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C.N. Arunachala Mudaliar v. C.A. Muruganatha Mudaliar, AIR 1953 SC 495


  • Whether when self acquired property of father given to son becomes ancestral or self acquired in the hands of son?


  • Property gifted by a father to his son could not become ancestral property in the hands of the donee simply by reason of the fact that the donee got it from his father or ancestor.


  • The plaintiff filed a suit for specific allotment on partition, of his one-third share in the properties described in the plaint.
  • The father is defendant No.1 and his brother is defendant No.2 and that he was entitled in law to a one-third share in the same.
  • The plaintiff and defendant No. 2, who are two brothers, are both sons of defendant No. 1 by his first wife who predeceased her husband.
  • After the death of the plaintiff’s mother, defendant No. I married again and his second wife is defendant No. 3 in the suit.
  • Defendant No.1in his written statement traversed all allegations of the plaintiff and denied that there was any joint family property to which the plaintiff could lay a claim.
  • His case was that items 1and 2 of Schedule B lands as well as the house property were the self-acquired properties of his father and he got them under a will executed by the latter as early as in the year 1912.
  • As regards the jewels mentioned in the plaint, it was said that only a few of them existed and they belonged exclusively to his wife defendant No. 3.
  • Defendant No. 2, who is the brother of the plaintiff, supported the plaintiff’s case in its entirety.
  • Defendant No. 3 in her written statement asserted that she was not a necessary party to the suit and that whatever jewelry there were belonged exclusively to her.
  • After hearing the case the trial judge came to the conclusion that properties bequeathed to defendant No. I by his father should be held to be ancestral properties in his hands and as the other properties were acquired by defendant No.1 out of the income of the ancestral estate, they also became impressed with the character of joint property.
  • Subordinate Judge made a preliminary decree in favor of the plaintiff and allowed his claim as laid in the plaint with the exception of certain articles of jewellery which were held to be non-existent.
  • Defendant No.1 appealed to Madras High Court but the court dismissed the appeal, but he succeeded in getting a special leave.


  • The Supreme Court held that the property was not ancestral property allowing the appeal and setting aside the judgments and decrees of both courts.
  • In the Court’s opinion, on reading the will as a whole the conclusion becomes clear that the testator intended the legatees to take the properties in absolute right as their own self- acquisition without being fettered in any way by the rights of their sons and grandsons.
  • In other words, he did not intend that the property should be taken by the sons as ancestral property.