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Chinnammal Alias Rangammal Vs. Venkatasami Naiken - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtChennai
Decided On
Judge
Reported in101Ind.Cas.752
AppellantChinnammal Alias Rangammal
RespondentVenkatasami Naiken
Cases Referred and Moheswara Rao v. Durgamba
Excerpt:
hindu law - maintenance--agreement fixing rate of maintenance--subsequent claim for higher rate, whether unsustainable. - .....plaintiff rs. 75 per year which will be a charge upon the properties mentioned in ex. i. so far as the arrears are concerned, the plaintiff will have a decree at this rate for one year before the date of suit and for three years preceding at the rate mentioned in ex. i. the plaintiff will have her proportionate costs throughout. the defendant will bear his own costs. the plaintiff will have interest at the rate allowed by the lower court.
Judgment:

Devadoss, J.

1. The plaintiff's suit is far maintenance. The District Munsif gave her Rs. 45 a year and the Subordinate Judge has reduced the amount to Rs. 25 on the ground that she had entered into an agreement with the defendants. Father for maintenance at the rate of Rs. 25 which is evidenced by Ex. I. Mr. T.M. Krishnaswami Iyer for the respondent contends that Ex. I bars the present suit. Exhibit I is a maintenance arrangement made by Rama Naicker, father of the defendant, on 17th July, 1910, undertaking to pay the plaintiff Rs. 25 a year. [A] There is nothing in Ex. I to show that the amount was fixed for all time. In the absence of any undertaking to get Rs. 25 for all time the Court is not prevented from giving the plaintiff a higher rate of maintenance than that mentioned in Ex. I when the circumstances existing at the time of Ex. I have since altered. [A] It is well-known that since 1910 prices of food stuffs have gone up considerably and apart from that there is nothing to show that the plaintiff who was probably a young widow at the time about 20 years of age had any independent advice with regard to the amount of maintenance that she would be entitled to get from the family.: If authority is wanted for the position that the plaintiff could claim a higher rate of maintenance than that mentioned in Ex. I, I may refer to Subramania Patter v. Vembammal 14 M.L.J. 339 and Moheswara Rao v. Durgamba 78 Ind. Cas. 831 : 47 M. 308 : 19 L.W. 165 : 46 M.L.J. 189 : (1924) M.W.N. 266; A.I.R. 1924 Mad. 687. I hold that Ex. I is no bar to the plaintiff's suit.

2. The next question is what is the amount that the plaintiff should get from the defendant for her maintenance. It is in evidence that the family was worth Rs. 40,000 to Rs. 50,000 at the time of the plaintiff's husband's death. Her husband's share would have been about Rs. 15,000 and the lowest income from property worth Rs. 15,000 would be at least Rs. 1,000 and the property has been divided between two brothers, and the defendant is in possession of a moiety of the plaintiff's husband's share. He should be getting at least Rs. 400 to Rs. 500 from it. The amount fixed in Ex. I is ridiculously low. It is not possible for any woman belonging to the middle class family to live comfortably on anything less than Rs. 15 or Rs. 20 a month. There is some indication as to what the maintenance should be in the arrangement made under Ex. IV, the partition deed, entered into between the defendant's father Rama Naiker and his uncle Lingama Naiken under which 8 solagars of chohun and Rs. 30 per year were fixed as the amount of maintenance for their mother. This was in the year 1903. The District Munsif estimates the present worth of what was then settled at Rs. 150 and I do not think that the District Munsif has overestimated the present worth of the amount settled in 1903. I think the plaintiff should have at least Rs. 150 a year for her maintenance and the defendant's liability would, therefore, be Rs. 75. I, therefore, modify the decree of the Subordinate Judge by allowing the plaintiff Rs. 75 per year which will be a charge upon the properties mentioned in Ex. I. So far as the arrears are concerned, the plaintiff will have a decree at this rate for one year before the date of suit and for three years preceding at the rate mentioned in Ex. I. The plaintiff will have her proportionate costs throughout. The defendant will bear his own costs. The plaintiff will have interest at the rate allowed by the lower Court.


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