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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.