Decided on April 25,1952

Dowager Rani Lalitha Kumari Devi Appellant


RAJAMANNAR, C.J. - (1.) THESE are appeals from the judgment of Rajagopalan J., dated 11 -9 -1950 in two suits C. S. Nos. 494 and 495 of 1949 on the file of the Original Side of this Court. The Rajah of Vizianagaram is the plaintiff in both the suits. The four defendants in each suit are the same, though there is a slight difference in their rank. They are : 1. Maharaj Kumar Dr. Sir Vijaya Anand Gajapathi Raj, the paternal uncle of the plaintiff, hereinafter referred to in this judgment as Vijaya, 2. Sri Rani Lalitha Kumari Devi, Dowager Maharani of Vizianagaram, his grandmother, hereinafter referred to as the Dowager Maharani, 3. Sri Rani Vidyavathi Devi, Rani Saheba of Vizianagaram, his mother, and 4. Raj Kumar Sri Visweswar Gajapathi Raj, his brother.
(2.) IT is common ground that originally the Vizianagaram Zamindari (which included the estate of Kasipuram), was an impartible estate. A sanad was granted under the Permanent Settlement Regulation to Narayana Gajapathi Raj in 1803. The following is the genealogy of the Vizianagaram family in so far as it is material for these appeals: NARAYANA GAJAPATHI RAJ d. 1845 | Sir Vijayarama Gajapathi Raj I d. 1879 = Alak Rajeswari d. 1901. | ___________________________________________________________________________________ | | | Sir Ananda Gajapathi Appalkondayamaba I, Maharani of Chittibabu Viziaram Raj Raj (d. 23.5.1897) Rewa (d. 14.12.1912). d. 11.9.1922) (adopted by Alak Raje -wari I, 18.12.1897=Lalithakumari Devi | _____________________________________________________________________ | | | Alak Narayana Gajapathi Raj Sir Vijayananda Gajapathi Raj, Alak Rajeswari II. Raj (b. 1902, d. 25.10.37) (b. 25.12.05). = Vidyavathi Devi | __________________________________________________________________________________________ | | | | Appalakondayamba II. Viziaram Gajapathi Raj II. Jaya Devi Visweswara (b. 1.5.24) Plff. in both the suits Gajapathi Raj. Narayan Gajapathi Raj died in 1845 and was succeeded by his son Sir Viziarama Gajapathi Raj who died in 1879 leaving him surviving his only son Sir Ananda Gajapathi Raj, his daughter who became the Maharani of Rewa and his widow Alak Rajeswari. Anand Gajapathi succeeded to the raj. He died on 23 -5 -1897 issueless. He left behind him his lastwill and testament dated 22 -7 -1896 (Ex. P. 6) under which, after providing for certain legacies and allowances, he bequeathed the impartible estate as well as all his moveable and immoveable properties to Chittibabu Viziaram Raj who was the son of his mother's brother. The nature and, amplitude of the estate conferred on Chittibabu by this will is in controversy and will bedealt with later in this judgment. The testator obviously expected Chittibabu to be adopted by his mother Alak Rajeswari to her husband Sir Viziarama. Chittibabu was actually adopted by Alak Rajeswari to her husband on 18 -12 -1897, and on the next day, 19 -12 -1897 a deed of adoption was executed between her and the mother of Chittibabu (Ex. P. 7). Chittibabu was duly registered as the holder of the impartible estate on 1 -11 -1898. The extract from the Register of Transfers shows that his title was traced both to the will of Ananda Gajapathi as well as to his adoption to Sir Viziarama Gajapathi. Alak Rajeswari died in 1801 leaving a will dated 5 -1 -1898 bequeathing all her immoveable properties to her daughter, the Maharani of Rewa, for her life and thereafter to her adopted son Chittibabu. On 28 -10 -1912 Chittibabu executed a deed of trust (Ex. P. 11) conveying the impartible estate and various other properties belonging to him to a trustee for the benefit of his minor son Alak Narayan subject to the payment of maintenance and other allowances to himself and other members of his family and after providing for the payment of his creditors. This is one of the important documents in the case and its provisions will be discussed in due course with reference to the contentions put forward by both sides regarding the construction of some of its clauses. It is sufficient to say at this stage that it was inter alia provided under this deed that Vijaya should be paid a sum of Rs. 5000 per month during his life on his attaining majority. On 14 -12 -1912, the Maharani of Rewa died leaving behind her a will dated 14 -12 -1911. In and by this will she bequeathed all her moveable and immoveable properties subject to certain legacies and directions to Chittibabu for his life and thereafter to Alak Narayan and Vijaya, to the former two -thirds and to the latter one -third thereof. One of the largest assets covered by the will is a sum of Rs. 17 lakhs which the Vizianagaram Samasthanam owed to her. On 18 -5 -1914 the trustee constituted under the deed of trust which had been executed by Chittibabu, purporting to act under the power conferred on him by para 33 of that deed, executed a deed described as an auxiliary trust deed in favour of Lalitha Kumari, the wife of Chittibabu, providing for the payment from the trust funds during the rest of her life of a sum of Rs. 3,000 a month till the debts mentioned in the trust deed were discharged and thereafter for the payment of a sum of Rs. 6,000 a month. Chittibabu died on 11 -9 -1922. He left a will dated 25 -10 -1921 under which he bequeathed all his moveable and immoveable properties which had not been conveyed under the trust deed of 1912 to his second son, Vijaya, subject to certain legacies and allowances. On Chittibabu's death Alak Narayan succeeded to the impartible estate as well as to the other properties covered by the trust deed. On 1 -11 -1922 Alak Narayan executed a deed of settlement in favour of Vijaya who was then a minor and was represented by his mother, the Dowager Maharani, conveying to Vijaya the properties known as 'Benares Estate' and his two -third share in certain houses at Ootacamund and Benares in consideration of Vijaya releasing his right to recover his share of the amount of Rs. 32,85,000 to which he was entitled under the will of the late Maharani of Rewa. This deed was confirmed by Vijaya after he became a major by the deed dated 12 -6 -1924 (Ex.P.30). On 11 -2 -1928 Alak Narayan executedanother deed of settlement (Ex. P. 31) settling on Vijaya for his life an allowance of Rs. 5,000 a month besides the allowance payable to him under the terms of the registered trust deed dated 28 -10 -1912. The Vizianagaram estate and other properties belonging to Alak Narayan were taken under the superintendence of the Court of Wards in the year 1935. In or about December, 1935 Vijaya submitted to the Court of Wards a statement of his claims against the impartible estate and the other properties of Alak Narayan then under the management and superintendence of the Court of Wards. The most important of the several claims put forward by him was the claim to a half share in all the properties of Chittibabu except of course the impartial estate. The Court of Wards referred these claims to Sir D' Arcy Reilly who, after an elaborate enquiry sent a report on 23 -11 -1944. Alak Narayan meanwhile died on 25 -10 -1937 and the plaintiff succeeded to the Raj. On 9 -10 -1944 Vijaya on his own behalf and as guardian of his minor sons executed a deed of release (Ex. P.36) in favour of the Rajah and his brother Rajkumar Visweswara, then minors represented by their guardian, the manager of the Vizianagaram Estate under the Court of Wards. The effect of this release is also one of the major points in dispute in these appeals. In and by this deed Vijaya in consideration of the payment of a sum of Rs. 10 Lakhs and a further sum of Rs. 54,193 by the Court of Wards relinquished and surrendered all his claims as well as the claims of his minor sons, among others, to any share in the moveable and immoveable properties of Chittibabu including properties which were alleged by him to be joint family properties to which Chittibabu and his two sons Alak Narayan and Vijaya were also entitled. This release however was without prejudice to Vijaya's right of succession to the impartible zamindari and also without prejudice to the right to maintenance out of the income of the said Zamindari and to any claims which Vijaya might have against the separate property of his late brother Alak Narayan. As the allowances payable to him were not being paid regularly, Vijaya was compelled to fits suits O.S. Nos. 133 of 1946 and 156 of 1947, in the Court of the Civil Judge, Benares, against the Rajah for the recovery of the arrears which had become payable. The two suits were decreed and there were appeals to the High Court of Allahabad which substantially confirmed the decrees of the trial Court. There was a further appeal to the Supreme Court which confirmed the decrees so far as the amounts of the claim were concerned but modified the decrees' as regards the properties from and out of which Vijaya was entitled to obtain satisfaction of his claims. The disposal of the appeals by the Supreme Court was however after Rajagopalan, J., had delivered his judgment.
(3.) THE Estate was released from the superintendence of the Court of Wards and handed over to the plaintiff in July 1946. In August 1949 notifications were published under the provisions of the Madras Estates Abolition and Conversion into Ryotwari Act. 1948, and the Estate was taken over by the Government with effect from, 7 -9 -1949.;

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