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HINDU JOINT FAMILY AND BUSINESS UNDER HINDU FAMILY AND SEPARATE BUSINESS EXPLAINED


In a case before Supreme Court in P.S. Sairam vs R.S. Rama Rao, Reported in AIR 2004 SC 1619, It is well-settled that the immovable property which stands in the name of individual member, it is presumed to be belonging to joint family, provided it is proved that the joint family had sufficient nucleus at the time of its acquisition, but no such presumption can be applied to business. …………………. Reference in this connection may be made to a decision of this Court in the case of G.Narayana Raju v.G.Chamaraju & Others 1968(3) SCR 464 wherein in a suit for partition defence was taken that business of Ambika Stores was separate business of defendant as the business did not grow out of joint family funds or at least by efforts of members of joint family which was accepted by the trial court as well as the High Court. When the matter was brought to this Court in appeal, upholding the judgment of the High Court, the Court observed thus at page 466:- "It is well established that there is no presumption under Hindu Law that a business standing in the name of any member of the joint family is a joint family business even if that member is the manager of the joint family. Unless it could be shown that the business in the hands of the coparcener grew up with the assistance of the joint family property or joint family funds or that the earnings of the business were blended with the joint family estate, the business remains free and separate. "Explanation 1 to Section 6 of the Amendment Act lays down that for the purposes of this Section, the interest of a Hindu Mitakshara coparcener shall be deemed to be the share in the property that would have been allotted to him if a partition of the property had taken place immediately before his death, irrespective of the fact whether he was entitled to claim partition or not. This shows that for determining the interest of a male Hindu, a notional partition has to be assumed and the share in the joint family property, which could have been allocated to him in the notional partition, would devolve upon his heirs.

In the case of V.D.Dhanwatey v. The Commissioner of Income Tax, M.P.Nagpur (1968) 2 SCR 62, a Constitution Bench of this Court was also considering an appeal arising out of an order passed by the High Court on a reference. In that case, joint family funds were invested in a partnership business which enabled karta of the joint family to become a partner and when the remuneration was paid to him, it was assessed as income of the joint family and the view taken was upheld by this Court holding that as investment of the joint family funds in the partnership enabled a karta to become a partner and there being real and sufficient connection between that investment and the remuneration paid to the karta, the same has to be treated as income of the joint family. The Constitution Bench noticed the decision of this Court in the case of M/s Piyare Lal Adishwar Lal (supra) and, while approving the ratio of that case observed that as the remuneration earned by the karta was detrimental to the Hindu Joint Family funds, the High Court was justified in answering the reference against the assessee and in favour of the Revenue by holding that remuneration received by the karta was taxable in the hands of Hindu Undivided Family.






EXECUTION OF A WILL IS REQUIRED TO BE PROVED IN TERMS OF THE PROVISIONS OF S. 63(C) OF THE SUCCESSION ACT, 1925

The Hon’ble Supreme court of India in Rur Singh (D) Th. LRS. & Ors. Vs Bachan Kaur JUSTICE S.B. Sinha JUSTICE Dr. Mukundakam Sharma New Delhi February 12, 2009, Succession Act, 1925 : S. 63(c) - Execution of a Will is required to be proved in terms of the provisions of s. 63(c) of the Succession Act, 1925 and s. 68 of the Evidence Act, 1872. The Will was attested by nine independent persons. Three of them in fact had been examined. The High Court while holding that a doubt is cast on its validity by reason of active participation of one of the sons, failed to notice that nine other independent witnesses attested the Will. Importance cannot be attached to the fact that although the Sarpanch scribed the Will in Urdu, he at more than one place signed in English. In a village, a person may be more proficient in the vernacular language than English although he may be able to sign his name in English. If the Will was otherwise proved to be genuine and the statutory requirements therefor were satisfied, only because the panchayat register was not produced, the same by itself would not lead to the conclusion that the Will would be held to have not been executed, particularly when two courts competent to arrive at findings of fact held it otherwise.


STATUS OF GRANDSON IN CODIFIED HINDU LAW

Bhanwar Singh vs Puran Singh AIR 2008 SC 1490 “S. 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, as it stood at the relevant time, provided for devolution of interest in the coparcenary property. S.8 of the Act lays down the general rules of succession that the property of a male dying intestate devolve according to the provisions of the Chapter as specified in clause (1) of the Schedule. In the Schedule appended to the Act, natural sons and daughters are placed in Class-I heirs but a grandson, so long as father is alive, has not been included. S.19 of the Act provides that in the event of succession by two or more heirs, they will take the property per capita and not per stirpes, as also tenants-in-common and not as joint tenants.”

