Hindu Succession Act sec.14 (1) and (2) - compromise decree when parties goes against the Will Deed 1918, entered in recognition of pre-existing right of maintenance as the wife of testator - sec.14(1) attracts - she had got every right to dispose of her property as she was the absolute owner of the property = Bobbala Kondamma and others.. Appellants Siddireddy Rami Reddy (died) and others.. Respondents = 2014 ( January Part ) judis.nic.in/judis_andhra/filename=10786

Hindu Succession Act sec.14 (1) and (2) - compromise decree when parties goes against the Will Deed 1918, entered in recognition of pre-existing right of maintenance as the wife of testator - sec.14(1) attracts  - she had got every right to dispose of her property as she was the absolute owner of the property =
The distinction between Sub-Sections 1 and 2 of Section 14 of the Act is rather
subtle.  The provisions cover two different situations altogether, and provide
for substantial different legal consequences.  
The judgment in Tulasamma's case
can be said to be a research document on Section 14 of the Act.   Their
Lordships took the view that Sub-Section 2 of Section 14 of the Act cannot be
treated as an independent provision and in a way, it is a proviso to Sub-Section
1.  Another aspect, which needs to be kept in mind, is that while Sub-Section 1
deals with the arrangements made before the Act came into force, Sub-Section 2
deals with those that are made thereafter.
Notwithstanding these noted distinctions, the best way of understanding the
difference between these two provisions, is as to whether the arrangement
contemplated under Sub-Section 2 is otherwise than in recognition of the pre-
existing right to maintain a Hindu woman.  If the answer is in the affirmative,
the situation attracts Sub-Section 1 and if it is in the negative, Sub-Section 2
gets attracted.  Though some observations were made giving a different
indication in this behalf, none of them have doubted the binding nature of the
ratio in Tulasamma's case.  If that is taken as the basis, hardly there exists
any doubt that the situation is covered by Sub-Section 1 inasmuch as the arrangement under Ex.A.4 was in recognition of the pre-existing obligation of Narayana Reddy to maintain Ramakka.

Once it is held that Sub-Section 1 of Section 14 of the Act gets attracted and
Ramakka was alive by the time the Act came into force, her limited rights under
Ex.A.4 stood enlarged into absolute ones and she had every right to enjoy the
same, according to her wishes.  Thereby, the gifts made by her in favour of the
appellants 1 and 2 under Exs.B.2 and B.6 become valid.  Consequently, the sales
effected by the 1st appellant in favour of the appellants 3 to 5 become valid.

The learned Single Judge, in his judgment, made an observation to the effect
that for application of Section 14 of the Act, the Hindu woman must be in
possession of the property.  Hardly any doubt exists in this behalf, the reason
is that Ramakka was enjoying the possession of the properties covered by Ex.A.4
and it is during her lifetime that she transferred them in favour of the
appellants.  Other observations were also made which run contrary to the
principles laid down by the Supreme Court.  The point is, accordingly, answered.

We, therefore, allow the Letters Patent Appeal and set aside the decree passed
by the learned Single Judge.  There shall be no order as to costs.

2014 ( January Part ) judis.nic.in/judis_andhra/filename=10786

THE HON'BLE SRI JUSTICE L. NARASIMHA REDDY AND  THE HON'BLE SRI JUSTICE M.S.K.JAISWAL                  

L.P.A.No.154 of 2002

02-01-2014

Bobbala Kondamma and others.. Appellants

Siddireddy Rami Reddy (died) and others.. Respondents

Counsel for appellants : Sri C.V. Mohan Reddy

Counsel for respondents : Sri O. Manoher Reddy

<GIST:

>HEAD NOTE:  

?CASES REFERRED :    

1) (1977) 3 SCC 99

THE HON'B LE SRI JUSTICE L. NARASIMHA REDDY      
        AND  
THE HON'BLE SRI JUSTICE M.S.K. JAISWAL    

L.P.A.No.154 of 2002
JUDGMENT : (Per LNR,,J)
This Letters Patent Appeal is filed against the judgment, dated 18.12.2001,
rendered by a learned Single Judge of this Court in Appeal No.979 of 1990.  The
appeal, in turn, arose out of the judgment and decree, dated 06.11.1989, passed
by the Court of the Subordinate Judge, Nandyal, in O.S.No.118 of 1987.

