Decided on July 25,1952



Rajamannar, C.J. - (1.) This second appeal was first heard by Ramaswami J. who considered that an important question affecting the award of maintenance to the widow of a deceased coparcener against the surviving coparceners arose in this case, on which there appeared to be a conflict of judicial opinion. Hence this reference to a Full Bench.
(2.) The second appeal arises out of a suit filed by the respondent for the recovery of maintenance at the rate of Rs. 1000 per annum from, the date of suit and for arrears of maintenance for about a year before the institution of the suit at the same rate, for provision for residence and other minor reliefs. The respondent's deceased husband, Venkatarayudu, and defendants 2 and 4 who are appellants 1 and 3 were the undivided sons of the first defendant. The 3rd defendant (2nd appellant) is the son of the 1st appellant, The respondent's husband died undivided from the family nearly 30 years before the suit. The respondent claimed a sum of Rs. 1000 as a proper rate of maintenance on the allegation that the family owned about 150 acres of land fetching an annual income of Rs. 20,000 and had also a large moneylending business. The defendants pleaded 'inter alia' that soon after the plaintiffs husband's death there was an agreement between the plaintiff's father acting on her behalf and the first defendant that the plaintiff should be paid a sum of Rs. 100 per annum towards her maintenance and that neither the plaintiff nor the defendants should ask for its alteration at any time. This amount was fixed, according to them, having regard to the extent of the family estate at the time of the plaintiff's husband's death namely, about 54 acres of land of which 6 acres alone were wet, The learned District Munsif of Kovur who tried the suit held that the arrangement set up by the defendants was not true and proceeded to fix the maintenance. He held that the quantum of maintenance had to be fixed taking into consideration the income of the family on the date of the suit and the plaintiff's husband's share therein if he had been alive. He estimated the nett income of the family at not less than Rs. 7000 and fixed a sum of Rs. 750 per annum. He also awarded her arrears of maintenance at the same rate for the year 1943. The defendants appealed to the Subordinate Judge, who confirmed the decision of the District Munsif except as regards costs. The defendants thereupon filed the second appeal which is now before us.
(3.) The main ground which was taken in the memorandum of appeal was that the lower courts should have held that the plaintiff was entitled to maintenance only from the share of her husband in the properties that the family owned and possessed at the time of his death. Learned counsel for the appellants pressed only this point before us. He contended that the rate of maintenance should be fixed having regard to the properties which were owned by the joint family at the time of the plaintiff's husband's death and she should not get the benefit of subsequent acquisitions made by the family.;

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