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Madras High Court
Ramalinga Iyer vs Parvathathammal And Ors. on 21 April, 1926
Equivalent citations: AIR 1926 Mad 1122, 97 Ind Cas 759
Author: V Rao


Venkatasubba Rao, J.

1. I am clearly satisfied that the judgment of the lower Court is correct. One Veera Rama Aiyar and his widow made certain alienations. The plaintiff as the reversionary heir” impeaches these transactions. Certain pro-parties were left by the deceased and it is sufficient for the purpose of this judgment to state that by Exhibits I–C and by Exhibit A she sold certain portions of the land and utilized the proceeds for the payment of her husband’s debts. This fact is not disputed. She then found herself in possession of 47 cents nanja and acres 1 44 punja. She sold this panja land in 1916 for Rs. 600 by Exhibit I–B. The nanja land amounting to 47 cents. she sold under Exhibit I for another sum of R3. 600 in the year 1918, We are concerned with the validity of the latter sale. It is not disputed that out of this Rs. 600 realized the widow paid Rs. 150 to the plaintiff in discharge of a valid debt. On these facts, can the sale under Exhibit I be impeached on the ground that it is not binding upon the reversion?

2. The learned Subordinate Judge points out that the land which remained in the widow’s possession after the debts had been paid off was capable of fetching an annual income of Rs. 28. A portion of this land was sold under Ex. I–B and realized Rs. 600. If this amount had been invested even at 12 per cent. a fairly high rate the interest the lady could get would only be Rs. 6 a month. If likewise she should invest also the sum Rs. 450 which remained in her hands out of the proceeds of sale under Ex. I the interest which that sum would earn would be Rs. 4-1-0 a month. In other words, by converting the land into cash, the widow is in a position to realize by way of interest Rs. 10-8-0 a month. In making this estimate the Subordinate Judge has certainly not taken too lenient a view of the case from the widow’s standpoint.

3. It is not pretended that this young widow of 20 can live on Rs. 28 per year or Rs. 2 per month. In the circumstances, does the Hindu Law impose upon her any obligation to preserve the corpus and keep it intact for the benefit of the ultimate reversioner ? I do not think that any such onerous duty is cast upon a Hindu widow. She can certainly alienate the property for necessary purposes and the most obviously necessary purpose is her own maintenance. If the widow had not sold these lands, she should be practically starving. I am clearly of the opinion that the purpose in the present case is a justifiable purpose.

4. The Subordinate Judge also points out that this lady is a native of Travancore and that the lands are in the Tinnevelly district. She cannot be expected for the purpose of realizing a paltry sum of Rs. 28 a year, to abandon her home and reside permanently in Tinnevelly. If she substitutes supervision by agents for her own supervision, the produce may not be sufficient even to meet the incidental expenses. The sale must be upheld. The appeal consequently fails and is dismissed with costs.

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