JUDGEMENT

- (1.)The question in this appeal is of the constitutional validity of S.7(3) of the Hindu Succession act, XXX of 1956. It is contended that the Section offends Art.14 of the Constitution and is therefore void. The only aspect of discrimination pressed into service is that while the members of the tarwad are given shares along with the sthanee in the sthanam properties, the sthanee is not given a share along with the members of the tarwad in the tarwad properties.
(2.)In the Mannarghat Sthanam there are two sub sthanams - the Mooppil sthanam and the Elaya sthanam - of which this appeal concerns only the former. The sthanee, who held the Moopil sthanam at the commencement of the Hindu Succession Act, had assumed the sthanam in March, 1940. It is not disputed that on becoming a sthanee he lost his rights in the properties of the Kunnathat Matampil tarwad of which he originally was a member. In 1944 the members of the tarwad instituted O. S. No. 51 of 1955 to partition the tarwad properties without conceding shares to the two sthanees. That suit has been decreed and partition worked out finally. In 1956 a member of the sthanee instituted another suit, O. S. No. 65 of 1956, for partition of the sthanam properties basing the claim on the Madras Act, XXXII of 1955. That Act was however struck down as unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in Kochunni v. States of Madras and Kerala ( AIR 1960 SC 1080 : 1960 KLT SC 31 ). But, in the meanwhile, the Mooppil sthanee died on January 3, 1960, and thereupon the claim for partition in O. S. No. 65 of 1956 was amended as under S.7(3) of the Hindu Succession Act. The Elaya sthanee, who is the heir apparent to the Moopil sthanam, then filed O. P. No. 1121 of 1960 in this Court for a declaration that S.7(3) of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956,. offends Art.14 of the Constitution and is therefore void. Vaidialingam J. having dismissed that petition he has come up in appeal herein.
(3.)The relationship between the tarwad and the sthanee has been recently considered by the Supreme Court in Kochunni v. States of Madras & Kerala (AIR 1960 SC 1080 : 1960 KLT SC 31) when; Subba Rao J. speaking for the majority, observed:
"It is true that whatever may be the origin of the sthanam, ordinarily the seniormost member of a tarwad succeeds to that position; but once he succeeds, he ceases to have any proprietary interest in the tarwad. So too, the members of the tarwad have absolutely no proprietary interest in the sthanam property. Thereafter, they continue to be only "blood relations" with perhaps a right of succession to the property of each other on the happening of some contingency. The said right is nothing more than a spes successionis; the tarwad may supply future sthanees".

A. K. Sarkar J. delivering the minority Judgment, also observed:

"When a member of the tarwad becomes the sthani he loses his interest in the tarwad properties .... The members of the tarwad in their turn have no interest in the sthanam lands .... the sthani for the time being is alone entitled to the lands of his sthanam and the members of his tarwad are not entitled to them while all members of a tarwad except the sthani are entitled jointly to all the properties of a tarwad".

Thus, the sthanee on assumption of the sthanam is deemed to have gone out of the tarwad fold to have thereafter no right in the tarwad properties. Those properties then belong to the tarwad, which is the group of members exclusive of the sthanee. They may divide those properties or may remain joint among themselves. If they divide the sthanee is not counted as one among them. That is a consequence of the sthanee's assumption of the sthanam which took place before the commencement of the Hindu Succession Act. The impugned Section of the Act has nothing to do with that deprivation of the sthanee of his interest in the tarwad properties.

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