WHEN SUCESSION HAS BEEN ALREADY OPENED IN STATE AMENDMENT, CENTRAL AMENDMENT DOES NOT TAKE AWAY SUCH RIGHT

Sheela Devi & Ors. v. Lal Chand & Anr. [(2006 (8) SCC 581], held: "21. The Act indisputably would prevail over the old Hindu law. We may notice that Parliament, with a view to confer right upon the female heirs, even in relation to the joint family property, enacted the Hindu Succession Act, 2005. Such a provision was enacted as far back in 1987 by the State of Andhra Pradesh. The succession having opened in 1989, evidently, the provisions of the Amendment Act, 2005 would have no application.” …….. The principle of law applicable in this case is that so long a property remains in the hands of a single person, the same was to be treated as a separate property, and thus such a person would be entitled to dispose of the coparcenary property as the same were his separate property, but, if a son is subsequently born to him or adopted by him, the alienation whether it is by way of sale, mortgage or gift, will nevertheless stand, for a son cannot object to alienations so made by his father before he was born or begotten, But once a son is born, it becomes a coparcenary property and he would acquire an interest therein.

NOTIONAL PARTITION UNDER HINDU LAW

Anar Devi and ors vs Parameshwari Devi and ors AIR 2008 SC 3332, “Thus we hold that according to Section 6 of the Act (Hindu Succession Act) when a coparcener dies leaving behind any female relative specified in Class I of the Schedule to the Act or male relative specified in that class claiming through such female relative, his undivided interest in the Mitakshara coparcenary property would not devolve upon the surviving coparcener, by survivorship but upon his heirs by intestate succession. Explanation 1 to Section 6 of the Act provides a mechanism under which undivided interest of a deceased coparcener can be ascertained and, i.e., that the interest of a Hindu Mitakshara coparcener shall be deemed to be the share in the property that would have been allotted to him if a partition of the property had taken place immediately before his death, irrespective of whether he was entitled to claim partition or not. It means for the purposes of finding out undivided interest of a deceased coparcener, a notional partition has to be assumed immediately before his death and the same shall devolve upon his heirs by succession which would obviously include the surviving coparcener who, apart from the devolution of the undivided interest of the deceased upon him by succession, would also be entitled to claim his undivided interest in the coparcenary property which he could have got in notional partition.

RIGHT OF MAINTENANCE OF HINDU WIFE

Supreme Court in Kirtikant D. Vadodaria v. State of Gujarat and another, (1996) 4 SCC 479, has held: "According to the law of land with regard to maintenance there is an obligation on the husband to maintain his wife which does not arise by reason of any contract - expressed or implied - but out of jural relationship of husband and wife consequent to the performance of marriage. .. The obligation to maintain them is personal, legal and absolute in character and arises from the very existence of the relationship between the parties."

B.P. Achala Anand vs S. Appi Reddy & Anr AIR 2005 SC 986, A Hindu wife is entitled to be maintained by her husband. She is entitled to remain under his roof and protection. She is also entitled to separate residence if by reason of the husband's conduct or by his refusal to maintain her in his own place of residence or for other just cause she is compelled to live apart from him. Right to residence is a part and parcel of wife's right to maintenance. The right to maintenance cannot be defeated by the husband executing a will to defeat such a right.

Gift of un-divided share by co-parcener

In a case before Supreme Court of India, in Venkata Subbamma vs Rattamma AIR 1987 SC 1775, it is explained in following words “A gift made by the coparcener to his brother should he construed as renunciation of his undivided inter- est in the coparcenary in favour of his brother and his sons, who were the remaining coparceners. A gift was, there- fore, valid and consent of other coparceners was immaterial.” ….. It is, however, settled law that a coparcener may alienate his undivided interest in the coparcenary property for a valuable consideration even without the consent of other coparceners. Such recognition of alienations of copar- cenary property for valuable considerations has been one of gradual growth rounded upon the equity which the purchaser for value has to be allowed to stand in his vendor's shoes and to work out his rights by means of a partition. ….. The personal Law of the Hindus governed by Mitakshara school of Hindu Law is that a coparcener can dispose of his undivided interest in the coparcenary property by a will but he cannot make a girt of such interest. ……….. It is a settled law that a coparcener can make a gift of his undivided interest in the coparcenary property to another coparcener or to a stranger with the prior consent of other coparceners. Such a gift will be quite legal and valid…………. The parties are admittedly governed by the Mitakshara School of Hindu Law. The essence of a coparcenary under the Mitakshara School of Hindu Law is community of interest and unity of possession. A member of joint Hindu family has no definite share in the coparcenary property, but he has an undivided interest in the property which is liable to be enlarged by deaths and diminished by births in the family. An interest in the coparcenary property accrues to a son from the date of his birth. His interest will be equal to that of his father.”

