SM. K. PONNALAGU AMMAL Vs. THE STATE OF MADRAS, REPRESENTED BY THE SECRETARY TO THE REVENUE DEPARTMENT, MADRAS AND ORS.
HIGH COURT OF MADRAS
Sm. K. Ponnalagu Ammal
State Of Madras, Represented By The Secretary To The Revenue Department, Madras
Click here to view full judgement.
Rajamannar, J. -
(1.) L . P. A. No. 134 of 1952: - -This is an appeal under the Letters Patent against the judgment of Subba Rao J. in C.M.P. No. 13519 of 1950. That petition was filed in the following circumstances. Krishna Vijaya Poochaya Naicker, Zamindar of Marungapuri, an impartible estate situated in Tiruchirapalli district, died on 17 -9 -1926 leaving behind him three widows, Lakshmi Ammani, Ponnalagu Ammani and Muthulagu Ammani. As one of the incidents of impartible estates in Southern India is that the estate is descendible to a single heir, the seniormost of the three widows would be first entitled to succeed. The Government, on the assumption that Lakshmi Ammani was the seniormost of the widows, proceeded to exercise powers conferred on them by the Madras Court of Wards Act. On 11 -7 -1927 the following notification was published in the Fort St. George Gazette and in the Tiruchirapalli district Gazette:
Under Section 15, Madras Court of Wards Act, 1902, His Excellency the Governor in Council declares Lakshmi Ammani Animal, the proprietrix of the Marungapuri estate in the Kulitalai taluk of the Tiruchirapalli District to be incapable of managing her property and directs the Court of Wards to assume the superintendence of that property.
(2.) THE Collector of Tiruchirapalli will discharge in respect of the property the duties imposed on a Collector by the said Act.
It is common ground that in pursuance of this notification the Court of Wards assumed the superintendence not only of the impartible estate of Marungapuri but also other partible properties left by the deceased zamindar.
2. The late Zamindar left behind him a will dated 30 -7 -1915 and a codicil dated 10 -8 -1926. Ponnalogu Ammani alleged that she took the son of her daughter in adoption to her husband on 1 -12 -1949 under the authority given to her by her husband in the will and the codicil. She appears to have sent a petition to the Government on 6 -1 -1950 on behalf of the minor adopted son. Lakshmi Ammani filed another petition on 1 -5 -1950 evidently attacking the validity of the alleged adoption. The Government passed an order, G. No. 2709 on 9 -10 -1950 dealing with both the petitions and communicated portions of their order to the two widows respectively. The following is the portion of the order communicated to Ponnalagu Ammani:
(5) With reference to her petition dated 6 -1 -1950, read above, Sm. Ponnalagu Ammani is informed that the Government have directed the Court of Wards to release from its superintendence the properties pertaining to Marungapauri estate which are now under its superintendence. As however there is dispute as to title to the properties between the senior Zamindarini and the adopted boy the Government have decided to retain custody to enable either of the claimants to obtain suitable orders from the civil Court in regard to the custody of the properties.
To Lakshmiammani the Government communicated para. 4 of their order, which runs as follows:
(4). With reference to her petition dated 1 -5 -1950 read above Sm. Lakshmiammani is informed that the Government have been advised that the adoption made by Sm. Ponnalagu Ammani is valid in law and that she (Sm. Lakshmi Ammani) has no longer any subsisting legal right or title to the impartible and partible properties of the late Zamindar which are in the custody of the Court of Wards and that it is therefore not possible to hand over possession of such properties without an order of a civil Court. The Government have directed the Court of Wards to release the properties from its superintendence. She is informed that in case she does not obtain suitable orders from a civil Court, within a period of three months from the date of receipt of this order regarding the custody of the properties, the Government will, on the expiry of that period, take such steps in regard to them as they may consider suitable and necessary in the light of the legal advice they have received.
On 17 -10 -1950, the following notification was published in the Fort St. George Gazette:
In exercise of the powers conferred by Section 15 , Madras Court of Wards Act, 1902 (Madras Act I of 1902) and of all other powers enabling them in this behalf, His Excellency the Governor of Madras hereby rescinds Revenue Department Notification No. 210 dated 11 -7 -1927, published at page 1079 of Part 1 of the Fort St. George Gazette dated 19 -7 -1927, declaring Sm. Lakshmi Ammani Animal, the then proprietrix of the Marungapuri estate, in the Kulitalai taluk of the Tiruchirapalli district, to be incapable of managing her property and directing the Court of Wards to assume the superintendence of that property.
The Government followed it up by another notification a few days later which was published in the Fort St. George Gazette dated 21 -11 -1950. It was in the following terms:
It is hereby notified under Section 62, Madras Court of Wards Act, 1 of 1902 that, under orders of Government, the Court of Wards has released from its superintendence the Marungapuri estate in the Kulitalai taluk on the Tiruchirapalli district including the separate and partible properties left by the late Zamindar.
Immediately after this notification Lakshmi Ammani filed in this Court an application under Article 226 of the Constitution for the issue of a Writ of Mandamus or any appropriate writ or order directing the State of Madras and the Court of Wards to deliver possession of the Marungapuri Zamin properties which were in the superintendence of the Court of Wards to her with accounts, records, documents, etc. She also prayed for an 'ad interim' injunction restraining the respondents from parting with the custody of the properties in favour of any person other than her pending disposal of the main application. In the affidavit filed by her karyasthar, after setting out the facts above narrated, he alleged that the Court of Wards was bound to hand over possession of all the properties including the accumulated income only to her and stated that the Court of Wards having assumed management on her behalf & in her right, it would be unjust and incompetent for them to set up the rights of anyone else in derogation of and inconsistent with her rights without surrendering and restoring possession of the properties to her.
(3.) THE Collector of Tiruchirapalli filed a counter affidavit on behalf of the respondents. He stated inter alia that the Government were advised that the adoption was validly made and had the effect of divesting Lakshmi Ammani of the estate and the adopted son became entitled not only to the impartible zamindari but also to the separate and partible properties left by the late Zamindar. The attitude taken up by the Government and the Court of Wards is summed up in para. 5 of the counter affidavit in which the objection was taken that the question as to who is the proprietor of the estate could not be decided in proceedings by way of a writ and the matter could only be decided properly in a civil Court at the instance of either of the two claimants,;
Copyright © Regent Computronics Pvt.Ltd.