(1.) ON June 4, 1918, one Babu Indarsen Singh, a taluqdar E of the estate of Dhaurwa situate in the Province of Oudh, died, leaving him surviving two widows, Annapurna Kuar and Balraj Kuar, and two daughters, namely Brijraj Kuar by his deceased wife Jadunath Kuar, and Hemraj Kuar by his wife Balraj Kuar. The senior widow, Annapurna Kuar, succeeded to B the entire property of her deceased husband ; and on November 22, 1923, she made a will by which she devised the property in dispute to the junior widow, Balraj Kuar, for her life, and, after the latter's death, to the two daughters of her husband in equal shares as absolute owners.
(2.) IN June, 1929, Annapurna Kuar died, and the estate left by her was claimed by the surviving widow, but her claim was resisted by the sons of Babu INdarsen Singh's daughter, Brijraj Kuar. The revenue authorities, who dealt with the dispute in the first instance, accepted the counterclaim made by the sons of Brijraj Kuar ; and directed that the mutation of the estate should be effected in their favour.
Thereupon, Balraj Kuar commenced in May, 1930, the present action to recover possession of the property. She founded her title upon the will made in her favour by Annapurna Kuar in November, 1923, and it is common ground that she would be entitled to succeed to the estate, if Annapurna Kuar was competent to make the testamentary disposition in her favour. It is, however, clear that she could make the devise in question only if she had got an absolute estate from her husband.
Now, it is an undisputed fact that Babu Indarsen Singh made a will on March 15, 1899, and that it was followed by a codicil on September 29, 1910. The crucial question is whether the testator thereby conferred upon Annapurna Kuar an absolute estate in his property. The answer to the question depends upon the interpretation to be placed upon his will, which must be read along with his codicil. The parties are agreed that both these documents were executed by him, and that he was competent to do so.
(3.) THE trial Judge, after an elaborate discussion of the terms of both the will and the codicil, reached the conclusion that the testator gave his senior widow an absolute estate of inheritance, and that conclusion has been endorsed on appeal by a division bench of the Chief Court of Oudh. On this appeal preferred by the defendants, their Lordships have carefully examined the scope and effect of the various clauses contained in the will and also the codicil in the light of the arguments advanced by the learned counsel on both sides ; and are not prepared to dissent from the concurrent decisions of the Courts in India.
The language of the codicil, as will be seen presently, does not create any difficulty ; but the clauses of the will making dispositions of the property have given rise to a controversy between the parties. The will is couched in high-flown Urdu language, but its translation embodied in the judgment of the trial Judge was, as stated by the learned Judges of the appellate Court, " accepted to be correct for all practical purposes" by both the parties in the Courts below. The testator, after describing his property, proceeds to dispose of it. as follows: In respect of all this property I make a will according to the conditions below in favour of my high placed wife Musdtnmat Annapurna Kuar Sahiba, 'daughter of Sardar Shivji Singh, for whom I have great affection and love, and who has looked upon serving me in every way and giving me satisfaction as her main duty and has given preference to it over her comfort, health and heartfelt desires; and in future also judging from her refined and sound common sense and her far-reaching and subtle intellect as well us from her genuine, artless arid unadulterated affection for me, I have this strong hope that this very condition of hers in accordance with my temperament shall continue all throughout my life without any change or alteration. 1. If God forbid I do not have any male issue or if one is born and dies thereafter then my aforesaid high-placed wife, namely Mussamat Annapurna Kuar shall after me always remain in possession and enjoyment of my aforesaid estate and landed property which I shall possess at present and might possess in future with full powers of transfer of every description forever in this way, that she may, on the occasion of any suitable and proper necessity arising, sell any share or part of the land op, the entire estate, or she may make any other kind of transfer or may appoint anyone as her successor except any male or female issue of my uncle B. Chandrez Singh (whom God forgive and on whom may He have mercy ). 2.In the event of no male issue of mine existing, the said high-placed wife after her own possession and enjoyment of the estate is authorised to select any one of ,my daughter's issue as her successor. 3.In case the said wife does not do so, and in the event of my daughter or daughters having more than one issue then the said children after the death of my high-placed wife will possess and enjoy my estate and property in the same manner and subject to the same conditions as my own child or children would have held possession of the property. 4,.If God forbid, there be no male or female issue even from the 'daughter, then the said high-placed wife without regard to the conditions and limitations laid down in the second and third clauses mentioned in this instrument shall have power to transfer by any means her estate to her own family or to any stranger or to appoint any one as her successor. 5. In no case and under no circumstances and for no reason whatsoever shall any right of inheritance in my estate, property or thing devolve on any male or female descendant of my uncle B. Chandrez Singh (whom God forgive and on whom may He have mercy) but solely on my male or female issue : nor shall the said high-placed wife be competent to transfer under any circumstances and for any reason any right mentioned in this deed to any descendant, male or female, of' my said uncle B. Chandrez Singh.;