1. In the suit out of which this appeal has arisen the plaintiff sued for a declaration that a certain deed of sale executed on the 31st May, 1922, by-defendant No. 2 in favour of defendants 1, 3, 4 and 5 in the name of the defendant) No. 1, for the sum of Rs. 1,400 was a fraudulent and collusive document, that it had been obtained by undue influence and had been made without any legal necessity and was not therefore binding on the plaintiff who is the reversioner of the son of defendant No. 2.
2. The facts are as follows: Preonath De was married twice. By his first wife he had three daughters and one son. This son Upendra Nath died during his father's lifetime leaving a widow but no issue. The plaintiff's are the children of the eldest daughter of the elder wife. Defendant No. 2 is the second wife of Preonath De. She had one daughter Natu Bala and one son Chandra Kanta who is now dead. The plaintiffs are now the reversioners to the estate of Chandra Kanta. The case of the plaintiffs is that the widow had no legal necessity to sell the property. The case of the defendants is that the money was required for the marriage of her daughter. The trial Court found for the plaintiffs. It found that there was no legal necessity for the widow to sell the property, that the defendant made no proper inquiry to ascertain if there was any legal necessity to sell the property as there was no pressure on the estate. It found that the money was actually spent on the marriage of the daughter and the total amount spent on the marriage was some Rs. 3,000 or Rs. 3,500 of which 1,400 was raised by the sale of the property and the remainder must have come from the estate of Preonath. Why it must have come from the estate of Preonath is perhaps not very clear. He seems to have found that the sale was a genuine one for consideration. The defendants appealed to the District Judge who dismissed the appeal. He found that the money was spent on the marriage of the daughter but the marriage could have been performed without selling the property and so there was no legal necessity for the sale; further that the defendants made no proper inquiries to ascertain if the money was really required for the marriage of the daughter of defendant No. 2. The defendants have appealed to this Court.
3. It is argued on their behalf that there is no evidence that there was any money in the hands of the widow that could have been used for the marriage of the girl that the defendants did not know nor is there any reason why they should have known that the widow had sold her own ornaments to defray the marriage expenses; that the widow was quite justified in spending the sum that she did in order to secure a really suitable bridegroom for the girl. Even if the widow had in her hands some money she was not obliged to spend that money on the marriage unless it had come out of the estate. The only money in the hands of the widow was the money that she had realised from the sale of her own ornaments and she had no money in her hands derived from the estate of her deceased husband. The respondent seems to argue, though I am bound to say that his contention on the point is not very clear, that as the widow had in her hands the money that she had realised from the sale of her own ornaments she was not justified in spending so much on the girl's marriage. The marriage of the other daughters of Preonath had been celebrated for a less sum, viz., Rs. 800 and so the widow was not justified in spending more on this marriage.
4. Now these are the facts that have been found. The District Judge has found that the widow was not in affluent circumstances, that her monthly income would be quite insufficient to defray the marriage; also that the defendant was short of funds because she sold her ornaments. He held that the sum total spent was more than was required for the marriage and that the defendants did not make proper inquiries and so are not protected.
5. On these findings I think that the appellant is entitled to succeed. The widow had in her hands no money from her deceased husband's estate that she could utilise for the marriage and it is not disputed that the marriage of the girl is a duty cast on the estate. Even though the widow had in her hands money of her own she would still be entitled to employ the money of the estate for this purpose. She is not obliged to spend her own money and only to employ the money of the estate if her own is not sufficient.
6. I do not think that there is any force in the argument that the widow has been extravagant in the way in which she has celebrated the marriage. The other girls were married before the war when the price of everything was much lower. At that time some Rs. 800 was expended on each marriage. Rs. 1,400 then cannot be considered as excessive at the present time. The widow is entitled to take this amount from the estate. If she was willing to spand some of her own money in excess of this amount there is nothing to prevent her from so doing. 16 does not appear that there was really any waste in the way the widow spent the money. The major portion of the money, viz., Rs. 2,101 was spent in the purchase of the bridegroom the widow being anxious and quits rightly to secure a well-educated young man for her daughter who would be in a position to support his wife. The evidence would go to show that the young man is a well-educated young man being a graduate of the Calcutta University and a B.L. It therefore follows that the sale was for legal necessity and is not liable to be set aside.
7. The appeal must therefore succeed and is decreed and the suit of the plaintiff must be entirely dismissed. The appellants are entitled to their coats in all Courts.
8. I agree.