Possession of one co-sharer is treated as possession of other co-sharer also.

In a case before Supreme Court Vidya Devi vs Prem Prakash AIR 1995 SC 1789, By referring to following citations the point is clarified “In Karbali Begum Vs. Mohd Sayeed (AIR 1981 SC 77), it was held that a co-sharer in possession of the property would be a constructive trustee on behalf of other co-sharer who is not in possession and the right of such co-sharer would be deemed to be protected by the trustee co-sharer. Certain observations of the Privy Council in Coera Vs. Appuhamy (AIR 1914 PC 243, 245-246) may be quoted below:- "Entering into possession and having a lawful title to enter, he could not divest himself of that title by pretending that he had no title as all. His title must have ensured for the benefit of his co-proprietors. The principle recognised by Wood, V.C. in Thomas Vs. Thomas (1856) 25 LJ Ch 159 (161): 110 RR 107 holds good: `Possession is never considered adverse if it can be referred to a lawful title'..... His possession was, in law, the possession of his co-owners. It was not possible for him to put an end to that possession by any secret intention in his mind. Nothing short of ouster or something equivalent to ouster could bring about that result."

CASE AGAINST PUBLIC ROAD ENCROACHMENT NO LIMITATION OR IT IS NOT REPRESENTATIVE SUIT

In a case before Supreme court of India in Hari Ram vs Jyoti Prasad & Anr. Decided on 27 January, 2011 By Bench Consisting of: Justice Dr. Mukundakam Sharma, Justice Anil R. Dave, It is held that “Any act of encroachment is a wrong committed by the doer. Such an encroachment when made to a public property like encroachment to public road would be a graver wrong, as such wrong prejudicially affects a number of people and therefore is a public wrong. So long any obstruction or obstacle is created to free and unhindered access and movement in the road, the wrongful act continues thereby preventing the persons to use the public road freely and unhindered. Therefore, that being a continuing source of wrong and injury, cause of action is created as long as such injury continues and as long as the doer is responsible for causing such injury. At this stage it would be apposite to refer to and rely upon Section 22 of the Limitation Act, 1963, which reads as follows: "In case of a continuing breach of contract or in case of a continuing tort, a fresh period of limitation begins to run at every moment of the time during which the breach or the tort, as the case may be, continues."

This court had the occasion to deal with Section 22 of the Limitation Act, 1963, in the case of Sankar Dastidar v. Shrimati Banjula Dastidar and Anr reported in AIR 2007 SC 514, in which the Supreme Court held that when a right of way is claimed whether public or private over a certain land over which the tort-feaser has no right of possession, the breaches would be continuing, to which the provisions of Section 22 of the Limitation Act, 1963, would apply. Therefore, in our considered opinion the plea that the suit is barred by limitation has no merit at all. The next plea which was raised and argued vehemently by the learned senior counsel appearing for the appellant was that the suit was bad for non-compliance of the provisions of Order I Rule 8 of the CPC. The said submission is also found to be without any merit as apart from being a representative suit, the suit was filed by an aggrieved person whose right to use public street of 10 feet width was prejudicially affected. Since affected person himself has filed a suit, therefore, the suit cannot be dismissed on the ground of alleged non-compliance of the provisions of Order I Rule 8 of the CPC.

In this connection, we may appropriately refer to a judgment of the Supreme in Kalyan Singh, London Trained Cutter, Johri Bazar, Jaipur Vs. Smt. Chhoti and Ors. reported in AIR 1990 SC 396. In paragraph 13 of the said judgment, this Court has held that suit could be instituted by representative of a particular community but that by itself was not sufficient to constitute the suit as representative suit inasmuch as for a representative suit, the permission of Court under Order I Rule 8 of the CPC is mandatory.

In paragraph 14 of the said judgment, it was also held that any member of a community may successfully bring a suit to assert his right in the community property or for protecting such property by seeking removal of encroachment therefrom and that in such a suit he need not comply with the requirements of Order I Rule 8 CPC. It was further held in the said case that the suit against alleged trespass even if it was not a representative suit on behalf of the community could be a suit of this category.


