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Abdul Awal Hasan Ali Munshi Vs. Uday Chandra Das Ram Chandra Das and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
Subject Property
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Reported inAIR1942Cal167
AppellantAbdul Awal Hasan Ali Munshi
RespondentUday Chandra Das Ram Chandra Das and ors.
Cases ReferredPankhabati Chowdhurani v. Nani Lal Singh
Excerpt:
- .....not say that the interest of the person making the deposit must be an interest in praesenti. at a sale held under the patni regulation the purchaser does not get merely the right, title and interest of the holder of the tenure for the time being, but gets the tenure itself, without any such limitation as might affect the defaulting patnidar. the result is that not only the interest of the defaulting patnidar passes to the transferee, but the ultimate rights of the reversioners also go. in these circumstances we can see no reason why the reversioners should hot be competent to make a deposit under section 14a. in our opinion, the interest which they have in the property may be said to have accrued under a title acquired before the sale. the events which brought their right into existence.....
Judgment:

B.K. Mukherjea, J.

1. This rule is directed against an order of the Subordinate Judge, Noakhali, made on 5th February 1940, allowing an application of opposite parties Nos. 1 to 3 for setting aside a patni sale under Section 14-A of the Patni Regulations. The patni admittedly belonged to one Kshetra Nath Majumdar, who died leaving behind him a childless widow named Sashimukhi. Sashimukhi held the patni in the limited interest of a Hindu widow, and in execution of a money decree obtained against her by certain persons, the tenure was sold and purchased by one Bagala Prasanna Das. From Bagala Prasanna Das, Mafizal Huq and others purported to derive their interest in the taluk, and in the last Cadastral Survey records the names of Mafizal Huq and his cosharers appeared as the holders of the patni. The patni was sold under Regulation 8 of 1819 at the instance of the zamindar on 16th May 1989, and the purchaser was Abul (sic) Awal who is the petitioner before us. On 12th June 1939, opposite parties Nos. 1 to 3 who are the sister's sons of Kshetra Nath and the next reversionary heirs to his estate made the present application under Section 14A, Patni Sale Laws, to set aside the sale on deposit of the money which is required to be deposited under that section. The auction purchaser contested the claim of the opposite parties on the ground that they were not persons competent to make the deposit. This objection was overruled, and the patni sale was set aside. It is against this order that the present rule was obtained.

2. It has been conceded by both parties for the purposes of this rule that the defaulting patnidars whose names appear in the settlement records held the patni in the same right as Sashimukhi did, and that the reversioners consequently did not lose their rights of succeeding to the property, if they happened to survive Sashimukhi. The whole question is whether in these circumstances! the reversioners can be said to come within the description of persons competent to make a deposit under the said Section 14A. We do not agree with Mr. Sen Gupta that the reversioners can be regarded as the defaulting tenure-holders within the meaning of this section. It is well settled that the estate which a Hindu widow inherits from her husband is, what has been described as an estate of inheritance to herself and to the heirs of her husband, and it is not true to say that she holds only a particular estate or the interest of a life-tenant, the remaining interest being vested in the reversioners for the time being. So long as the Hindu widow is alive, she represents her husband's estate completely, and nobody else can be said to have a present interest in the property during her life-time. For all purposes of beneficial enjoyment she is the full owner, though her powers of alienation may be subject to certain restrictions. We cannot hold therefore that the reversioners themselves are holders of the patni, and entitled as such to make the deposit under Section 14A. We think, however, that opposite parties Nos. 1 to 3 were competent to avoid the sale under this section as persons holding an interest in the patni by virtue of a title acquired prior to the sale. The interest of a reversionary heir during the life-time of a Hindu widow is undoubtedly of a contingent character, a mere possibility or spes successionis, and not until the death of the female heir opens the succession to the re. versioners, it is possible to predicate which of them should succeed to the estate of the last male owner. As was held by the Judicial Committee in Janaki Ammal v. Narayanasami Aiyer ('16) 3 A.I.R. 1916 P.C. 117 the Court will accordingly refuse the next reversioner for the time being a declaration of his reversionary right under Section 42, Specific Relief Act; all the same, as was also pointed out in that case, a reversionary heir is

recognized by Courts of law as having a right to demand that the estate be kept free from waste and free from danger during its enjoyment by the widow or other owner for life.

