Naraini Devi Vs. Smt. Ramo Devi &
Ors  INSC 325 (18 December 1975)
SARKARIA, RANJIT SINGH SARKARIA, RANJIT SINGH
FAZALALI, SYED MURTAZA
CITATION: 1976 AIR 2198 1976 SCR (3) 55 1976
SCC (1) 574
O 1977 SC1944 (68) RF 1979 SC 993 (2,3) RF
1987 SC2251 (6)
Hindu Succession Act-Section 14(1) &
(2)-Scope of- Limited interest in an estate given under an award to a widow not
having a pre-existing right under the Hindu Law prior to the commencement of
the Hindu Succession Act, comes to an end on her death.
'N' a widow of 'H', who, under the Hindu law
then applicable and in the presence of her three sons did not get any share or
interest in the house left by her late husband and therefore got a life
interest by virtue of a registered award filed 3 suit under order 21 Rule 63
C.P.C. to establish her claim to the property that had been attached in
execution of the decree against her second son obtained by her eldest
daughter-in law. 'N's suit was decreed by the trial Court. The first appellate
court reversed that decree.
The second appeal and he review in the High
On appeal by special leave, rejecting the
contention that "the appellants limited interest was enlarged into that of
a full owner by the operation of sub sec. (I) of Section 14 of the Hindu
Succession Act, the Court
HELD: (I) A reading of the award as a whole,
leaves little doubt, that the only interest in the house created in favour of
the widow was that she would be entitled to its rent, and no more for her life
time. [56 F] (2) In the present case, the appellant did not get any share or
interest in the house left by her husband under the Hindu Law as then
applicable. She had no pre-existing right or interest in the property. [57 B]
(3) The award created a restricted estate for her in the house, and [57 B] (4)
The ease fell squarely within the ambit of sub- section (2) of section 14 of
the Hindu Succession Act and her interest came to an end on her death. [57 C]
Badri Prasad v. Smt. Kanan Devi  2 S.C.R. 95, not applicable.
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION: Civil Appeal
No. 824 of 1968.
Appeal by Special Leave from the Judgment and
order dated the 23-8-1967 of the Allahabad High Court in Civil Misc. (Review)
application No. 32 of 1966 (in S.A. 4357/65).
J. P. Goyal for the Appellant.
V. S. Desai and V. N. Ganpule for Respondent
The Judgment of the Court was delivered by
The following pedigree table illustrates the
relationship of the parties:
Hira Lal=Smt. Naraini Devi (plaintiff).
(died in 1925).
Kapoor Chand Nemi Chand Chandra Bhan (died in
1954) (Judgment-debtor) (died in 1930) =Smt. Ramo Devi, (extinct) (Respondent
5-L390 SCI/76 56 Smt. Ramo Devi, widow of
Kapur Chand (shown in the above pedigree table) obtained a money decree against
her husband's brother Nemi Chand. In execution of her decree she got attached
one half-share in the double storeyed House No. 4416, situated at Agra
representing it to be of the judgment-debtor. Smt. Naraini Devi, widow of Hira
Lal, filed an objection petition under 0.21, r. 58, Code of Civil Procedure
against that attachment claiming the house to be her property. That objection
was dismissed by the executing court on the 16th July, 1962. Thereafter, she
filed a suit under 0.21, r. 63, Code 11 of Civil Procedure to establish her
claim. The suit was decreed by the trial court. On appeal, the District Judge
reversed the judgment t and dismissed the suit. Naraini Devi's second appeal
was summarily dismissed by the High Court. She filed a review petition which
was rejected by the High Court on August 23, 1967.
Hence, this appeal by special leave. i It is
common ground between the parties that under a registered J award dated January
4, 1946, the plaintiff Smt.
Naraini Devi was given a life interest in the
house in dispute. The appellant's contention is that her limited interest in
the house was enlarged into that of a full owner by the operation of sub-s. (1)
of s. 14 of the Hindu Succession Act. As against this, the respondents maintain
that her case falls under sub-s. (2) of s. 14. The question thus turns on a
construction of the award Ex. 2.
We have examined an English rendering of this
document filed by the appellant, the correctness of which is not disputed` by
the respondent. This award states in clear, unmistakable terms that she,
Naraini Devi would be entitled to the rent of this house in lieu of maintenance
for her life-time, and after her death, her sons, Kapoor Chand and Nemi Chand
will be owners of half share each of this house.
This award further partitions this house
between Kapoor Chand and Nemi Chand and allots specific portions thereof to the
two brothers. A part of this house was in the occupation of a tenant at Rs.
32/- per month. Naraini Devi was given a right to get that rent. A part of it
was in the personal occupation of Kapoor Chand. The award protects and assures
his right of remaining in possession of the same. A reading of this document as
a whole, leaves little doubt that the only interest, in this house created in
favour of the widow was that she would be entitled to its rent-and no more-for
her life-time. Thus the award confers on her only a restricted estate in the
house within the meaning of sub-s. (2) of s. 14 which says:
"Nothing contained in sub-section (1)
shall apply to any property acquired by way of gift or under a will or any
other instrument or under a decree or order of a civil court or under an award
where the terms of the gift, will or other instrument or the decree, order or
award prescribe a restricted estate in such property." Mr. Goyal however,
submits that her case would fall within this Court's ruling in Badri Prasad v.
Smt. Kanan Devi(1) according to (1)  2 S.C.R. 95.
57 which, if the widow has a pre-existing
right in the property, then the A case will fall under sub-s. (1), and
sub-section (2) which is in the nature of a proviso to sub- s. (1) of s. 14
will not be attracted. The rule in Badri Prasad's case (supra) is not
applicable here. Ill that case the widow had acquired a share in the property
by virtue of the Hindu Women's Right to Property Act, 1937, on the death of her
husband, which took place after the coming into operation of that Act. In the
present case, Smt. Naraini Devi's husband died in 1925. In the presence of her
sons, the widow did not get any share or interest in the house left by her
husband under the Hindu Law as then applicable.
In short, she had no pre-existing right or
interest in the house in question. It was the award dated January 4, 1946, that
created a restricted estate for her in the house in question. Her case thus
falls; squarely within the ambit of sub-s. (2) of s. 14 of the Hindu Succession
Act. Her interest therefore, came to an end on her death which took place
during the pendency of these proceedings.
For reasons aforesaid the appeal fails and is
dismissed with no order as to costs.