The defendants in the suit are the appellants and the sole plaintiff is the
respondent.  The respondent died during the pendency of the appeal and his legal
representatives were brought on record.

The respondent filed the suit for declaration of his title in respect of the
suit schedule properties and for recovery of possession thereof from the
appellants.
He stated that the original owner of the properties was one Mr.
Siddireddy Vengalreddy, S/o Ramireddy.  Vengalreddy married Ramakka, but they
have no issues.
Vengalreddy's father, Ramireddy, had a brother, by name,
Sivanagi Reddy, who had a son, by name, Narayana Reddy, the father of the
respondent.
In other words, Narayana Reddy is the cousin brother of
Vengalreddy.
It was stated in the plaint that Vengalreddy executed a Will on
05.11.1918 (Ex.A.1) bequeathing all his properties in favour of his cousin
brother Narayana Reddy i.e., father of the respondent, however, by creating life
interest in favour of his wife Ramakka in respect of items 2, 6 and 7 of the
plaint schedule and the vested remainder in respect of those items was created
in favour of Narayana Reddy.  A recital was made in Ex.A.1 to the effect that
the gold and silver ornaments shall be divided between Ramakka and Vengamma,   
sister of Vengal Reddy, in equal shares.

The respondent pleaded that after the death of Vengalreddy, Narayana Reddy took
possession of the properties through his father and at that stage,
Ramakka filed
O.S.No.257 of 1919 in the Court of the District Munsif, Nandyal, against
Narayana Reddy and Vengamma, for declaration to the effect that the Ex.A.1 Will
executed by her husband is a forged document and not valid.
The suit is said to
have ended in a compromise whereunder Ramakka admitted the validity of the 
Ex.A.1 Will, and in addition to items 2,6 and 7 of the plaint schedule, she was
conferred with life interest in respect of other items also and that a provision
was made for division of the properties equally between herself and Narayana
Reddy.  
A compromise decree, dated 19.03.1920 (Ex.A.3), is said to have been 
passed and that thereafter, a deed in terms of the compromise decree was
executed. 

Ramakka executed a Gift Deed, dated 19.07.1974,  in respect of items 1 to 4 of
the plaint schedule in favour of the 1st appellant and another Gift Deed, dated
23.07.1994, in respect of items 5 to 7 of the plaint schedule in favour of the
2nd appellant.
Thereafter, the 1st appellant sold item 1 to the appellants 3
and 4 through a Sale Deed, dated 27.06.1986 and on 21.04.1986, he sold item 3 in
favour of the 5th appellant.
The respondent pleaded that none of these
documents are valid, since Ramakka did not have absolute rights over the
properties.
According to him, Section 14(1) of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956
(for short 'the Act') does not apply to the facts and the arrangement provided
for under the compromise decree or the documents executed in pursuance thereof 
would attract Section 14(2) of the Act.

The suit was opposed by the appellants.  They have put the respondent to strict
proof of the facts pleaded by him, including the one, as to genuinity of the
Will Ex.A.1.  They pleaded that assuming that Ex.A.1 Will is genuine, it is
superceded by the arrangement between Ramakka and Narayana Reddy through the  
compromise decree, dated 19.03.1920 (Ex.A.3) and a partition deed, dated
16.07.1920 (Ex.A.4).  They pleaded that under Ex.A.4, separate items were
allocated to Ramakka, may be with life interest, and by operation of Section
14(1) of the Act, her limited rights under Ex.A.4 got enlarged into absolute
ones, inasmuch as she was alive till 18.07.1987.  They have pleaded that Ramakka
has every right to transfer the properties covered by Ex.A.4, as she desired.
The trial Court dismissed the suit on a finding that the case is governed by
Section 14(1) of the Act and that Ramakka has every right to alienate the
properties covered by Ex.A.4.  Learned Single Judge of this Court, however,
reversed the decree passed by the trial Court and decreed the suit.

