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Calcutta High Court
Dayamani Debi vs Srinibash Kundu on 2 May, 1906
Equivalent citations: (1906) ILR 33 Cal 842
Author: Brett
Bench: F W Maclean, K.C.I.E., Brett


Francis W. Maclean, K.C.I.E., C.J.

1. This is a suit be certain reversioners, and the object of the suit is to set aside a permanent lease of certain property granted by their mother, who was a Hindu widow. The lease was granted to the defendants in consideration of a rent and of a premium of about 400 rupees. The lower Appellate Court has found that the lease was for the benefit of the estate. It has found that the previous tenants on the property would not adhere to it, because it was not profitable, and that it was impracticable, the land being jungle, to bring it under cultivation without spending a substantial sum on its improvement. In those circumstances the lady decided to grant the lease in question. It has also been found that the bargain was a good one and that both the bonus and the rents went into the pockets of the plaintiff’s; and that what the mother did was for the good of the plaintiffs, and the latter have been benefited by her act. The District Judge refused to set aside the lease, and the plaintiffs hare appealed. The question is whether on these findings we can properly say that the lease ought to be set aside.

2. It is urged for the appellant that “the lease is not binding upon them and that the mother (the widow) had no power to grant it. I am a little surprised to find that there is so little authority upon the point, although one would have thought that such cases would often have arisen. The principle, however, seems to be laid down by two cases before the Judicial Committee, Hunooman Persaud Panday v. Mussummat Babooee Munraj Koonweree (1856) 6 M.I.A. 393 and a more recent case, Kameswar Pershad v. Run Bahadur Singh (1880) I.L.R. 6 Calc. 843. Those cases seem to show that a Hindu widow, as regards the management of the estate has not less power than the manager of an infant’s estate, and that the latter could grant a lease such as the present, if it were for the benefit of the estate. In the case of Kameswar Pershad v. Run Bahadur Singh (1880) I.L.R. 6 Calc. 843 their Lordships say this: “Their Lordships in no degree depart from the principles laid down in the case of Hunooman Persaud Panday v. Mussummat Babooee Munraj Koonweree (1856) 6 M.I.A. 393, which has been so often cited. They have applied those principles in recent cases not only to the case of a manager for an infant, which was the case there, but to transactions on all fours with, the present, namely alienations by a widow and to transactions in which a father, in derogation of the rights of his son under the Mitakshara law, has made an alienation of ancestral family estate.”

3. Going back then to the case of Hunooman Persaud Panday v. Babooee Munraj Koonweree (1856) 6 M.I.A. 393, we find that the Judicial Committee says: “The power of the manager for an infant heir to charge an estate not his own, is under the Hindu law, a limited and qualified power. It can only be exercised rightly in a case of need, or for the benefit of the estate But where in the particular instance, the charge is one that a prudent owner would make in order to benefit the estate, the bond fide lender is not affected by the precedent mismanagement of the estate.”

4. In those two cases, no doubt, the question was one of the validity of a charge created by a manager, but the principle of these cases seem to me to apply to a case of the present nature Each case must depend upon its owe circumstances, and I think that, upon the findings of the Lower Appellate Court in the present case, the view taken by the District Judge is right.

5. The appeal must be dismissed with costs.

Brett, J.

6. I agree.

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