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Allahabad High Court
Ram Narain Dube vs The Secretary Of State For India In … on 9 January, 1907
Equivalent citations: (1907) ILR 29 All 277
Author: G K Richards
Bench: G Knox, Richards


George Knox and Richards, JJ.

1. Ram Narain Dube, the petitioner in this case, brought a suit against the Secretary of State for India in Council in the Court of the Judge of Small Causes at Benares. It appears that one Musammat Janki was the tenant of Ram Narain. Janki died intestate, so it is alleged, leaving personal property. No claimant to the property having come forward, the District Judge of Benares, under the authority vested in him by Section 7 of Regulation V of 1799, took temporary care of the property. Janki was the tenant of Ram Narain Dube, and at the time she died was, according to Ram Narain Dube, in debt to him for certain arrears of house rent. It is for the recovery of this house rent that a suit was instituted in the Court of Small Causes. The suit was defended on the ground that the Secretary of State was not the owner of the property at the time the suit was brought and was not in possession of the property. The learned Judge held that until the period prescribed by the Regulation expired, the property did not vest in the Secretary of State and ho could not be held liable for any debt. He accordingly dismissed the suit. In revision it is here contended that as under the Hindu Law upon the failure of heirs the property of a deceased person immediately escheats to the Crown, the Secretary of State must be taken to be in possession of the property. In our opinion the learned Judge is right, the liability of the Secretary of State does not arise until he has taken possession of the property. This date has not been reached. We do not understand why Ram Narain Dube did not as creditor apply to the District Judge for letters of administration. Had he done so, he could have paid out of the assets the debt due to himself and he would not have been obliged to wait for the expiry of the period prescribed for giving notice to the Secretary of State of his intention to sue. This application is dismissed with costs.

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