Decided on September 23,1969

SUKHSEN Appellant


- (1.) THIS is an appeal from the judgment and decree of the iiird Additional District Judge, Jabalpur, dated 14th August 1967, confirming the judgment and decree of the Civil Judge, Class II, Murwara, dated 16th august 1966, decreeing the plaintiff's claim for declaration and possession of the suit lands.
(2.) THE two questions canvassed in this appeal are (1) whether the defendants are governed by the Mitakshara School of Hindu Law and if so, if the suit lands formed their joint family property, having regard to the finding that they were joint in mess and estate; and (ii) whether the sale of the suit lands by the defendant No, 1 was in contravention of section 152 (2) of the Madhya Pradesh Land Revenue Code, 1954, and thus, being void and unenforceable, could not be the foundation of the plaintiff's title.
(3.) SO far as the first question is concerned, the learned counsel for the appellants rightly urges that the Additional District Judge has erred in holding that the parties are not governed by Hindu law. The law is well settled that Raj-Gonds are not Hindus but the presumption is that they are governed by Hindu law unless the contrary is shown. [rajah Chhattarsingh v. Diwan roshan Singh (1946 N L J 690=a I R 1946 Nag. 277= ILR 1946 Nag. 159.) and Dashrath Prasad v. Lalloo Singh (1951 N L J 616=a I R 1951 Nag. 343=i L R 1951 Nag. 873.)]. That the defendants are Raj-Gonds is an undisputed fact. [see, plaint, para 3 and the cause-title therein and Exs. P.- l, P.-2, P.-4 and P.-15]. Contrary to this admitted position, the plaintiff's father P. W. 1 Chetram tried to assert that they were gonds. The Additional District Judge's assumption that the defendants were not Hindus because they worship Dulha Dev and Khermai proceeds on misplacing the burden of proof on them to establish that they had adopted Hindu law. In view of the plaintiff's own admission in the plaint that the defendants were Raj-Gonds, the presumption is that they are Hindus and, therefore, governed by Hindu law for all purposes unless the contrary is proved.;

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