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Hindu Widow in Possession of Husband Property Having Right to Be Maintained Out of It - Entitled to Retain the Possession of That Property in Lieu of Her Right to Maintenance. Air 1998 Sc 2401

Hindu Widow in Possession of Husband Property Having Right to Be Maintained Out of It - Entitled to Retain the Possession of That Property in Lieu of Her Right to Maintenance. Air 1998 Sc 2401

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Hon’ble Dr. Justice A.S. Anand, Hon’ble Mr. Justice V.N. Khare IN THE CASE OF RAGHUBAR SINGH & ORS. VS GULAB SINGH & ORS HINDU WIDOW IN POSSESSION OF HUSBAND PROPERTY HAVING RIGHT TO BE MAINTAINED OUT OF IT - ENTITLED TO RETAIN THE POSSESSION OF THAT PROPERTY IN LIEU OF HER RIGHT TO MAINTENANCE. AIR 1998 SC 2401
Hon’ble Dr. Justice A.S. Anand, Hon’ble Mr. Justice V.N. Khare IN THE CASE OF RAGHUBAR SINGH & ORS. VS GULAB SINGH & ORS HINDU WIDOW IN POSSESSION OF HUSBAND PROPERTY HAVING RIGHT TO BE MAINTAINED OUT OF IT - ENTITLED TO RETAIN THE POSSESSION OF THAT PROPERTY IN LIEU OF HER RIGHT TO MAINTENANCE. AIR 1998 SC 2401

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06/25/2012

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http://JUDIS.NIC.IN SUPREME COURT OF INDIAPage 1 of 14
PETITIONER:RAGHUBAR SINGH & ORS.Vs.RESPONDENT:GULAB SINGH & ORS.DATE OF JUDGMENT: 14/07/1998BENCH:A.S. ANAND, V.N. KHAREACT:HEADNOTE:JUDGMENT:THE 14TH DAY OF JULY, 1998Present:Hon’ble Dr. Justice A.S. AnandHon’ble Mr. Justice V.N. KharePramod Swarup, Ms. Prerna Swarup and Prashant Chaudhary,Adv., for the appellants.T.L.V. Iyer, Sr. Adv., S.S. Khanduja and B.K. Satija. Advs.with him for the respondents.J U D G E M E N TThe following Judgment of the court was delivered:DR. A.S. ANAND,JAn answer to the question whether smt. Janak Dulariwife of Manraj Singh had any pre-existing right in the suitland whether after the coming into force of the Hindusuccession Act, 1958 (hereinafter referred to us the Act)she became the full or obsolute owner of that land, woulddetermine the fate of this appeal by special leave.The following table shows the relations to between theparties:-Subransingh------------------------------------------------------------Hakim singh Dashrath Hukum singhsinghDhurandhur singhManraj Khedu Dilraj Rabiraj PanchamSingh Singh Singh Singh Singh=Janak =KalawatiDulariNarbadiaOsersingh Samsher ManpherSingh.Raghubir singh & Ors.(Defendant No. 1)=AppellantsGulabsingh Jokhai Sheojorsingh(Pltiff.1) Singh (Pltff.3)(Pltff.2)(Respondents)Manraj singh son of Dhurandhar singh and grandson ofHakimsingh son of the common ancestor of the partiesSubransingh, executed a will (Ex.D-5) on 23.7.1946. He died
 
http://JUDIS.NIC.IN SUPREME COURT OF INDIAPage 2 of 14
on 27.8.1945. Manpher Singh son of Dashrath Singh son of thecommon ancestor Subransingh filed a suit for cancellation ofthe will in which Smt.Janak Dulari widow of Manraj Singh andher grandson Reguhvir Singh (son of Narbadia) were both madeparties. That suit ended in a compromise and a decree waspassed in terms of the compromise and a decree was passed interms of the compromise deed (ex-P-3) on 2.8.47. Clause Nos.1 and 2 of the compromise decree read as follows:-"1. That as till her life timeas Hindu widow per terms of willdated 23.7.1946 executed by Manrajin favour of Raghubar Singh Mst.Janak Dulari will remain inownership and possession.2. That after the death ofdefendant Janak Dulari Pawai(Jagirdar) Britt, Pawai 55/45,except land which was received inpartition by the father of ManrajSingh, Dhurandher Singh allproperty moveable and immovablewhole house will go to the heirs ofManiraj singh, Defendant RaghubarSingh as owner and to his heirs andlegal representatives."Smt. Janak Dulari continued to remain in possession ofthe suit property after the death of her husband ManrajSingh on 27.8.1946. She died on 3.11.1969. The respondents(sons of Samsher Singh son of Dashrath Singh) herein, afterthe death of Smt. Janak Dulari, filed a suit for possessionof the suit land and mesne profits inter alia alleging thatthe land in suit was ancestral Pawai land of Manraj Singhand on the death of Manraj singh, Smt. Janak Dulari as hiswidow came into possession of the entire land. That ManrajSingh had no son and as his only issue, a daughter by nameNarbadia, according to the law than in force in Rewa State(where the suit lands are situated) could not inherit fromher father, he (Manraj Singh) executed a will on 23.6.46gifting the entire property, movable and immovable, toRaghubir singh protecting the right of his wife Smt. JanakDulari to enjoy the usufruct from the land during her lifetime. It was also alleged that Janak Dulari had no pre-existing right in the suit land and that the compromisedecree (ex-P-3) had created only life interest in her and,therefore, despite Section 14 of the Hindu Succession Act,1956, Smt. Janak Dulari, never became the full or absoluteowner of the suit property. According to plaintiffs(respondents herein) they being the reversioners wereentitled to possession as owners of the land left by Manrajsingh. They also questioned the validity of the sale deedsexecuted by Smt. Janak Dulari in favour of defendant vendorson the ground that sales had not been made for any legalnecessity and, therefore, the vendees acquired no validtitle to the property purchased by them. The plaintiffsfurther questioned the right of Raghubir singh to theproperty left by Manraj Singh on various grounds. They alsoclaimed certain amounts by way of mesne profits but did notpursue that claim later on.The suit was contested. The defence on the part of theappellants (defendants) was that Smt. janak Dulari had aninherent right of maintenance out of the estate of ManrajSingh and that the compromise decree (ex-P-3) had concededownership of the land to her in recognition of that right.It was claimed that Smt. Janak Dulari had become an absoluteowner of that land by virtue of Section 14(1) of the Act and
 
