(1.) SHADI Lal, J. The property, which is the subject-matter of the dispute in the appeal, is an impartible taluqdari estate called Ahima estate. It is situated in the Kaira district of the Bombay Presidency, and the parties are agreed that the succession to the estate is governed by the rule of lineal primogeniture, and that females are excluded from inheritance.
(2.) THE relationship of the persons concerned in the dispute is shown in the following pedigree table : Narsangji | | | Rupaliba=himatsangji=surajba | (died 1888) | | | Chandrasangji | (died 6-4-1899) | = widow Kesarba, defendant No.2 | adopted Mansangji, defendant | No.3, on 15-9-1917. | | | Chhatrasingji | defendant No.1, went in adoption | to Bharmaria on 2-8-1915 | = | wife Dolatba, defendant No.4. Bhimsangji| plaintiff| (died on 22-1-26)| || | Bajuba (born before the | adaption of defendant No.1) | defendant No.5. |-----------------------------------| | Shivsangji Laxmansangjiadded legal representative of defendant No.6 deceased plaintiff.
Himatsingji died in 1888, leaving him surviving two sons, Chandrasangji and Bhimsangji. The elder son, Chandrasangji, inherited the entire impartible estate, while the younger son, Bhimasangji, received only maintenance. In April, 1899, Chandrasangji died, and was succeeded by his son, Chhatrasingji.
On August 2, 1915, Chhatrasingji was adopted by the widow of one Kunwar-sahib Bapusahib, the proprietor of the impartible estate of Bhamaria, which is a larger estate than the Ahima estate. Though Chhatrasingji was, at that time, a married man of about thirty-three years of age, his adoption was in accordance with the Hindu law as recognised in the Bombay Presidency. He consequently became a member of the adoptive family.
(3.) THEREUPON, Kesarba, the widow of Chandrasangji, adopted Mansangji as a son to her deceased husband ; and the factum of this adoption, which was made on September 15, 1917, is no longer a matter in controversy between the parties. Its validity, however, raises an important issue which their Lordships have to determine.
The suit, which has led to the present appeal, was commenced on February 9, 1918, by Chhatrasangji's paternal uncle, Bhimsangji, who claimed the Ahima estate on the ground that Chhatrasingji, by reason of his adoption in the Bhamaria family, had forfeited his right in the Ahima estate, which then devolved upon the plaintiff in accordance with the rule of lineal primogeniture, The defence to this claim was two-fold. It was urged that Chhatrasingji, in whom the estate had vested on the death of his natural father, was not divested of that estate when he was adopted in the other family ; and that, at any rate, the plaintiff was not entitled to succeed to it in the presence of Mansangji, who, as the adopted son of Chandrasangji, had a prior right of succession.;