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Kula Chandra Chakravarti Vs. Bama Sundari Dasee - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFamily;Property
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Judge
Reported inAIR1914Cal805,(1914)ILR41Cal870
AppellantKula Chandra Chakravarti
RespondentBama Sundari Dasee
Cases ReferredIsri Dutt Koer v. Hansbutti
Excerpt:
hindu law - stridhan--widow's estate--alienation--property acquired by hindu widow with accumulations of income of husband's estate. - .....one bisseswar das baksi died in 1286 leaving a will dated the 8th assin, 1282. on his death his widow, ramdhani dasee obtained letters of administration and remained in possession of his estate till her death in chait, 1303. at the time of her death she was in possession of two classes of properties, viz., those that were left by her husband and those that were her stridhan. the properties of the former class are set out in schedules ka and kha while those of the latter in schedule ga of the plaint. on 18th sravan, 1303, she executed a will whereby she constituted, after her death, all the properties of the three schedules into debuttar in favour of her deceased husband's family deity, begraha sridhar thakoor, and appointed her foster daughter bama sundari dasee, defendant no. 1 the.....
Judgment:

Imam and Chapman, JJ.

1. This appeal arises out of a suit to declare that certain transfers made by defendant No. 1 cannot enure beyond her life. The suit having been dismissed the plaintiff has appealed.

2. The appellant's case may be shortly stated here. One Bisseswar Das Baksi died in 1286 leaving a will dated the 8th Assin, 1282. On his death his widow, Ramdhani Dasee obtained letters of administration and remained in possession of his estate till her death in Chait, 1303. At the time of her death she was in possession of two classes of properties, viz., those that were left by her husband and those that were her stridhan. The properties of the former class are set out in schedules ka and kha while those of the latter in schedule ga of the plaint. On 18th Sravan, 1303, she executed a will whereby she constituted, after her death, all the properties of the three schedules into debuttar in favour of her deceased husband's family deity, Begraha Sridhar Thakoor, and appointed her foster daughter Bama Sundari Dasee, defendant No. 1 the shebait for her life and the plaintiff aud his heirs the reversionary shebaits after' Bama Sundari. On the death of Ramdhani, probate of her will was obtained by Bama Sundari and she took possession of the properties as shebait. Subsequently, however, she took out letters of administration, with a copy of the will, of the property and credits of her deceased foster father, Bisseswar Das Baksi, and made certain alienations of some of the properties in favour of the defendants 2 to 5. It is in respect of these alienations that the plaintiff seeks the declaration prayed for in his plaint.

3. The defendants pleaded several defences, the principal among which may be stated to be that the plaintiff had no right to maintain the suit and that there was no cause of action. The pleadings of the parties raised many issues in the lower Court but in appeal the dispute between them has narrowed down to the consideration of two points only, vis., (i) whether any of the properties forming the subject of this suit was the stridhan of Ramdhani Dasee; and (ii) whether the plaintiff had any right to maintain the suit.

4. For the appellant it has been contended that Bisseswar Das Baksi by his will bequeathed to Ramdhani Dasee an absolute right in his estate but, reading the whole will, no doubt is left in our mind that under it she had merely a restricted interest, the interest not amounting to anything more than a widow's estate.

5. The stridhan properties mentioned in schedule ga are said to have been derived from two sources, first by gift from her husband, and, second, by her own purchases. The alleged gift is not supported by any deed though the plaintiff in his deposition stated that the gift was by a registered deed. Neither the original deed nor a certified copy of it has been produced to establish the nature of the gift. Mention of it, however, is made in a Land Registration Roobkari, Ex. 30, but the document does not show the character of the gift. It merely implies, that Bisseswar Baksi and his brother made some arrangement for the future maintenance of their wives. In subsequent, documents to which Ramdhani Dasee was a party, the alleged gift was asserted but considering that the statements were admissions of Ramdhani or her vendors no value can be attached to them.

6. As regards the purchases, the appellant's case in the lower Court was that their consideration was paid, by Ramdhani out of a sum of money that she had realized about 7 years before from the sale of a certain property belonging to her. Its obvious improbability and the insufficiency of evidence to establish such a case have led to its abandonment in this Court, bat the learned vakil for the appellant has urged that accepting that the consideration for the purchases was paid out of the profits of the husband's estate, she yet would be entitled to such acquisition as her stridhan. It is now a well-settled rule of Hindu Law that property acquired by a Hindu widow with the accumulations of the income of her husband's estate does not constitute her stridhan but forms part of the corpus of the estate. In the present case the distinction between accumulations and current income has been pointed out, and for the appellant it has been maintained that the purchases were with the current income only. This contention, however, is not supported by any evidence and we are left to conjecture that it was so. In the case of Bhagbutti Deyi v. Bholanath Thakoor (1875) I.L.R. 1 Calc. 104; L.R. 2 I.A. 256 their Lordships of the Privy Council enunciated the rule of Hindu Law in these terms: 'If she took the estate only of a Hindu widow, one consequence, no doubt, would be that she 'would be unable to alienate the profits, or that at all events, whatever she purchased out of them would be an increment to her husband's estate.' In the later case of Isri Dutt Koer v. Hansbutti (1883) I.L.R. 10 Calc. 324 L.R. 10 I.A. 150 after reviewing the decided cases on the subject, their Lordships case to the conclusion that 'a widow's savings from the income of her husband's estate are not her stridhan; and if she made no attempt to dispose of them in her life-time, there could he no doubt that they follow the estate from which they arose.' As in the case just referred to so in this, the property in question consists of shares in land in which the husband was a share-holder. The object of the disposition by will was not the need or the personal benefit of Ramdhani but a desire to give the property to the appellant who, though a stranger to the family, exercised appreciable influence on her. She does not appear to have made any distinction between the original estate and the after purchases. In the circumstances, we hold that the after-purchases were accretions to the husband's estate and therefore inalienable by the widow except for purposes that would justify alienation or disposition of the original estate.

7. As regards the plaintiff's right to maintain the suit, it has been candidly admitted before us that if Bisseswar Das Baksi's will is interpreted to confer on Ramdhani only a widow's estate and if none of the properties in suit is held to have been her stridhan, the appellant's case must fail, for want of cause of action.

8. In the view we have already expressed, this appeal therefore must be and is dismissed with costs.


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