MOTHEY ANJD RATAA RAJA KUMAR Vs. KONEY NARAYANA RAO
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA (FROM: MADRAS)
MOTHEY ANJD RATAA RAJA KUMAR
KONEY NARAYANA RAO
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(1.)These two appeals arise out of a suit filed by Koney Narayan Rao and 3 others (who are the respondents in Appeal No. 26 and the appellants in Appeal No. 27 and will hereinafter be referred to as "the plaintiffs') against one Ganga Raju (since deceased) and his adopted son, Mothey Anja Ratna Raja Kumar (who is the appellant in Appeal No. 26 and the respondent in Appeal No. 27)
(2.)The plaintiffs are the illegitimate sons of Ganga Raju, and their suit was for maintenance at the rate of Rs. 400 per mensem for each of them with a charge on the joint family property of Ganga Raju. Both the District Judge of West Godavari who tried the suit and the Madras High Court have held that the plaintiffs are the illegitimate sons of Ganga Raju and that they are entitled to maintenance. The trial court decreed maintenance at the rate of Rs. 100 per mensem for each of the plaintiffs, but the High Court has enhanced the amount of maintenance to Rs. 200 per mensem. Both the parties have now filed appeals in this Court against the decree of the High Court.
(3.)The main dispute in these appeals is as to the quantum of maintenance. It was contended in the course of the arguments that among the regenerate classes, an illegitimate son cannot claim maintenance as a matter of right and all that he can get is a compassionate allowance. This contention was based on certain observations made by the Madras High Court in the case of -'Gopalasami Chetti v. Arunachellam Chetti', 27 Mad 32 (A), but it may be pointed out that the expression "compassionate allowance" was never used by the learned Judges in that case and all that they have said is that an illegitimate son can be allowed only a "compassionate rate of maintenance."
In our opinion, even that expression is hardly appropriate, and the true legal position has been laid down in -- Ananthaya v. Vishnu , 1894 17 ILR(Mad) 160 (B), where it has been held that under the Mitakshara law, an illegitimate son is entitled to maintenance as long as he lives, in recognition of his status as a member of his father's family and by reason of his exclusion from inheritance among the regenerate classes.
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