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Sita Nath Chakravarti Vs. BepIn Behari Chowdhury and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
CourtKolkata
Decided On
Judge
Reported in117Ind.Cas.529
AppellantSita Nath Chakravarti
RespondentBepIn Behari Chowdhury and ors.
Excerpt:
hindu law - self acquisition--presumptions--duty of court to decide on evidence when evidence is available. - .....in dacca; while sitanath, the eldest brother, remained at home. it does not appear that the joint, family possessed any joint ancestral property at all. but there was evidence in support of the finding that the brothers from time to time remitted small sums of money for family purposes and that dinonath, when in dacca, sent sums of money from time to time to his eldest brother at home. it further appears that at sometime or the other, money lending transactions were carried on by the brothers and there is evidence that the brother who happened to be at home carried on these transactions more than that, it appears that about 1917 dinonath became ill and came back home, and sitanath went to dacca to take his place there. there is evidence that sometime or other dinonath's wife cut.....
Judgment:

1. This case has been well-argued, and we are much obliged to the learned Vakils for the trouble which they have taken. The dispute arises over a tank and it appears that eight annaa of this tank was acquired in the name of one of three Hindu brothers who together form a joint Hindu family. The brother in whose name the property was acquired was Sitanath, the eldest of the three brothers, the names of the others being Dinonath and Chandranath. It appears that this tank was not being assessed to public revenue, and the Government treated it as khas mehal, and the finding was that Sitanath and three other persons, stranger to the family, were in possession, and the Government re-settled the tank upon Sitanath and the three strangers, and thereafter that Sitanath has been paying the jama which was settled to the Government. This took place in 1896. The share of Sitanath in this tank was four annas. In 1915 there was also acquired in the name of Sitanath a further four annas share of this tank. Dinonath died in l919 and after his death the plaintiff purchased from his widow her interest in the tank which, she asserted, was one-third of eight annas. The plaintiff's claim depends upon this: was the eight annas, share in the tank which was acquired in the name of Sitanath acquired for Sitanath in his personal capacity or as one of the members and on behalf and for the benefit of the joint Hindu family cowhom the three brothers were the joint of parceners? The trial Court found in favour of the defendants. The plaintiff appealed and the suit was decreed inj his favour and he was declared entitled to oints possession with the defendants. The defendants have preferred this second appeal.

2. The learned Subordinate Judge in the lower Appellate Court has held that 'on the evidence the three brothers were joint in mess, food and property all along, and that the property in suit was acquired on, behalf of the joint Hindu family and that the plaintiff's vendor was in joint possession all along with her brother-in-law.' Now, was there evidence to support that finding? There was abundant evidence that the three brothers were joint in mess, food and property at least up to the year 1916. Was there evidence that the property in suit was acquired on behalf of the joint Hindu family and that the plaintiff's vendor was in joint possession all along with, sitauatn. The finding of the lower Appellate Court was to this effect--that these, three brothers were on the best of terms until shortly before Dinonath's death in 1919. It appears that Dinonath was a pujari and carried on his avocation in Dacca; while Sitanath, the eldest brother, remained at home. It does not appear that the joint, family possessed any joint ancestral property at all. But there was evidence in support of the finding that the brothers from time to time remitted small sums of money for family purposes and that Dinonath, when in Dacca, sent sums of money from time to time to his eldest brother at home. It further appears that at sometime or the other, money lending transactions were carried on by the brothers and there is evidence that the brother who happened to be at home carried on these transactions More than that, it appears that about 1917 Dinonath became ill and came back home, and Sitanath went to Dacca to take his place there. There is evidence that sometime or other Dinonath's wife cut timber and took bamboos from the bank of this tank. On the other hand, there is the fact that the Record-of-Rights stands in the name of Sitanath, that the property was acquired; in the name of Sitanath and that, in fact, he paid the jama in respect of it. Unde those circumstances, was there evidence upon which the learned Subordinate Judge could have found that the brothers were joint in mess, food and property all along, that the property in suit was acquired on behalf of the joint Hindu family and that the plaintiffs' vendor was in joint possession with Sitanath? We have had an interesting discussion as to various presumptions which arise from the relations inter se of the members of a joint Hindu family. But as appears from the authorities, where there is evidence of circumstances which point to an acquisition by one member either for himself personally or for the benefit of the family, the presumptions are superseded by the circumstances which have been found obtaining in the particular case, and the Court considering all the circumstances draws an inference there from one way or another. We have carefully considered the arguments which have been presented to us and we have considered the rulings to which our attention has been called and without entering into the question as to what were the relevant presumptions in law which arise, we are of opinion that there was evidence, both oral and documentary, one way and the other upon the vital issues in this case and although there is much force in the arguments which were urged in support of the plaintiffs' claim, we are not satisfied that the decision of the lower Appellate Court was wrong, or that there was no evidence upon the record by which it could reasonably be maintained. For these reasons, we are of opinion that we ought not to disturb the decree under appeal and in our opinion, the appeal fails and must be dismissed with costs.


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