Mahadevi And Anr. vs Neelamani on 19 November, 1896

Madras High Court
Mahadevi And Anr. vs Neelamani on 19 November, 1896
Equivalent citations: (1897) ILR 20 Mad 269
Bench: S Ayyar, Davies


1. We agree with the Judge that there was no such necessity for the gift by the widow as would be binding on the reversioners. As the plaintiff was already in receipt of a regular income as Po-Brahman, and the ceremonies performed by him at Gaya were performed in the same capacity, and many years before the gift, there was no justification for the grant which was purely voluntary.

2. The next finding of the Judge is that the question of title in regard to the plaint property is res judicata by reason of the decision under Section 39 of the Land Acquisition Act of 1870. Assuming that the appellants were made parties to the proceedings under that Section, though the question is. doubtful owing to the faulty character of the notice (Exhibit III) served on the first appellant, we do not think that the finding in the Land Acquisition case in favour of the validity of the plaint gift operates as res judicata in this case, inasmuch as the litigation under that Act is a special form of proceeding confined to the determination of the amount of compensation due and the persons to whom it should be paid. Such a proceeding cannot be treated as a ‘suit’ within the meaning of Section 13 of the Code of Civil Procedure, so as to render a decision come to therein binding when the same question arises in what is strictly a suit. Further, for the reasons stated by PONTIFEX, J., in Nobodeep Chunder Chowdhry v. Brojendro Lall Roy I.L.R. 7 Cal. 406 we should not be justified in holding, on even general grounds, that an adjudication under the Land Acquisition Act should be held to be conclusive in disputes connected with property other than that to which the enquiry under that Act related.

3. As to the estoppel which the Judge has also found in plaintiff’s favour, we must again differ from him. We find, on the statements of the appellants which have not been contradicted, that they put their signatures to the deed as attesting witnesses under pressure. There is no evidence to show that they were aware of the exact terms of the document or that in attesting the document, they were doing any thing likely to affect their reversionary rights. There is absolutely nothing to indicate that they were willing or intended to part with those rights. Considering that they were purdanashin and young women at the time and that the plaintiff was the confidential manager of the affairs of their mother, under whose protection they were living, it lay on the plaintiff to prove that they acted with full knowledge and with independent advice, but the plaintiff has not even attempted to prove this. In these circumstances, we could not have held the appellants bound by the deed of gift, even had they been the executing parties. In no view can their mere attestation of the document amount to an estoppel in a case such as this, where there has been no alteration of plaintiff’s position in consequence of their act.

4. We are, therefore, of opinion that the plaintiff has failed to establish the validity of the gift upon which he sues.

5. We must, accordingly, reverse the decree of the lower Court and dismiss the plaintiff’s suit with costs throughout.

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