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Succession and Inheritance

CWT v. Late R Sridharan & CWT v. Rosa Maria Steinbicher Sridharan (1976) 4 SCC 489

CWT V. LATE R SRIDHARAN & CWT V. ROSA MARIA

CWT v. Late R Sridharan & CWT v. Rosa Maria Steinbicher Sridharan (1976) 4 SCC 489

ISSUE:

  • Whether a son born out of a wedding of a Hindu Father and a Christian Mother could be said to be a Hindu for the purposes of forming a HUF with the father for Tax purposes?
  • Can a son of a Hindu father and mother married under the Special Marriage Act can be considered as a member of his father’s joint family?

RULE:

  • Legitimate children of a Hindu father by a Christian mother who are brought up as Hindus would be governed by Hindu Law. Thus, son of a Hindu father and mother married under the Special Marriage Act will be a member of his father’s joint family.

FACTS:

  • R. Sridharan, his father and his brothers constituted a joint family. Partition took place in the joint family and he was allotted some joint family shares and some companies.
  • Sridharan married a Christian Woman – Rosa Maria under the Special Marriage Act and a son Nicolas Sundaram was born to them in 1957.
  • Sridharan was taxed as an individual for the year 1957-58 and 1958-59. For AY 1959-60, 1960-61 and 1961-62, he claimed to be assessed in the status of a member of a HUF consisting of him and his son.
  • He based his claim on the fact that after partition, the partition share is ancestral qua is male issues and Nicolas Sundaram was a Hindu.
  • The status was refused keeping in mind Section 21 of the Special Marriage Act – succession has to be governed by ISA.

HELD:

  • The Court held that “in the present case, Sridharan is a Hindu by birth and was lawfully married to Rosa Maria Steinbchler. Even after his marriage, he did not renounce Hinduism but continued to profess that religion. Having been begotten out of the aforesaid valid and lawful wedlock, Nicolas Sundaram is a legitimate child and lineal descendant of Sridharan.
  • There is no material on the record to show that Nicolas Sundaram was not brought up as a Hindu or that he did not conform to the habits and usages of Hinduism or that he was not recognized as a Hindu by the society surrounding him or that he became a convert to another faith.
  • Sridharan has also unequivocally acknowledged and expressly declared that he and his son, Nicolas Sundaram formed a Hindu Undivided Family.
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Succession and Inheritance

Revanasiddappa and Anr. v. Mallikarjun and Ors. (2011) 11 SCC 1

REVANASIDDAPPA V. MALLIKARJUN

Revanasiddappa and Anr. v. Mallikarjun and Ors. (2011) 11 SCC 1

ISSUE:

  • Whether illegitimate children are entitled to a share in the coparcenary property or whether their share is limited only to the self-acquired property of their parents under Section 16(3) of the Hindu Marriage Act?

RULE:

  • Section 16(3) as amended, does not impose any restriction on the property right of such children except limiting it to the property of their parents. Therefore, such children will have a right to whatever becomes the property of their parents whether self-acquired or ancestral.

FACTS:

  • The first defendant had two wives- the third plaintiff (the first wife) and the fourth defendant (the second wife). The first defendant had two children from the first wife, the third plaintiff, namely, the first and second plaintiffs; and another two children from his second wife, the fourth defendant namely, the second and third defendant.
  • The plaintiffs (first wife and her two children) had filed a suit for partition and separate possession against the defendants for their 1/4th share each with respect to ancestral property which had been given to the first defendant by way of grant.
  • The Trial Court held that the first defendant had not been able to prove oral partition nor that he had divorced the third plaintiff. The second marriage of the first defendant with the fourth defendant was found to be void, as it had been conducted while his first marriage was still legally subsisting. The Court further held that the third plaintiff was the legally wedded wife of the first defendant and thus was entitled to claim partition.
  • On a first appeal before the High Court, it was held that children born from a void marriage were to be treated at par with coparceners and they were also entitled to the joint family properties of the first defendant. The Court held that the plaintiffs along with the first, second and third defendants were entitled to equal share of 1/6th each in the ancestral properties.
  • On a second appeal before the High Court, it was observed that both the lower courts had concurrently concluded that the fourth defendant was the second wife of the first defendant. Therefore, the second and third defendants were illegitimate children from a void marriage. Section 16(3) of the Hindu Marriage Act makes it clear that illegitimate children only had the right to the property of their parents and no one else.
  • The High Court allowed the appeal and held that the first plaintiff, second plaintiff and the first defendant would be entitled to 1/3rd share each in the suit properties. The claim of the third plaintiff and the second, third and fourth defendants in the suit property was rejected.

HELD:

  • The Supreme Court was of the opinion that the matters should be reconsidered by a larger Bench and for that purpose the records of the case be placed before the Hon’ble the Chief Justice of India for constitution of a larger Bench.
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Succession and Inheritance

Muhammad Husain Khan v. BabuKishva Nandan Sahai, AIR 1937 PC 233

MUHAMMAD HUSAIN KHAN V. BABU KISHVA NANDAN SAHAI

Muhammad Husain Khan v. BabuKishva Nandan Sahai, AIR 1937 PC 233

ISSUE:

  • What is ancestral property? Whether property inherited from a maternal grandfather would constitute grandson’s separate property?

RULE:

  • The word “ancestor” in its ordinary meaning includes an ascendant in the maternal, as well as the paternal, line; but the “ancestral” estate, in which, under the Hindu law, a son acquires jointly with his father an interest by birth, must be confined, as shown by the original text of the Mitakshara, to the property descending to the father from his male ancestor in the male line. The expression has sometimes been used in its ordinary sense, and that use has been the cause of misunderstanding.

