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Gourishankar Chattoraj Vs. Sm. Satyabati Debi - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFamily;Property
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Reported inAIR1931Cal470
AppellantGourishankar Chattoraj
RespondentSm. Satyabati Debi
Cases ReferredRadha Raman v. Gopal Chandra
Excerpt:
- .....presented: (1) pinda, (2) pinda lepas and (3) libations of water. he who offers pinda and to whom pinda is offered are called sapindas of each other. similarly he who offers pinda lepas and to whom they are offered are sakulyas of each other. likewise he who offers libations of water and to whom they are offered are called the samanodakas of each other. bearing in mind, the genealogy set out above one must remember that pinda is offered to the three immediate paternal ancestors and the three immediate maternal ancestors. the pinda lepas are offered to the three paternal ancestors next above those to whom pinda is offered; and the libations of water are offered to the seven paternal ancestors next above those to whom the pinda lepas are offered. but under the hindu law this is not.....
Judgment:

1. In this rule we are invited by the learned advocate, for the petitioner Mr. Bankim Chandra Mukherji to set aside the order of the learned District Judge of Berhampore dated 24th November 1930 rejecting the caveat filed by one Gourishankar Chattoraj, or to make such other or further order as to this Court may seem fit and proper.

2. In order to understand the contentions of the parties it is necessary to set out the following genealogical table.

Nanda Dulal _______________|_______________| |Sachi Rohini| || ____________________________________________________ | || | Lal Behari RashbehariSridhar Bansidhar | _____________________| | | |__________________ Shyamsundar Hiralal Kishorilal| | | wife |Pulin Janaki Bhuban Charumati Atulananda-Tribhanginy| |Kali Banasobhini| Gourishankar

3. The opposite party represented by Dr. Mukherji applied for Letters of Administration to the estate of one Shyam-sundar who has died. The opposite party is the deceased Shyamsundar's wife's brother's daughter. The petitioner Gourishankar is a minor and on his behalf caveat was filed through his natural guardian and mother; and the question arose whether having regard to the genealogy as set out above the petitioner Gourishankar had any locus standi. The learned District Judge held that the petitioner Gourishankar was not an heir under the Dyabhaga School of Hindu law and he accordingly discharged the caveat. It is against this last-mentioned order that the present rule has been directed.

4. On behalf of the opposite party that is Shyamsundar's wife's brother's daughter it has been contended by Dr. Mukherji that the caveator Gourishankar is neither a sapinda, nor a sakulya nor a samanodaka and that he cannot claim as an agnate at all. In the second place it has been contended that he is not within the category of the nine classes of cognates who are referred to by some of the text-writers and in the third place he cannot come within the category of heritable bandhus who are referred to by their Lordships of the Judicial Committee in the case Bam Chandra Martand v. Vinayak Venkatesh Kothekar A.I.R. 1914 P.C. 1. Mr. Bankim Chandra Mukherji argues that the sole question before the Court below was whether or not in the proceedings before the District Judge the caveator should be allowed to appear and contest the application of Shyamsundar's wife's brother's daughter. Mr. Mukherji says that he in his turn is entitled to say that the opposite party is no relation at all, she being a complete stranger to the family, and that it is not necessary for the caveator Gourishankar for the purpose of the present proceedings to establish that he is an heir under the Dyabagha School of Hindu law. Mr. Mukherji contends that all that is necessary to show is that Gourishankar at any rate has some sort of kinship with the family from which Shyamsundar was descended and that be can trace his descent from the common ancestor Nanda Dulal and that that is enough for the purpose of being allowed to intervene in. the present proceedings.

5. It is not necessary for the purposes of this judgment to go into an elaborate disquisition as regards the principle of succession under the Dayabhaga at this distance of time. The governing doctrine as is well known is the capacity of being able to offer spiritual benefit, and the foundation of the doctrine is as stated in the books the Parban Sradh ceremony. Three different kinds of offerings to the deceased ancestor are presented: (1) pinda, (2) pinda lepas and (3) libations of water. He who offers pinda and to whom pinda is offered are called sapindas of each other. Similarly he who offers pinda lepas and to whom they are offered are sakulyas of each other. Likewise he who offers libations of water and to whom they are offered are called the samanodakas of each other. Bearing in mind, the genealogy set out above one must remember that pinda is offered to the three immediate paternal ancestors and the three immediate maternal ancestors. The pinda lepas are offered to the three paternal ancestors next above those to whom pinda is offered; and the libations of water are offered to the seven paternal ancestors next above those to whom the pinda lepas are offered. But under the Hindu law this is not exhaustive and in addition to this list persons connected through a common ancestor become sapindas, sakulyas and somanodakas according to the nature of the oblations presented to them. These being the governing principles it is quite clear that the caveator is neither a sapinda, nor a sakulya, nor a somanodaka of the deceased Shyamsundar. It is not intended to burden this judgment with a long list of sapindas, sakulyas and somanodakas, for that will be found set out conveniently in Golap Chunder Sircar Sastri's book on Hindu Law, last edition.

6. The whole question is whether the sort of relationship which the caveator has with the family of Shyamsundar through a common ancestor or rather a common link Nanda Dulal is sufficient interest to enable him to appear in these proceedings and to oppose the application for Letters of Administration which, be it remembered, has been made by one who ex consesis is a perfect stranger to the family of Shyamsundar. We do not propose to express an opinion upon the rights of competing heirs. This is not the question for determination in this rule, as it is common ground that both the parties represented by Mr. Mukherji and Dr. Mukherji are not heirs at all. But the question is whether in the events that have happened Gourishankar should not be allowed to appear and watch the proceedings and if necessary to oppose the application for Letters of Administration. If neither of the parties are heirs at all and there are no persons who can claim kinship the property of the deceased Shyamsundar will go by escheat to the Crown. But that is a matter for the Collector as representing the Crown to consider. On the question as to whether Gourishankar should be allowed to intervene our attention has been drawn to the judgment of N.R. Chatterji, J., in the case in Radha Raman v. Gopal Chandra [1920] 56 I.C. 122.

7. We have very carefully considered the ratio of the decision in that case, and having regard to the very guarded words used by N.R. Chatterji, J., we are not prepared to say in this rule that Gourishankar has no interest of any description which would entitle him to appear and watch and if necessary to oppose the present application. In our opinion Gourishankar in the circumstances of this case should be allowed to appear and oppose the application made by Shyamsundar's wife's brother's daughter for representation to the estate of the deceased Shyamsundar. The result is that this rule is made absolute, and it will be for the Collector of Barhampore as representing the Crown to whom a copy of this judgment will be forwarded to consider whether there are sufficient reasons for the Crown watching the present proceedings and for taking such steps as they may be advised. The rule is accordingly made absolute, but there will be no order for costs.


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