http://JUDIS.NIC.IN SUPREME COURT OF INDIAPage 3 of 14
was, therefore, fully competent to transfer that landthrough sale deeds Exs. D-13 and D-14 and that thosealienations could not be challenged by the plaintiffs afterher death. It was further pleaded that after the death ofSmt. janak Dulari, the land devolved on Raghubir Singh inaccordance with the terms of the will of Manraj Singh (Ex.D-5) and, therefore, the right of Raghubir Singh over the suitproperty, as its owner was beyond doubt. The right of theplaintiffs to claim ownership and possession of the suitland was denied.The Trial Court framed a number of issues andultimately after recording evidence dismissed the suit. TheTrial Court held that Smt. Janak Dulari had been given lifeinterest in the property of her husband through the will andthat right was her pre-existing right and after the cominginto force of the Hindu Succession Act in 1956, Smt. janakDulari acquired absolute right over that property and shehad every right to sell that property. The Trial Court,further held that since smt. Janak Dulari had got anabsolute right over the suit property in 1956, therefore,the question whether the transfer was made for any legalnecessity or not was irrelevant. The Trail court held thatthe plaintiffs had failed to establish that they had anyright or title over the suit land. Aggrieved by the judgmentand order of the Trial Court, the respondents-plaintiffsfiled Civil Appeal No. 58 of 1978 which was heard by theFirst Additional District Judge. The appeal was allowed andthe judgment and decree of the Trial Court was set-aside andplaintiff’s suit was decreed in respect of certain portionsof the suit land. The defendants were directed to delivervacant possession of agricultural holdings measuring about32 acres in village Baron, Tehsil Sirmaur, District Rewa tothe plaintiffs. Aggrieved by the judgment and decree of theFirst Additional District Judge in civil Appeal No. 58 of1978, the appellants filed a Second Appeal in the High Courtof Madhya Pradesh. A learned Single Judge of the High Courtpartly allowed the appeal by setting aside plaintiffs suitin so far as it related to Khasra numbers 549, 538/3525, 486and 551/3527 but maintained the decree and judgment made bythe first appellate court in respect of remaining land. TheHigh Court held that Smt. Janak Dulari had only been allowedto remain in possession and enjoy the property under thewill (Ex.D-5) and that same right had been reiterated by thecompromise decree (ex-P-3) as well. That the said right wasnot in lieu of any pre-existing right of maintenance. TheHigh Court, therefore, held that Smt. Janak Dulari neverbecame full owner of the estate and that her case wasgoverned by sub-Section 14 of the Act. It was also held thatshe was not competent to transfer any portion of the suitland by sale and the transfers made by her therefore, didnot bind the plaintiffs after her death. The High Courtaccepted the plea of the plaintiff-respondents that underthe will the entire estate of the testator was to devolve onthe legatee Raghuvir singh and that no proprietory rightswere ever created in favour of Mst. Janak Dulari by the willand that she was only to remain in possession of the landand enjoy the usufruct of the property during her life time.The High Court negatived the interpretation placed by theappellants on the terms of the Will (Ex.D-5) as well as thecompromise decree and rejected the plea that Mst. JanakDulari had acquired the property of her deceased husband inlieu of her right of maintenance. According to the learnedsingh died, Smt. Janak Dulari acquired no pre-existingright, which could mature into full ownership after thecoming into force of the Act in 1956. In the words of the

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