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Allahabad High Court
Collector Of Meerut vs Sagar Mal on 15 February, 1929
Equivalent citations: AIR 1929 All 454, 117 Ind Cas 99
Author: Mears


JUDGMENT

Mears, C.J.

1. On 16th December 1922 Sagar Mal executed a bond for Rs. 800 in favour of Kunwar Mahandrajit Singh, who was then under age. The mother of Mahandrajit Singh was his legal guardian and was acting on his behalf. At some time in June 1923 Kunwar Mahandrajit Singh was married, and on the occasion of his marriage the mother of Kunwar Mahandrajit Singh purported to discharge the indebtedness of Sagar Mal to her son by giving him a receipt which in terms wiped out the indebtedness created under the bond. The consideration was expressed to be a gift at the time of the marriage and also as a recognition of his services as mukaddam.

2. Later in 1925 the estate of Kunwar Mahandrajit Singh came into the hands of the Court of wards and they considered the legal position arising from the act of the Rani Saheba, and they were of opinion that she being the legal guardian had imposed upon her as of necessity a right to defray all legal obligations but could not dissipate the estate by acts of generosity. They took the view that a guardian was bound to protect the estate, and if they could point to any instance where the Rani Saheba had in a manner that was not customary made gifts by which the estate was diminished, the legality of these gifts could be questioned. They, therefore, sued Sagar Mal, and Mr. Bhagwan Dass came to the conclusion that the Rani Saheba had authority to remit the money, and that she was within her rights in making the remission. I disagree. I have no doubt that the Rani Saheba had authority to make such gifts as would be customary on the occasion of her son’s marriage, but certainly not a gift of this extent. The effect of that gift was to reduce the value of the estate of Kunwar Mahandrajit Singh by Rs. 800, and if the Rani Saheba had power to make that one gift in law, she had power to make other similar gifts and in that way to reduce the value of the inheritance.

3. I think she had no authority to do anything of the kind, and that her authority as guardian extended only to making disbursements which she was legally compellable to do on Kunwar Mahandrajit Singh’s behalf and customary gifts of a moderate amount or value. There was no legal compulsion on her to make this unusual gift, and it was an act of generosity capable of being challenged by the Court of wards.

4. I, therefore, set aside the decision of Mr. Bhagwan Dass and decree the plaintiff’s claim. In the circumstances each party must bear their own costs.


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