Supreme Court in Bajrang Bahadur Singh v. Bakntrai Kuer (1952) S.C.J. 655 : (1953) 1 M.L.J. 108 as having a direct bearing on the interpretation of Exhibit B-1. That case related to the construction of a will. The following observation of the Supreme Court is relied on by the lower appellate Court:

Where the dominant intention of the testator was to make provision not for the donee alone but for the benefit of his heirs and successors, generation after generation, the expression heirs' in the context will mean the donee's heirs determined according to the general law of inheritance.

2. I am afraid this principle can have no application to the interpretation of a settlement deed like Exhibit-B-1, where, in the operative clause, there is no mention of any gift or devise in favour of any heirs of the settlor. Mr. K.S. Ramamurthi the learned Counsel for the respondent, brought to my notice the Bench decision in Madura H.P. Fund v. Kamakshi Ammal (1925) 50 M.L.J. 355 : A.I.R. 1926 Mad. 492. There also, a devise in a will came up for construction and the words contained in the will and which indicated the donees were these : ' My natural father, Pichu Ayyar, and male heirs '. In construing this description of the donee, the Bench held that the bequest could not be considered as one in favour of the father alone. An examination of the terms of Exhibit B-1 clearly shows that Ramaswami Chettiar was making a gift in favour of Balamani Ammal alone. No doubt, the learned Counsel for the respondent pointed to the fact that one of the reason given in Exhibit B-1 for the contemplated second marriage was that Ramaswami Chettiar had no male issue by his first wife. Equally, another reason also is given for making the gift, that is, that he Ramaswami Chettiar wanted to marry a second wife, because his first wife had deserted him. It cannot therefore be inferred from the recitals in Exhibit B-1 that the dominant or the sole intention of Ramaswami Chettiar was to make a gift only to the male issue to be born through Balamani Ammal without giving any independent estate of gift in favour of Balamani Ammal. If the language of Exhibit B-1 is carefully scrutinised, there is no real difficulty at all in finding out what the settlor meant. The operative clause is contained in a sentence which is complete by itself both grammatically and in its sense. That sentence imports the following idea:

the request of the settlor, the mother and brother of the bride-to-be had agreed to give the bride, Balamani, in marriage to the settlor on condition that the settlor made a gift of the property (now in question) to Balamani ; and the settlor, having agreed to this request, was making a settlement deed to effectuate the gift which he intended to make.

3. After this sentence in Tamil is completed, follows another sentence which reads that the property should be enjoyed by the settlee and by the male heirs born to her. by the settlor from generation to generation. This subsequent sentence cannot in any sense control the full import or effect of the operative sentence which precedes it and by which the settlor had conferred an absolute estate in the property on his bride-to-be. It is settled law that such subsequent clauses detailing the mode of enjoyment or the devolution of the properties from generation to generation do not curtail the full effect of the operative clause, by which the settlor had already expressed his intention to confer an absolute estate on the settlee. It is well established that such a clause as ' to be enjoyed from generation to generation ' indicates only a heritable estate. It is also well settled that the word 'Sarvaswathanthiramal' occurring in a settlement or gift deed indicates an absolute estate. Having regard to these settled principles of law, it is very clear that the trial Court came to the correct conclusion as regards the import of Exhibit B-1 and held that Balamani Ammal, the judgment-debtor, obtained an absolute estate in the property. The contrary view taken by the lower appellate Court is incorrect.

4. In the result, the Second Appeal is allowed and the decree of the lower Appellate Court is set aside and that of the trial Court restored with costs both in this Court and in the lower Appellate Court.


Save Judgments// Add Notes // Store Search Result sets // Organizer Client Files //