3. There is really no inconsistency in this, for, as their Lordships are careful to explain, a reversionary heir thus appealing to the Court truly for the conservation and just administration of the property does so in a representative capacity, so that the corpus of the estate may pass unimpaired to those entitled to the reversion. (See also the earlier judgment of the Judicial Committee in Venkatanarayana Pillai v. Subbammal ('15) 2 A.I.R. 1915 P.C. 124) In other words, the position seems to be that while the law will not take any notice of the interest of an individual reversioner as such, it will still recognize the interests of the reversioners as a body which in fact constitutes the reversion, and a reversionary heir is accordingly held entitled to maintain a suit for the protection of the reversion, such a suit being regarded as one brought in a representative capacity and on behalf of all the reversioners. As a general rule, the right to bring such a suit belongs to the presumptive reversioner, that is to say, the person who would succeed if the widow were to die at that moment, but it was recognized by the Judicial Committee in Rani Anund Kunwar v. Court of Wards ('81) 6 Cal. 764 that under certain circumstances even a remote contingent reversioner would be entitled to sue. It has also been held in Venkatanarayana Pillai v. Subbammal ('15) 2 A.I.R. 1915 P.C. 124 that the contingent reversioners may be joined in the presumptive reversioner's suit.

4. It is thus that a reversionary heir has been held competent to sue for a declaration under Section 42, Specific Relief Act, that an adoption or an alienation made by the widow is not valid and binding against the inheritance. He can also institute a suit to restrain the widow from committing waste, and also make an application to set aside an execution sale of any portion of the widow's estate under Order 21, Rule 90, Civil P.C. In substance, a reversioner is deemed to have interest enough in the estate to take steps to protect the corpus for the ultimate benefit of the persons to whom as reversioners the estate shall eventually go.

5. We think that on the same principle the reversioners must be held to be persons having such interest in the property during the life-time of the widow as will entitle them to save it from sale under Section 14A of the Patni Regulation. The section does not say that the interest of the person making the deposit must be an interest in praesenti. At a sale held under the Patni Regulation the purchaser does not get merely the right, title and interest of the holder of the tenure for the time being, but gets the tenure itself, without any such limitation as might affect the defaulting patnidar. The result is that not only the interest of the defaulting patnidar passes to the transferee, but the ultimate rights of the reversioners also go. In these circumstances we can see no reason why the reversioners should hot be competent to make a deposit under Section 14A. In our opinion, the interest which they have in the property may be said to have accrued under a title acquired before the sale. The events which brought their right into existence were in fact the death of the last male owner, Kshetra Nath Majumdar and his leaving a female owner as his heir with ultimate reversion to the male heirs of Kshetra Nath on the death of the female owner. All these events were antecedent to the sale.

6. We are not unmindful of the fact that the language of Section 14A of the Patni Sale Laws is somewhat different from that of Order 21, Rule 90, Civil P.C., or of Section 174, Ben. Ten. Act. The expression used in this section approximates to that of Order 21, Rule 89, Civil P.C. Although there is no direct authority on the point, yet there are observations in several judgments which go to show that a reversioner is not an incompetent person to make a deposit under Order 21, Rule 89, Civil P.C.: vide Brij Kishore Lal v. Pratap Narain ('19) 6 A.I.R. 1919 Pat. 127, Adanamoli Chetti v. Chinnaswami Reddi : AIR1926Mad959 , Pankhabati Chowdhurani v. Nani Lal Singh ('14) 1 A.I.R. 1914 Cal 338. We hold, therefore, that the Court below was perfectly right in allowing the opposite parties to make the deposit under Section 14A, Patni Sale Laws. The rule is accordingly discharged with costs, the hearing fee being assessed at two gold mohurs.

Biswas, J.

7. I agree.


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