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Bollapragada Lakshmidevamma Vs. Godicherla Kesawarao and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectProperty
CourtChennai
Decided On
Reported inAIR1935Mad1066
AppellantBollapragada Lakshmidevamma
RespondentGodicherla Kesawarao and ors.
Excerpt:
- .....in the schedule to the plaint. these items were purchased in 1886 in the name of the plaintiff's mother manikyamma under ex. b which recites that the consideration proceeded from the stridhanam assets of manikyamma. manikyamma's husband krishnamurty executed a whole series of wills. in the first three of these wills he treated the properties purchased under ex. b as the stridhanam property of his wife. in the six subsequent wills he treated them as his own property and disposed of them as such. the last will is that with which we are now concerned, viz. ex. i executed in the year. 1912. that will gave the properties purchased under ex. b to the five daughters to be divided equally. the plaintiff and the other married daughters contested the will when it was presented for registration.....
Judgment:

Wadsworth, J.

1. The only question now remaining in this appeal is whether the plaintiff is entitled to a one-third share in items 10 to 15 of the property specified in the schedule to the plaint. These items were purchased in 1886 in the name of the plaintiff's mother Manikyamma under Ex. B which recites that the consideration proceeded from the stridhanam assets of Manikyamma. Manikyamma's husband Krishnamurty executed a whole series of wills. In the first three of these wills he treated the properties purchased under Ex. B as the stridhanam property of his wife. In the six subsequent wills he treated them as his own property and disposed of them as such. The last will is that with which we are now concerned, viz. Ex. I executed in the year. 1912. That will gave the properties purchased under Ex. B to the five daughters to be divided equally. The plaintiff and the other married daughters contested the will when it was presented for registration by the widow Manikyamma but it was eventually registered. Manikyamma took under the will a life estate in the other properties not given to the daughters and she also acted on a power of adoption given to her under the will. Some years after her death the plaintiff filed the present suit in which she challenges the will and claims that even if the will is held to be valid she is entitled as one of the three married daughters of her mother to one-third share in the properties purchased under Ex. B they being the stridhanam properties of her mother. Both the lower Courts assumed that under the Hindu Law as applied in this Presidency the married daughters exclude the widowed daughters in the succession to the stridhanam properties of the mother. It is not necessary for me to go into the interesting question which has been raised regarding the correctness of this assumption.

2. I will only remark that the matter is by no means free from doubt. The lower Courts based their decisions on the fact that Manikyamma herself, who was the person primarily interested in disputing the testator's title to the properties under Ex. B, acquiesced in the depositions made in the last will, Ex. I, and held that her conduct in getting this will registered and acting upon it in the face of the opposition amounts to an admission that she had no title to the properties bequeathed to the daughters, which admission is sufficient proof that these properties were in fact the properties of the testator. It is argued that there is no admission and that the registration of the will cannot be taken to connote on the part of the person who puts it forward for registration anything more than an admission of its genuineness. This argument seems to me to overlook many of the essential facts upon which the lower Courts based their inference. Manikyamma did not merely register this will; she fought for it in the teeth of opposition and she adopted a son by virtue of a provision in the will itself giving her a power of adoption and making arrangements for the devolution of the property in favour of the son she adopted. It seems to me therefore that the conduct of Manikyamma is the strongest possible piece of evidence that the properties devised to the daughters were properties over which the testator had a power of disposition. One might even go further and say with reference to Section 180, Succession Act, which embodies the equitable doctrine of election in testamentary matters that Manikyamma having accepted the office of executrix under the will and having acted on the power of adoption given to her by the will has received a benefit thereby and has elected to waive any right which she might have in other properties bequeathed by the testator to his daughters. She cannot approbate and reprobate. She has in fact approbated the will and supported it in the face of opposition and her heirs cannot now be heard to say that the properties which the testator disposed of by that will were really the properties of their mother whom they claim to succeed as stridhanam heirs. In this view I dismiss the appeal with costs.


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