1. This is an application by Maharani Srimati Arundhati Mahadevi of Tipperah asking for a decision of this Court as to whether Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Munikya Bahadur the present Maharaja of Tipperah is a minor for the purposes of the present appeal which is one of many cases pending in British Indian Courts, in connection with his extensive zemindary within British territories and for such order as to this Court may seem fit and proper. During the pendency of this appeal the respondent Maharaja Birendra Kishore Manikya Bahadur of Tipperah died on the 13th August, 1923, leaving as his son and heir the said Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur who had succeeded to the Tipperah State a Feudatory State in alliance with the British Government, as its Ruling Chief with the approval of the British Government. The appellant thereupon applied for the substitution of the name of Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur as respondent and, alleging that he was a minor, proposed the applicant Srimati Arundhati Mahadevi, his mother, as his guardian ad litem. Notices were served upon the applicant, the Government pleader, as also upon Rai Jyotish Chandra Sen Bahadur, who is the Vice-President of the Council of Administration of the Tipperah Estate. The Petitioner Maharani Srimati Arundhati Mahadevi states that Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur has not yet completed his 16th year and is governed by the Dayabhaga School of Hindu law. She, therefore, submits that according to the personal law of the Maharaja he has attained the age of majority. Some time in November, 1893 with the approval of the Government of India in the Political Department, a Council of Administration was constituted for the administration of the Tipperah State and by a proclamation, dated the 9th December, 1923, the Council of Administration assumed charge of the administration and Rai Jyotish Chandra Sen Bahadur, the Vice-President of the Council, was appointed the Manager of the Chakla Roshnabad Estates which are eatates appertaining to the Tipperah Raj in British territory.
2. It further appears that by a notification published in the Calcutta Gazette, dated the 5th December, 1923, Part 1, p. 1826, the Govornor-in-Council appointed the said Rai Jyotish Chandra Sen Bahadur, Manager of His Highness' Roshnabad Estates to be the agent of the Maharaja under Section 85 of the Code of Civil Procedure.
3. The question as to what course should be adopted in the matter of substituting the Maharaja's name in the pending suits appeals and proceedings was referred to the Government by the Vice-President by a letter, dated the 27th January, 1924, and the answer given by the Government by its letter, dated the 25th February, 1924, from the Political Agent of the Tipperah Estate to the Vice-President of the Council of Administration of the Tipperah Estate is to the following effect: 'The name of His Highness the Maharaja should be substituted in suits in British Courts acting through his Manager holding his power.'
4. It is further suggested in that letter that 'the Maharaja should himself execute a power-of-attorney in favour of the Manager for the purpose of British Indian Courts only for the administration of properties of His Highness in British territory.'
5. We are not invited to decide whether the Maharaja is a minor and should be represented by a guardian in this appeal or whether he is competent to act without the intervention of a guardian ad litem. Order 32, Rule 3 of the Code of 1908 provides that where the defendant (Respondent in appeal) is a minor the Court on being satisfied of the fact of his minority shall appoint a proper person to be the guardian for the suit (or appeal) for such minor. We have, therefore, to satisfy ourselves of the fact of the minority of the Maharaja. Reference may also be made in this connection to Rule 16 of that order which applies to Ruling Princes, as the present Maharaja is, and which makes this order inapplicable to a Ruling Chief where he is sued in the name of his State or any other name.
6. With reference to the provisions of Order 32, Civil P.C. a minor is a person who under the Indian Majority Act (IX of 1875) has not completed the age of 18 years or of whose person and property a guardian has bean appointed by a Court of Justice or whose property is in the hands of the Court of Wards and he has not completed the age of 21 years.
7. The Indian Majority Act, as the preamble shows, applies only to persons domiciled in British India. Admittedly the Maharaja is not domiciled in British territory. The Indian Majority Act has therefore, no application.
8. The next question that we have to consider is whether the Maharaja is a minor according to the law by which be is governed. It is maintained, and there is no contradiction on this point, that the Maharaja is governed by the Dayabhaga school of Hindu law. According to the tenets of that school majority is attained after the completion of the 15th year. There is a slight difference in regard to the age of majority between the two important schools of Hindu law. Under the Dayabhaga School a person who has completed his 15th year is to be considered a major, whereas under the Benares School he must have completed his 16th year. (See Mayne's Hindu Law, 9th Edition, p. 282, and Trevelyan on Law relating to Minors, 5th Edition, p. 200). The Act in force before the Indian Majority Act was Act XL of 1858 which laid down the age of majority as 18 years; but that Act was in force only in the mofussil. It was not applicable to the town of Calcutta within the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court of Judicature and the question arose in several cases as to the age of majority on this point; but it will suffice if we refer to the Full Bench decision in the case of Mothoor Mohan Roy v. Soorendara Narain (1875) 1 Cal. 108. In that case the age of the defendant when he executed the bond was sixteen years and a few months. His plea of minority at the time of the contract was overruled on the ground that he was bound by his personal law according to which he was a major. In this state of the authorities we are of opinion that Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur is not a minor within the meaning of Order 32, C.P.C., and that it is not necessary therefore to appoint a guardian ad litem. He is, however, entitled to act through his Manager, the Vice-President of the Council of Administration, appointed by order of Government under Section 85, C.P.C.
9. The result is that the application made by the appellant on the 12th November, 1923, asking for the appointment of Maharani Srimati Arundhati Mahadevi as guardian ad litem of the respondent Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur is dismissed. The appellant will servo notice of this appeal on the Maharaja through the Vice-President who has appeared in these proceedings through Babu Gobina Chandra Dey Roy who is willing to receive service on his behalf.
10. I entirely agree with the order which my learned brother proposes to make. Having regard to the authorities which have been placed before us by the learned vakil for the petitioner, viz., Mayyne's Hindu Law, 9th Edition, p. 282; Trevelyan on Law relating to Minors, 5th Edition, p. 200; Caily Churan Mullick Rai v. Bhagobutty Charan (1873) 10 B.L.R. 231 and Moothur Mohan Roy v. Soorendra Narain(1875) 1 Cal. 108; we must, I think hold that the present Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur has attained his majority. This view also finds support in the action which has already been taken by Government in this connection. The proper course in the circumstances of the case will, I think, be to treat the Maharaja as a major and for action to be taken on the lines indicated in Section 85, Civil Procedure Code.