Decided on November 11,1955



- (1.)This Second Appeal raises an interesting question of law, In order to appreciate the question, it is necessary to set out a few relevant facts. Rangayya executed promissory note d/22-7-1945 in favour of the plaintiff.
(2.)He died leaving behind two minor sons, defendants 1 and 2 and his second wife, the 3rd defendant. The 2nd defendant is the son by his second wife, the 3rd defendant. On 21-.7-1948, the 3rd defendant for herself and of defendants 1 and 2 made a payment of Rs. 4/ and endorse promissory note. The point that arises for consideration is, Payment made by her operates as a valid payment under Section Indian Limitation Act so as to bind the 1st defendent, the son of Rangayya by his first wife. Section 20 (1) of the Limitation Act provides that if a payment is made on account of a debt before the expiration of the prescribed period by the person liable to pay the debt, a fresh period of limitation shall be computed from the time when the payment was made. It is contended on behalf of the appellant by Sri G. Venkata Rama Sastry that the 3rd defendant who acquired an interest in the Hindu joint family property under section 3(2} of the Hindu Womens' Rights to Property Act (XVIII of 1937), is not a person liable to pay the debt and that the payment made by her does not consequently furnish a fresh starting point.
(3.)It is therefore necessary to examine the nature of the right conferred on a Hindu widow under the provisions of the Hindu Womens' Rights to Property Act. Section 3 (2) provides that on the death of a Hindu governed by any school of Hindu Law other than the Dayabhaga school or by customary law having at the time of his death an interest in a Hindu joint family property, his widow shall, subject to the provisions of sub-section 3 have in the property the same interest as he himself had. Sub-section 3 enacts that the interest taken by her shall be the limited interest known as a Hindu Womens' estate and that she shall also have the same right of claiming partition as a male owner. The interest which she therefore acquired under the Act is a right to a share in the property subject to the payment of debts. In Subbarao v. Krishna Prasadam, a Bench of the Madras High Court held that Section 3 (2) of the Act does not operate as severance of interest of the deceased coparcener, that the right which a widow gets under that section is not as heir of her deceased husband and that it is a statutory right based on the recognition of the principles that a widow is the surviving half of her deceased husband. This decision was approved by the Full Bench in Parappa v. Nagamma . At page 255 it was observed that the widow "would have during her lifetime all the powers which her husband had save that her interest was limited to a widow's interest and that she could alienate her widow's interest in her husband's share"for necessity or other binding purposes. In Saradambal v. Subbarama Aiyar, Venkataramana Rao, J. held that a creditor was entitled to attach in execution the interest taken by the widow for the debt of her husband. The relevant observations are at page 865 and are as follows :
"If for instance an undivided member dies leaving a son and also his widow, the property would devolve upon both of them and though, so far as the widow is concerned her interest is limited no such limitation can be placed upon the interest taken by the son. It cannot be said that the interest of the son is attachable but not that of the widow. The fact that a right of partition is conferred upon the widow goes to show that the property is taken by her subject to all the rights and liabilities which the husband would have had because it is the same interest that is conferred upon her. Therefore giving the language its plain meaning, the property taken by her must be held to be liable for the payment of her husband's debts and is liable to be attached by the plaintiff."


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