Sri C.V. Mohan Reddy, learned senior counsel for the appellants, submits that
beyond any pale of doubt, the case is governed by Section 14(1) of the Act.  He
contends that though Ramakka was conferred with limited rights in respect of the
plaint schedule properties under Ex.A.4, such rights stood enlarged to absolute
rights, by operation of Section 14(1) of the Act.  He submits that the learned
Single Judge has taken a totally untenable view on facts and law and has
reversed the well-considered judgment passed by the trial Court.

Sri O. Manoher Reddy, learned counsel for the respondent, on the other hand,
submits that Narayana Reddy became the absolute owner of items 1, 3, 4 and 5 of
the suit schedule straight away and of items 2, 6 and 7, after the death of
Ramakka.  He contends that the arrangements under Ex.A.3 and Ex.A.4 are totally
different and independent of Ex.A.1 and viewed from that angle, they are
regulated by Section 14(2) of the Act.  He submits that Narayana Reddy, the
father of the respondent, was not under any obligation to maintain Ramakka and
the disposition made under Ex.A.4 does not attract Section 14(1) of the Act.

Both the learned counsel for the parties have extensively relied upon the
judgment of the Supreme Court in V. Tulasamma and others Vs. Sesha Reddy (dead)
by L.Rs1. Apart from that, several precedents were cited by them.

The trial Court framed the following issues for consideration:
1) Whether the plaintiff has locus standi to institute the suit in view of the
suit notice having been given by (1) the plaintiff (2) S. Venkataramanareddy (3)
Siddireddy Venkatasubbareddy?

2) Whether the will dt.5.11.1918 relied upon by the plaintiff is true, valid and
binding on the defendants?

3) Whether the compromise decree in O.S.No.257/1919 relied upon by the plaintiff
is valid and executable?

4) Whether the registered deed dated 16.2.1920 relied upon by the plaintiff in
para 9 of the plaint creates any rights in favour of the plaintiff's grand
father and whether the said rights have devolved upon the plaintiff?

5) Whether late Ramakka was enjoying the plaint schedule properties are governed
by Section 14(3) of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 as alleged by the plaintiff
or under Section 14(1) as alleged by the defendants?
6) Whether the gift deed dated 12.7.1984 and 23.7.84 are true and valid and
binding on the plaintiff?

7) Whether late Ramakka perfected her title by adverse possession also?

8) Whether the plaintiff is estopped in law from questioning the gift deed
dt.19.7.84 and 23.7.84?

9) Whether the several sale deeds in favour of defendants 3 to 8 mentioned in
the plaint are not binding on the plaintiff?

On behalf of the respondent, P.Ws.1 and 2 were examined and Exs.A.1 to A.13 were
filed.  On behalf of the appellants, D.Ws.1 to 9  were examined and Exs.B.1 to
B.8 were filed. The suit was dismissed.  A.S.No.979 of 1990 filed by the
respondent was allowed.

The points, that arise for consideration in this appeal, are as to:

1) Whether the arrangement made under Ex.A.4 can be treated as independent of
Ex.A.1 Will executed by Vengal Reddy?
2) Whether Narayana Reddy, the father of the respondent, was under obligation to
maintain Ramakka?
3) Whether the disposition made under Ex.A.4 is governed by Sub-Section 1 or
Sub-Section 2 of Section 14 of the Act?
POINT NO.1:
Not only all the seven items of the plaint schedule, but also certain other
items were held by Sri Vengal Reddy.  He did not have any children through his
wife Ramakka.  The plea of the respondent was that Vengal Reddy executed a Will
in favour of his cousin brother, Narayana Reddy.  It is necessary to mention
that by the time the Will dated 05.11.1918 was executed, Narayana Reddy was
minor.  His father, Siva Nagi Reddy, was taking all the steps on his behalf.
The plea of the respondent is that on the death of Vengal Reddy, Siva Nagi Reddy
took possession of all the items covered by Ex.A.1 for and on behalf of his son,
Narayana Reddy, the legatee.

