Bi & S. Hajaram Bihi & Anr Vs. S.Khurshid Begum & Ors  INSC
247 (13 February 1996)
B.L. (J) Hansaria B.L. (J) Ray, G.N. (J) Hansarai, J.
1996 AIR 1663 JT 1996 (6) 155 1996 SCALE (2)205
dispute at hand relates to property bearing door Nos.297 to 306 which once
belonged to one M.Abdul Sattar and his vounder brother M.Sattar. Respondent
Nos.1 and 2 herein are the daughters of M.Sattar through his first wife, the
third respondent. The two appellants claimed themselves to be the offspring of M.Sattar
through his second wife. They challenged a deed of settlement by the aforesaid Sattars
relating to the property in favour of respondent Nos.1 and 2 on the ground that
the same had been obtained by misrepresentation, fraud and coercion. After the
death of both the Sattars, the appellants filed a suit in the file of Court of
Subordinate Judge, Coimbatore, claiming that they were entitled
to 53 and 1/2 out of 72 shares and mesne profits. Respondents' case was that
the appellants are illegitimate children of M.Sattar, and so, not entitled to
any share; and the settlement deed was valid. The trial court decreed the suit,
but on appeal the High Court dismissed the same holding that the appellants
were not legitimate children of M.Sattar and the settlement deed was valid.
Mohan, learned counsel for the appellants, has strenuously urged that the
finding of the High Court relating to legitimacy is untenable inasmuch as the
Court gave undue importance to Exhibit A.9, which is a copy of marriage
register containing recital of marriage of M.Sattar and his second wife stating
"I affirm that this date I have married".(Emphasis supplied). Shri
Mohan contends that apart from this exhibit, which is dated 26.8.1967, there
are many documents to show that M.Sattar had acknowledged paternity prior to
that date. It is submitted that these acknowledgements were not viewed in
proper perspective by the High Court.
have felt inclined to accept the aforesaid submission of Shri Mohan keeping in
view the principle underlying section 112 of the Evidence Act and what has been
stated in section 114. These two sections give rise to presumption against concubinage
and permit raising of presumption of legitimacy of the children born during the
period of continuous cohabitation. Shri Nariman, appearing for the respondents,
has no objection to our holding that the appellants are legitimate offspring of
M.Sattar, provided interest of his clients is adequately protected qua other
properties of the two Sattars. We, therefore, state that the appellants would
be accepted, taken and treated as legitimate children of M.Sattar.
the question relating to validity or otherwise of the settlement deed, we find
no reason to disagree with the High Court, as, whether the deed was obtained by
misrepresentation, fraud and coercion is a question of fact which has been
thoroughly gone into by the High Court with reference to the materials on
record. We, therefore, uphold the finding of the High Court qua the validity of
the settlement deed.
appears to us that to do complete justice between the parties it would be
apposite to state that as we have decided the question of legitimacy on the
basis of presumption, it should be made clear that the appellants would not lay
any claim in respect of any property left by M.Sattar and/or Abdul Sattar on
the basis of what has been held by us relating to the legitimacy of the two
appellants; and we say so.
appeal is allowed accordingly with no order as to costs.