RAGHBIR SINGH Vs. SHRIMATI KARTAR KAUR
HIGH COURT OF PUNJAB AND HARYANA
Shrimati Kartar Kaur
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(1.) Two questions fall to be determined in the present case, namely :-
(1) whether Zargars of the Gurdaspur District are governed by Customary Law; and if so,
(2) whether according to the custom by which the members of the tribe are regulated abandonment or desertion of the wife by the husband dissolve the marriage tie and enables her to contract a second marriage during the lifetime of her first husband.
(2.) Sardar Bahadur Sadhu Singh, an Honorary Magistrate and a well-to-do Zamindar of the Amritsar District contracted an illicit intimacy with Mst. Yudhistar Kaur alias Lachhmi wife of one Jagat Singh, a zargar of the Gurdaspur District. They commenced to live together on the established footing of man and wife and continued to do so till the death of Sardar Bahadur Sadhu Singh in the year 1943. Yudhishtar Kaur was murdered on the 1st January 1944. She left behind no children of her own.
(3.) On the 13th October, 1944 Mst. Kartar Kaur, a real sister of Yudhishtar Kaur, brought a suit for the possession of certain properties against the five sons of Sardar Bahadur Sadhu Singh from another wife. Her case was that Yudhishtar Kaur contracted an illicit intimacy with Sardar Bahadur Sadhu Singh and lived as his concubine till his death in the year 1943, that she was the exclusive owner of certain properties situate in the Amritsar District, that after her murder in the year 1944 the five sons of Sardar Bahadur Sadhu took forcible took forcible possession of the property belonging to Yudhishtar Kaur and induced the tenants of the properties to attorn to them and that according to Hindu Law the plaintiff in her capacity as a real sister of Yudhishtar Kaur was the legal and exclusive owner of all the properties owned by Yudhishtar Kaur even if the latter had contracted a marriage with Sardar Bahadur Sadhu Singh. The defendants on the other hand asserted the Yudhishtar Kaur was the lawfully wedded wife of Sardar Bahadur Singh, that the property for the possession of which the present suit has been brought belonged exclusively to the Sardar Bahadur and that according to the agricultural custom by which the parties are regulated defendant Nos. 1 to 5 in their capacity as the sons of the Sardar Bahadur were entitled to succeed to the property in preference to the plaintiff who is only a sister-in-law of their father. The trial Court held that Yudhishtar Kaur was married to Jagat Singh P.W.1 that she deserted her husband and contracted a marriage by chaddar andazi with Sardar Bahadur Sadhu Singh, that as this marriage was solemnized during the lifetime of her first husband it was not valid in the eye of law, that even if the marriage were deemed to be in accordance with the provisions of law it was not in the approved form, that in the circumstances succession to the property in dispute must be governed by Hindu Lal and not by custom and that according to paragraph 147 of Mulla's Hindu Law the property of Yudhishtar Kaur must devolve on her own heirs and not on the heirs of Sardar Bahadur Sadhu Singh. In view of these considerations the trial Court granted a decree in favour of the plaintiff. The defendants are dissatisfied with the order and have come to this Court in appeal.;
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