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


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


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.