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Calcutta High Court
Ram Sharan Lal And Ors. vs Maharaja Sri Sri Ram Narain Singh … on 10 June, 1914
Equivalent citations: 28 Ind Cas 610
Bench: Stephen, Mullick


1. The plaintiff in this case is the zemindar of Pergana Raj Ramgarh which includes Mouza Salga, of which he says that a jagir was granted to one Kanshi Singh in 1852. Kanshi had two sons, of whom one predeceased him, dying childless, and the other Banshi Lal succeeded him, but died in 1897 without leaving male issue. The plaintiff succeeded in collecting rents for two years, but was dispossessed by the defendants in 1899. He now sues for possession and mesne profits, alleging that he is entitled to resume his ancestor’s grant on the failure of male issue oil the grantee.

2. To this claim the defendants set up two defences, one based on fact and one on law. The first was that the grant was made not to Banshi, as the plaintiff says, but to Raghu, Banshi’s father, of whom the defendants are descendants in the male line. There are many difficulties about this defence, which is not supported by the evidence, and it was given up in the lower Court and not raised here, and need not, therefore, be further noticed. The second defence raises a question of some importance. The facts are that the subject-matter of the original grant was certainly a jaigir and it was conveyed to Banshi with the words or word putrapoutradi the significance of which we have to determine. Also there is evidence which may be summarised by saying that it shows that jaigirs granted by the Raj were terminable on the death of male heirs, though there is no case to show that this was so where the words putrapoutradi were used.

3. There is good authority for saying that a grant of a jaigir is a grant for life only, see Regulation XXXVII of 1793, Section 15, and Gulaldas Jugjivandas v. Collector of Surat 6 I.A. 54 : 3 B. 186 (P.C.); the question is how is this estate extended by the addition of putrapoutradi. The words literally translated are, as we understand, putra=son, poutra=grandson, and ade=others, but the expression must of course be construed in the first place according to any construction that has been legally recognised. Such a construction is to be found in the following cases, In Ram Lal Mookerjee v. Secretary of State 8 I.A. 46 at p. 62 : 7 C. 304 at p. 310 (P.C.) : 10 C.L.R. 349 : 4 Sar. P.C.J. 225 : 5 Ind. Jur. 327 the Privy Council recognised as correct a construction of putrapoutradi Krame which regarded it as implying an absolute and heritable estate and as passing an estate of inheritance. The principal question then argued was whether the words would apply to a female as well as a male descendant; but the question arose in an administration suit, and the decision that the words in question passed an absolute estate of inheritance cannot be treated as obiter. The same view seems to have been taken in Bhujanga Rao v. Ramayamma 7 M. 387 : Ind. Jur. 238. In Lalit Mohun Singh Roy v. Chukkun Lal Roy 24 C. 834 : 24 I.A. 76 : 1 C.W.N. 387 (P.C.) the same words as before were treated by the Privy Council in the same way. On the other hand in Perkash Lal v. Rameshwar Nath Singh 31 C. 561 this Court laid down that in Chota Nagpur the general rule recognised by the Privy Council was modified by a custom that the words al alaud were to be interpreted as limiting a grant to the lineal male descendants of the grantee, and it is argued, and in our opinion cannot be denied, that no wider construction can be given to the words putrapoutradi. But this custom was in effect applied only to a village in the Pergana Kanda. It is stated to be applicable to Chota Nagpur, which may mean the Pergana so named, or the area now known as Chota Nagpore Division. If the former the custom does not apply in this case; if the latter it seems that the decision was wider than was necessary on the facts of the case. In the case of Musammat Roopnath Kunwar v. Maharaja Juggunnath Sahee Deo 6 Sel. Rep. 158 : 7 Ind. Dec. (o.s.) 785 a jaigir was granted nussalun bad nassulin in lieu of services and a custom that the zemindar should resume the grant on the death of the jagirdar without lineal descendants was recognised. The limits of the custom are not, however, prescribed, and the custom there acted on is not that which is now set up.

4. The result is that we see nothing in the cases to modify the general rule laid down by the Privy Council, in its application to the present case.

5. Under these circumstances we hold that the original grantee took an absolute, heritable and alienable estate, and that all his heirs are capable of inheriting it.

6. The result is that the appeal is allowed; the judgment and decree of the lower Court is set aside, and the suit is dismissed with costs here and in the lower Court.

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