Ramakka seriously disputed Ex.A.1 Will, and in fact she was entitled to do so.
Not a single item of the property was bequeathed to her.  She was only conferred
with life interest in respect of three items of immovable property and was given
half of the gold and silver articles.  The other half has been bequeathed to her
sister-in-law, Vengamma.  Ramakka filed O.S.No.257 of 1919 in the Court of
District Munsif, Nandyal, with a prayer to declare that Ex.A.1 Will is a
fabricated one, and not valid in law.  A compromise petition was filed in that
suit  by both the parties i.e., Ramakka and Narayana Reddy represented by their
father.  Ex.A.2 is the compromise petition and Ex.A.3 is the decree.  A perusal
of Ex.A.3 discloses that the parties agreed to divide all the properties covered
by Ex.A.1 equally between Ramakka and Narayana Reddy.  If that were to have been
the arrangement, there would not have been any complication whatsoever.  Even
while conferring absolute rights upon Narayana Reddy in respect of half of the
properties covered by Ex.A.1 Will, vested remainder was created in him in the
properties that were allotted to the share of Ramakka.  In other words, Ramakka
had only life estate in the extents, allotted to her share under Ex.A.4.

Specific reference was made to Ex.A.1 in Ex.A.4.  But for the bequest made under
Ex.A.1, there would not have been any occasion for execution of Ex.A.4 or for
that matter, any basis for Narayana Reddy to claim rights over the properties
held by Vengal Reddy. The inescapable conclusion, therefore, is that the
arrangement made under Ex.A.4 is squarely referable to the disposition made
under Ex.A.1 Will executed by Vengal Reddy.  The point is, accordingly, answered
in the negative.

POINT NO.2:
This aspect becomes vital in the context of application of Sub-Section 1, as the
case may be, of Sub-Section 2 of Section 14 of the Act.  It is only when limited
rights are conferred in favour of a Hindu woman; in recognition of pre-existing
obligation to maintain her, that such limited rights would get enlarged into
absolute ones by operation.  Therefore, the fulcrum for operation of Section 14
of the Act, in its entirety, would be the existence of obligation to maintain a
Hindu woman.

The obligation to maintain a Hindu woman would be basically upon her parents, if
she is unmarried and upon her husband, if married, and on the children, if the
husband is no more.  The persons  outside the family, of which a Hindu woman is
a member are hardly placed under obligation to maintain her, whether one goes by
the mandate under Sasthric laws or under the modern law.

If a person on whom a Hindu woman is dependent, is alive, the right can
certainly be enforced against him.  Where, however, he is no more, any one who
takes the property from the person who was under obligation to do so, incurs the
liability to maintain the concerned woman.  In other words, the property held by
a person who was under obligation to maintain a Hindu woman is always burdened
with that very obligation.  A legal heir would not inherit such property nor a
transferee would acquire the property otherwise than with the obligation.  It is
apt to refer to the following paragraph of the judgment of the Supreme Court in
Tulasamma's case:
"20.            Thus, on a careful consideration and detailed analysis of the
authorities mentioned above and the Shastric Hindu Law on the subject, the
following propositions emerge with respect to the incidents and characteristics
of a Hindu woman's right to maintenance:

1) that a Hindu woman's right to maintenance is a personal obligation so far as
the husband is concerned, and it is his duty to maintain her even if he has no
property.  If the husband has property then the right of the widow to
maintenance becomes an equitable charge on his property and any person who
succeeds to the property carries with it the legal obligation to maintain the
widow"

2) though the widow's right to maintenance is not a right to property but it is
undoubtedly a pre-existing right in property, i.e., it is a jus and rem not jus
in rem and it can be enforced by the widow who can get a charge created for her
maintenance on the property either by an agreement or by obtaining a decree from
the civil Court;

