Decided on December 12,1979



N.H.BHATT - (1.) This is an interesting petition raising the question of interpretation of the grant Annexure B. The petitioners are collaterals of one Hamirsinhji who died on 8-1-75 and who was the brother of the one time Ruler of the Idar State. The Ruler had conferred on said Hamirsinhji the rights of two villages Techava and Acharal as per his order no. 14 dated 11-3-48. Said Hamirsinhji was carrying on operations of extracting China clay from the subsoil of those two villages and he had entered into an agreement of lease with one firm M/s Ambee India Private Ltd. On the demise of said Hamirsinhji the present petitioners who are his near agnates claimed to have inherited all the rights which deceased Hamirsinhji had. The Collector however held by his impugned order Annexure D that despite the recognition of the rights of deceased Hamirsinhji vis a vis the State by the Division Bench of this Court an the reported judgment of M/s. Ambee India Pvt. Ltd. v. Rao Raja Hamirsinhji A. I. R. 1972 Gujarat 137 (which matter is lying on the anvil of the Supreme Court in the appeal filed by the State of Gujarat and therefore a subjudice matter). The present petitioners claiming not as the lineal descendants but as agnates of late Hamirsinhji could not put forward any claim to the rights which deceased Hamirsinhji presumbaly had. The present petitioners have therefore moved this court for a declaration of their rights of inheritance under the principles laid down under the Hindu Succession Act on intestate succession.
(2.) The Collector interpreted the grant Annexure B which was translated by the Division Bench in that M/s. Ambee India Pvt. Ltd. (Supra) against the petitioners. The said translation is reproduced below: Parvana (Order) no. 14. Maharaja Dhiraj Shri Maharajaji Himatsinghji Saheb Bahadur Samsthan Idar Hamirsinhji by Hazur Order no. 2356/- 25-2-1948. I have given you by way of gift for maintenance (Jivarak) the two villages Techava and Achral. You may enjoy from generation to generation income of the suit villages accruing every year including Padya Pan Sudhi.e. all income right from the smallest thing to everything. And you shall continue to serve the State with Shyam Dharma. The jurisdiction of the Darbar was to continue for these two villages in respect of issuing commands or order (Aan) taxation (Dan) and civil and criminal jurisdiction. Dated 11th March 1948 Himatsinghji Maharaja Samsthan Idar.
(3.) The Division Bench of this Court interpreted the said parvana or order to mean an absolute grant to Hamirsinhji. In the course of the judgment the Division Bench has observed as follows: "Therefore in the conveyancing context the aforesaid term would mean that all income which accrued every year from the two villages including that from the smallest thing and covering everything was in terms granted. It is true that the expression Jivarak has been used which means maintenance but it is equally certain that the grant is not a lifetime grant only to the plaintiff or one creating a life interest only. The purpose may be of maintenance but the operative portion of the grant in terms states at the outset that both the villages were given to the plaintiff by way of gift. To make the whole gift complete it was further added that all kinds of income arising from the villages of whatever kind was to be enjoyed by the plaintiff and his heirs from generation to generation. The only reservation which was made by the sovereign ruler was in the last clause by indicating that he was creating a non jurisdictional estate by reserving to him all sovereign powers of issuing all sovereign orders taxation and civil and criminal jurisdiction. Therefore reservation makes it amply clear that a full non jurisdiction estate was conferred on the plaintiff. The grant was not merely of the annual produce of the soil of these two villages but of the soil itself. The grant was not of any lessor interest by carving out something but a complete grant conferring full proprietorship in the soil of the two villages by in terms stating that it was a gift from the sovereign. There was no reservation as regards any kind of revenue which was to accrue from the villages whether agricultural or other revenue from the trees minerals or anything which was capable of yielding such a recurring annual income but all income of whatever description was in terms granted. In the face of such a categorical sovereign grant where not only the proprietorship of the village soil is transferred but where by express words income of all kind is transferred to the plaintiff there can hardly be any doubt in the present case that the sovereign did not intend to pass full ownership to the plaintiff in the soil of these two villages including sub-soil rights". ;

Click here to view full judgement.
Copyright © Regent Computronics Pvt.Ltd.