3 Important Supreme Court Judgments April 3, 2019

1. Gopalakrishna (d) By Lrs. v. Narayanagowda (dead) By Lrs.

The Limitation Act, 1963  - Section 31 - The Hindu Law Women’s Right to Properties Act, 1934 (Mysore Act of 1933) - Section 10 (2) (g) - “Stridhana” - Position of a Hindu Widow prior to Hindu Succession Act and the State Act - Provisions as to barred or pending suits.

Facts of the Case

The property was alienated by Seethamma, the widow of Ramanna in favour of her brother Srinivas Rao in the year 27 1913. Undoubtedly, it was open to the reversioner to proceed on the basis that such alienation does not bind her. Thereafter, in 1938, Seethamma passed away. Even proceeding on the basis that Jankamma, the grand-daughter of Ramanna was a reversioner, her estate in expectancy became vested in her, upon the death of the Ramanna’s widow, Seethamma in 1938. While it is true that it was open to the reversioner to ignore the sale deed executed by the widow, as not binding on her, as far as suit for recovery of possession, the law clearly provided for a period of 12 years and the period of limitation started with the death of the limited owner, namely, the widow in 1938. The time started ticking with the passing away of the widow in 1938. The period of limitation being 12 years, it ran out in 1950. With the running out of the period of limitation prescribed under the Limitation Act, 1908 (by Articles 140 and 141), the very right of the alleged reversioner Jankamma also came to an end. Thus, when she executed the sale in the year 1955 in favour of the appellants, she could not have conveyed any right. That apart, even for a moment, proceeding on the basis that period of limitation would start from 12 years from 1955 when the sale deed was executed in favour of the appellants by Jankamma even 28 that period ran out in 1967. Admittedly, the suits were filed several years even after 1967. Quite clearly much before the Limitation Act, 1963 came into force, the period of limitation for instituting the suits had expired. This is apart from the effect of not filing such a suit on the very right itself. In such circumstances, we see no reason to interfere with the judgment of the High Court. The appeals will stand dismissed with no order as to costs.

The Hindu Law Women’s Right to Properties Act, 1934 (Mysore Act of 1933) - Section 10 (2) (g) - “Stridhana” - Position of a Hindu Widow prior to Hindu Succession Act and the State Act -the female owning stridhana property was conferred absolute powers to dispose of the same as also in the matter of enjoyment. The disposal could be by will or transfer inter vivos. The only limitation was the law relating to guardianship would continue to operate during minority.

The property inherited by a woman inter alia from her husband was brought under the 21 definition of stridhana. This was a clear expansion of a widow’s rights by conferring upon a widow absolute right over property inherited from her husband being a radical departure from the widow’s estate under Hindu Law which was a limited estate and under which there was no such absolute right of disposal. There was however a catch and it was this. If the husband was survived by the widow and a daughter or a daughter son, then the widow’s estate as understood in Hindu Law was to continue undisturbed. If a daughter or grandson as mentioned did not survive the husband, the widow would get the absolute right notwithstanding Section 10(1) defining stridhana as meaning property of any description belonging to a Hindu female other than which she has by law ‘only a limited estate’. Thus though under Section 4, the widow would inherit in preference to the daughter and daughters’ daughter the nature of the right is as contained in Section 10 and Section 11

Madras School of Hindu Law - Widow’s Estate - Every female who succeeded as a heir whether to a male or a female, took a limited estate in the property inherited by her.

Madras School of Hindu Law - Para 175 of the Mulla on Hindu Law - Nature of the Interest of Reversioners - Who are the reversioners - The reversioners are the heirs of the last full owner, who would be entitled to succeed to the estate of such owner on the death of a widow or other limited heir, if they be then living.

Under the Hindu Law, a widow took a limited estate. She was not a trustee for the reversioners. She was owner of the properties. But she could alienate the property only for necessity or benefit of the estate. By the State Act, the widow’s estate became stridhana, which by virtue of Section 11 conferred upon her absolute right to dispose the property either by way of inter vivos transfer or will.

The Indian Limitation Act, 1908 - Articles 140 and 141 - Reversioner’s suit for possession and limitation - While it was open to the reversioners to ignore an alienation made by a Hindu widow and the period of limitation would not start to run upon a transfer effected by the Hindu widow, undoubtedly, the period of limitation for filing a suit for recovery of possession would commence upon the death of the widow.

Case Number : C.A. No. 1332 of 2008 03-04-2019
Petitioner's Advocate : Anjana Chandrashekar
Respondent's Advocate : Vijay Kumar
Bench : Hon'ble Mr. Justice Ashok Bhushan, Hon'ble Mr. Justice K.M. Joseph

2. Hammad Ahmed v. Abdul Majeed

The Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 - Order XXXIX Rules 1 read with Section 151 - The ad interim mandatory injunction, is to be granted not at the asking but on strong circumstance so that to protect the rights and interest of the parties so as not to frustrate their rights regarding mandatory injunction.

Interpretation of Document - Principle of - One line cannot be taken out of context. It is a cumulative reading of entire document which would lead to one conclusion or the other. 

Case Number : C.A. No. 3382 - 3383 of 2019 03-04-2019
Petitioner's Advocate : Jaikriti S. Jadeja
Bench : Hon'ble Mr. Justice Uday Umesh Lalit, Hon'ble Mr. Justice Hemant Gupta

3. Laxmi Chaudhary v. Sahib Singh Chaudhary

Rent Control and Eviction - Suit for eviction and recovery of damages and mesne profit - the High Court has vacated the stay granted in favour of the tenant on the ground of non-compliance of the conditional order passed by the High Court - Appeal is allowed with the direction.

Case Number : C.A. No. 3385 of 2019 03-04-2019
Petitioner's Advocate : Rajan K. Chourasia
Bench : Hon'ble Mrs. Justice R. Banumathi, Hon'ble Mr. Justice R. Subhash Reddy
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