FACTS:

  • One Ganesh Prasad, a resident of Banda in the Province of Agra, was the proprietor of a large and valuable estate, including the village in dispute died on May 10, 1914, leaving him surviving a son, Bindeshri Prasad, who was thereupon recorded in the Revenue Records as the proprietor of the estate left by his father.
  • In execution of a decree for money obtained by a creditor against Bindeshri Prasad, the village of Kalinjar Tirhati was sold by auction on November 20, Sir 1924; and the sale was confirmed on January 25, 1925. Bindeshri Prasad then brought the suit, which has led to the present appeal, claiming possession of the property on the ground that the sale was vitiated by fraud.
  • He died on December 25, 1926, and in March, 1927, his widow, Giri Bala,. applied for the substitution of her name as the plaintiff in the suit. She was admittedly the sole heiress of her deceased husband, and this application was accordingly granted.
  • She also asked for leave to amend the plaint on the ground that under a will made by her father-in-law, Ganesh Prasad, on April 5, 1914, her husband got the estate only for his life, and that on the latter’s death his life interest came to an end, and the devise in her favour became operative, making her absolute owner of the estate including the village in question.
  • The trial Judge made an order allowing the amendment, and on May 28, 1927, recorded reasons to justify that order. But in July, 1927, when the defendants in their additional pleas again objected to the amendment, the learned Judge framed an issue as to the validity of the amendment.
  • The High Court, on appeal by the plaintiff, has dissented from that conclusion, and held that the amendment was necessary for the purpose of determining the real questions in controversy between the parties.

HELD:

  • The Supreme Court affirmed the High Court’s order and dismissed the appeal.
  • It was held that the estate, which was inherited by Ganesh Prasad from his maternal grandfather, cannot be held to be ancestral property in which his son had an interest jointly with him. On the death of her husband, the devise in her favour came into operation against her husband could not adversely affect her title.
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Succession and Inheritance

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

C. N. ARUNACHALA MUDALIAR VS C. A. MURUGANATHA MUDALIAR

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

ISSUE:

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

RULE:

  • 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.

FACTS:

  • 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.

HELD:

  • 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.
Categories
Succession and Inheritance

Smt. Dipo v. Wassan Singh, AIR 1983 SC 846

SMT. DIPO V. WASSAN SINGH & OTHERS

Smt. Dipo v. Wassan Singh, AIR 1983 SC 846

ISSUE:

  • Whether the grounds of dismissal of appeals by High court and other courts valid?
  • Whether plaintiff is entitled of all the plaints properties?

RULE:

  • Rules of procedure are meant to advance the cause of justice and not to short circuit decisions on merits.
  • If a person inherits property, whether movable or immovable, from his father or father’s father, or father’s father’s father, it is ancestral property as regards his male issue.

FACTS:

  • The plaintiff J. Smt. Dipo sued to recover possession of the properties which belonged to her brother, Bua Singh, who died in 1952.
  • She claimed to be the nearest heir of Bua Singh. The suit was filed in forma pauperis.
  • The suit was contested by the defendants who are the sons of Ganda Singh, paternal uncle of Bua Singh.
  • The grounds of contest were that Smt. Dipo was not the sister of Bua Singh and that even if she was the sister, the defendants were preferential heirs according to custom, as the whole of the land was ancestral in the hands of Bua Singh.
  • The learned subordinate judge held that the plaintiff was sister of Bua Singh and he found that few of the suit properties were ancestral and some are non-ancestral and decreed in favor of the plaintiff and was awarded certain shares of the property.
  • The plaintiff preferred an appeal to the District Judge, Amritsar. The appeal was purported to be filed in forma pauperis. It was dismissed on the ground that the plaintiff did not present the appeal in person as required by Order 33 Rule 3.
  • The defendants also preferred an appeal, but that was also dismissed.
  • There was a second appeal to the High Court of Punjab and Haryana by the plaintiff. The second appeal was dismissed as barred by limitation.
  • It was dismissed on the grounds that a copy of the trial court’s judgment was not filed along with the memorandum of the second appeal. Though the memorandum of the second appeal was filed within time, the copy of the decree was filed after the expiry of the period of limitation.
  • An appeal by special leave was made.

HELD:

  • The Supreme Court set aside judgments of the district judge and High Court.
  • The reasoning court gave was that it was not satisfied that the High Court dismissed the second appeal on the ground of limitation.
  • The defect was technical as the second appeal itself had been presented in the time. It was only a copy of the trial courts judgment that was filed after the expiry of the period of limitation.
  • The delay in filing a copy of the trial courts judgment should have been condoned and the second appeal should have been entertained and disposed of on merits.
  • The court said that rules of procedure are meant to advance the cause of justice and not to short circuit decision on merits.
  • The court set aside judgments of lower court regarding the share of the property to the plaintiff.
  • It said that the defendants were collaterals of Bua Singh and as regards them the property was not ‘ancestral property’ and hence the plaintiff was the preferential heir. The plaintiff was entitled to a decree in respect of all the plaints properties.
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Succession and Inheritance Uncategorized

Commissioner of Income Tax v. G. Lakshmninarayan AIR 1935 Bom 412

ISSUE:

Whether the income received by right of survivorship by the sole surviving male member of a Hindu undivided family can be taxed in the hands of such male member as his own individual income, or it should be taxed as the income of a Hindu undivided family, for the purposes?

RULE:

With the death of father, the son survived as the sole surviving coparcener. However, because there is no coparcener other than him, it does not follow there is no Hindu Undivided Family. The rights of the female members and other surviving members of the family continue to exist and the possession of family property by sole surviving coparcener is subject to these rights of the other surviving members of the family.

The family is considered to be joint unless and until proved to the contrary. The property was ancestral. But there is a distinction between the HUF and coparcenary. For the purposes of taxation, what is taken into account is the existence of a Hindu Undivided Family and not the existence of coparcenary.

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