Ramaprasada Rao, J.
1. Makkavur Pillai married twice and through his first wife he had a daughter, by name Annammal, and a son, by name S. M. Kannappa. Through his second wife, he had one son by name S. M. Krishna Pillai. In this action, the wife of S. M. Kannappa is the first plaintiff and S. M. Krishna Pillai is the first defendant. Annammal married one M. Kannappa Pillai. Annammal husband died in or about 1928. There was no issue to M. Kannappa Pillai through Annammal. Annanrmal, however, purchased three properties, one of which is the subject-matter of this suit. One such property secured by her was settled in favour of Rajammal, the first plaintiff herein, under Exhibit B-14. Another property was settled by her, under Exhibit B-13, in favour of the first defendant. The third property, which is the subject-matter of the suit was left by her without making any disposition thereto when she died on 24th July, 1963. After Annammal's death, Rajammal who is none else than the sister of Annammal's husband, filed the present action, as the nearest heir under the Hindu Succession Act, for a declaration as such, and for possession of the suit property, which was by then with the first defendant.
2. The first defendant's case is that he is the nearer heir to Annammal's estate and even otherwise, he would say, that it was his money which was lent on a mortgage in the name of Annammal, in or about 1935, and that Annammal, as such benamidar, instituted a suit on the said mortgage, obtained a mortgage decree and purchased the property in Court auction in her name ostensibly, though the real title always remained with the first defendant. On the ground that the property always stood benami in the name of Annammal the first defendant resisted the action.
(Discussion of pleadings and issues omited Ed.).
3. The learned Judge found on Issue No. 3, that the suit property, at all material times, belonged to Annammal, in her own right, and that it never stood in her name benami for the benefit of the first defendant. On issues 1 and 2 the learned Judge stated that in accordance with Sections 15 and 16 of the Hindu Succession Act, Rajammal was the nearer heir than the first defendant, and hence, the suit filed by Rajammal was maintainable and she was entitled to the relief asked for.
4. In the result, he decreed the suit, as prayed for.
5. The unsuccessful defendants are the appellants.
6. We agree with the trial judge that Exhibit A-5 contains recitals which run contra to the story of benami set forth by the defendant-appellant in the course of the conduct of this case.
7. If, therefore, we come to the conclusion that the suit property belongs to Annarnmal, the next relevant question is, as to who is the nearest heir to Annarnmal. Annammal died intestate. In such a situation, Sections 15 and 16 of the Hindu Succession Act are the relevant sections which are to be looked into to find, who amongst the surviving parties are the nearest heirs, as statutorily prescribed. Section 15 (1) says that the property of a female Hindu dying intestate shall devolve according to the rules in Section 16, (a) firstly, upon the sons and daughters including the children of any predeceased son or daughter and the husband; (b) secondly, upon the heirs of the husband ; (c) thirdly, upon the mother and father ; (d) fourthly, upon the heirs of the father; and (e) lastly, upon the heirs of the mother.
8. We are not here concerned with Sub-section (a) of Sections 15 and 16, which gives the guidelines for devolution which says that the order of succession among the heirs referred to in Section 15 shall be, and the distribution of the intestate's property among those heirs shall take place according to the following rules, namely:
Rule 1: Among the heirs specified in Sub-section (1) of Section 15, those in one entry shall be preferred to those in any succeeding entry, and those included in the same entry shall take simultaneously.
For purposes of our case, Rules 2 and 3 in Section 16 are not necessary for consideration .
9. Rajammal is undoubtedly a heir of her husband. The first defendant would be a heir of the father of Annammal. This analysis of the situation is not in dispute. It, therefore, follows, that the heir of husband of Annammal, viz., Rajammal, has to be preferred to the first defendant who is the heir of the father of Annammal. Rajammal, therefore rightly laid the suit in accordance with the well laid guidelines and statutory principles enunciated in Sections 15 and 16 of the Act. Rajammal has to be preferred to the first defendant, who is postponed in accordance with the principles of devolution set out in Section 15 (1) of the Act. The learned Judge, therefore, rightly held that Rajammal was the nearest heir of Annarnmal on the date of her death.
10. We, therefore, agree with the learn ed Judge on all findings referred to by him on the issues framed by him. The appeal is devoid of merit and it is, therefore, dismissed with costs.