3) that the right of maintenance, is a matter of moment and is of such
importance that even if the joint property is sold and the purchaser has notice
of the widow's right to maintenance, the purchaser is legally bound to provide
for her maintenance;

4) that the right to maintenance is undoubtedly a pre-existing right which
existed in the Hindu Law long before the passing of the Act of 1937 or the Act
of 1946, and is, therefore, a pre-existing right;

5) that the right to maintenance flows from the social and temporal relationship
between the husband and the wife by virtue of which the wife becomes a sort of
co-owner in the property of her husband, though her co-ownership is of a
subordinate nature; and

6) that where a Hindu widow is in possession of the property of her husband, she
is entitled to retain the possession in lieu of her maintenance unless the
person who succeeds to the property or purchases the same is in a position to
make due arrangements for her maintenance."

Therefore, Narayana Reddy came under obligation to maintain Ramakka, not because
he is distantly related to her, but on account of the fact that he got the
benefit of the estate of the husband of Ramakka.  It was not out of any charity
or benevolence that he made an arrangement under Ex.A.4 in favour of Ramakka.
It is squarely and purely in recognition of his pre-existing obligation to
maintain Ramakka, that he made the arrangement.  The point is, accordingly,
answered.

POINT NO.3:
The distinction between Sub-Sections 1 and 2 of Section 14 of the Act is rather
subtle.  The provisions cover two different situations altogether, and provide
for substantial different legal consequences.  The judgment in Tulasamma's case
can be said to be a research document on Section 14 of the Act.   Their
Lordships took the view that Sub-Section 2 of Section 14 of the Act cannot be
treated as an independent provision and in a way, it is a proviso to Sub-Section
1.  Another aspect, which needs to be kept in mind, is that while Sub-Section 1
deals with the arrangements made before the Act came into force, Sub-Section 2
deals with those that are made thereafter.

Notwithstanding these noted distinctions, the best way of understanding the
difference between these two provisions, is as to whether the arrangement
contemplated under Sub-Section 2 is otherwise than in recognition of the pre-
existing right to maintain a Hindu woman.  If the answer is in the affirmative,
the situation attracts Sub-Section 1 and if it is in the negative, Sub-Section 2
gets attracted.  Though some observations were made giving a different
indication in this behalf, none of them have doubted the binding nature of the
ratio in Tulasamma's case.  If that is taken as the basis, hardly there exists
any doubt that the situation is covered by Sub-Section 1 inasmuch as the arrangement under Ex.A.4 was in recognition of the pre-existing obligation of Narayana Reddy to maintain Ramakka.

Once it is held that Sub-Section 1 of Section 14 of the Act gets attracted and
Ramakka was alive by the time the Act came into force, her limited rights under
Ex.A.4 stood enlarged into absolute ones and she had every right to enjoy the
same, according to her wishes.  Thereby, the gifts made by her in favour of the
appellants 1 and 2 under Exs.B.2 and B.6 become valid.  Consequently, the sales
effected by the 1st appellant in favour of the appellants 3 to 5 become valid.

The learned Single Judge, in his judgment, made an observation to the effect
that for application of Section 14 of the Act, the Hindu woman must be in
possession of the property.  Hardly any doubt exists in this behalf, the reason
is that Ramakka was enjoying the possession of the properties covered by Ex.A.4
and it is during her lifetime that she transferred them in favour of the
appellants.  Other observations were also made which run contrary to the
principles laid down by the Supreme Court.  The point is, accordingly, answered.

We, therefore, allow the Letters Patent Appeal and set aside the decree passed
by the learned Single Judge.  There shall be no order as to costs.

The Miscellaneous Petitions, if any, pending in the appeal shall stand disposed
of.
______________________  
L.NARASIMHA REDDY,J.  
_______________
M.S.K. JAISWAL,  J.
2nd January, 2014

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