IMPORTANCE OF PLEADINGS IN CIVIL CASES AS EXPLAINED WITH CITATIONS BY JUSTICE P SATHASIVAM AND JUSTICE DR B.S. CHAUHAN

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA Decision in a case of election matter, in Kalyan Singh Chouhan vs C.P.Joshi  Decided on 24 January, 2011, Justice P. SATHASIVAM & Justice Dr. B.S. CHAUHAN observed following principles of case law on “Importance of pleadings”  as also applicable to civil court proceedings:-

This Court in Ram Sarup Gupta (dead) by L.Rs. v. Bishun Narain Inter College & Ors., AIR 1987 SC 1242 held as under: "It is well settled that in the absence of pleading, evidence, if any, produced by the parties cannot be considered. It is also equally settled that no party should be permitted to travel beyond its pleading and that all necessary and material facts should be pleaded by the party in support of the case set up by it. The object and purpose of pleading is to enable the adversary party to know the case it has to meet........ In such a case it is the duty of the court to ascertain the substance of the pleadings to determine the question."

This Court in Bachhaj Nahar v. Nilima Mandal & Ors. , AIR 2009 SC 1103, held as under: "The object and purpose of pleadings and issues is to ensure that the litigants come to trial with all issues clearly defined and to prevent cases being expanded or grounds being shifted during trial. Its object is also to ensure that each side is fully alive to the questions that are likely to be raised or considered so that they may have an opportunity of placing the relevant evidence appropriate to the issues before the court for its consideration. The object of issues is to identify from the pleadings the questions or points required to be decided by the courts so as to enable parties to let in evidence thereon. When the facts necessary to make out a particular claim, or to seek a particular relief, are not found in the plaint, the court cannot focus the attention of the parties, or its own attention on that claim or relief, by framing an appropriate issue........ Thus it is said that no amount of evidence, on a plea that is not put forward in the pleadings, can be looked into to grant any relief. The jurisdiction to grant relief in a civil suit necessarily depends on the pleadings, prayer, court fee paid, evidence let in, etc."

 In J.K. Iron & Steel Co. Ltd, Kanpur v. The Iron and Steel Mazdoor Union, Kanpur, AIR  1956 SC 231, this Court observed: "It is not open to the Tribunals to fly off at a tangent and, disregarding the pleadings, to reach any conclusions that they think are just and proper."
Order XIV Rule 1 CPC reads: "Issues arise when a material proposition of fact or law is affirmed by the party and denied by the other." Therefore, it is neither desirable nor required for the court to frame an issue not arising on the pleadings. The Court should not decide a suit on a matter/point on which no issue has been framed. (Vide: Raja Bommadevara Venkata Narasimha Naidu & Anr. v. Raja Bommadevara Bhashya Karlu Naidu & Ors., (1902) 29 Ind. App. 76 (PC); Sita Ram v. Radha Bai & Ors., AIR 1968 SC 535; Gappulal v. Thakurji Shriji Dwarkadheeshji & Anr., AIR 1969 SC 1291; and Biswanath Agarwalla v. Sabitri Bera, (2009) 15 SCC 693).

The object of framing issues is to ascertain/shorten the area of dispute and pinpoint the points required to be determined by the court. The issues are framed so that no party at the trial is taken by surprise. It is the issues fixed and not the pleadings that guide the parties in the matter of adducing evidence.

In Kashi Nath (Dead) through L.Rs. v. Jaganath, (2003) 8 SCC 740, this Court held that where the evidence is not in line with the pleadings and is at variance with it, the said evidence cannot be looked into or relied upon. While deciding the said case, this Court placed a very heavy reliance on the judgment of the Privy Council in Siddik Mohd. Shah v. Saran, AIR 1930 PC 57.

There may be an exceptional case wherein the parties proceed to trial fully knowing the rival case and lead all the evidence not only in support of their contentions but in refutation thereof by the other side. In such an eventuality, absence of an issue would not be fatal and it would not be permissible for a party to submit that there has been a mis-trial and the proceedings stood vitiated. (vide: Nagubai Ammal & Ors. v. B. Shama Rao & Ors., AIR 1956 SC 593; Nedunuri Kameswaramma v. Sampati Subba Rao, AIR 1963 SC 884; Kunju Kesavan v. M.M. Philip & Ors., AIR 1964 SC 164; Kali Prasad Agarwalla (dead) by L.Rs. & Ors. v. M/s. Bharat Coking Coal Ltd. & Ors., AIR 1989 SC 1530; Sayed Akhtar v. Abdul Ahad, (2003) (7) SCC 52; and Bhuwan Singh v. Oriental Insurance Co. Ltd., AIR 2009 SC 2177).







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