Decided on July 16,1981

BASANGOUDA Respondents


- (1.) In this defendants' second appeal the only question of law that has been pressed into service by Sri U. L. Narayana Rao, learned counsel for the appellants is as follows: Whether on the facts and circumstances of the case, exception to sub-section (1) of S. 14 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 provided under Sub-sec. (2) of that section is attracted?
(2.) The facts, very briefly stated are as follows: As far back as 1901 appellants' mother, by an arrangement which was not reduced to writing, was given possession of the suit schedule properties for her maintenance. Thereafter, the mother of the plaintiffs died in the year 1972 and the properties were taken over by the defendants. In the result, respondent-plaintiffs filed a suit for declaration of their title and possession of the suit properties. Plaintiffs are the heirs of Totavva and daughter of the husband of the mother of the defendants who was the second wife of plaintiffs' grand father. The suit was decreed substantially on the question that there was no restriction imposed on the nature of the estate held by Thottavva. the mother of the plaintiffs on the coming into force of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 (hereinafter inferred to as 'the Act') in terms of the exception in sub-sec. (2) of S. 14 of the Act', and therefore, she had acquired an absolute interest before her death in 1972 and as a consequence her estate passed to her own heirs.
(3.) Mr. U. L. Narayanai Rap, learned counsel has not been able to point out how a restriction in writing was created on the type of life estate held by deceased Thotavva the mother of the plaintiffs under the so called arrangement of 1901 or some time thereafter. Section 14(1) and (2) read as follows: "14(1): Any property possessed by a female Hindu, whether acquired before or after the commencement of this Act. shall be held by her as full owner thereof and not as a limited owner. Explanation:-In this subsection "property" includes both movable and immovable property acquired by a female Hindu by inheritance or device, or at a partition, or in lieu of maintenance or arrears of maintenance, or by gift from any person, whether relative or not, before, at or after her marriage, or by her own skill or exertion, or by purchase or by prescription, or in any manner whatsoever, and also any such property held by her as Stridhana immediately before the commencement of this Act. (2): Nothing contained in subsection (1) shall apply to any property acquired by way of gift or under a will or any other instrument or under a decree or order of a civil court or under an award where the terms of the gift, will or other instrument or the decree, order or award prescribe a restricted estate in such property." Sub-section (2) is by way of exception to sub-section (1) of S. 14 of the Act. The language of sub-section (2) is clear as to indicate that such life estate held by a Hindu lady prior to the coming into force of the Act must be restricted by instruments mentioned therein. It should be either a deed of gift, will or any other instrument or a decree or award of a Civil Court. All that it indicates is that the restriction should be in writing. If there is no writing, no restriction could be put on the type of estate held by a Hindu female by an oral arrangement. Therefore the courts below have correctly concluded on the facts of the case that sub-sec. (1) of S.14 is attracted and sub-sec. (2) of the said section is not a bar. This appeal is therefore rejected.;

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