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Report No. 66

8.31. Point (c)(ii)-Policy for benefit of children.-

Another equally important question also arises from the words-"for the benefit of his wife or of his wife and children or any of them". Does a policy for the benefit only of children fall within the section? This situation arose in a Bombay Case1 and we may quote the facts and the point decided, from the judgment of the High Court:

"I have already quoted section 6 to the extent relevant for the purposes of this appeal. A policy of insurance, in order that section 6 should apply, should be effected by any married man on his own life. The other requirement is that the policy, on the face of it, must be for the benefit of his wife, or of his wife and children, or any of them2. The present policy is on the life of respondent No. 3. That it is not for the benefit of his wife, or of his wife and children is apparent. It is for the benefit of his children, i.e., the appellant and her sister. It was contended by Mr. Ablkyankar, appearing for the respondents, that a policy which is for the benefit only of a child or children is not contemplated by section 6 of Act III of 1874.

According to his contention, the expression 'for the benefit of his wife or of his wife and children, or any of them' means that the policy is either for the benefit of the wife or for the benefit of the wife and children or for the benefit of the wife and any one of the children. It cannot be, he says, for the benefit only of the children without the wife3. This contention raised on behalf of the defendants found favour with the learned Judge. The contention is that 'any of them' has reference to any of the children along with the wife and not any of the children without the wife. On a plain interpretation of the section, I do not find it possible to accept this construction suggested by Mr. Abhyankar.

The expression 'of his wife and children' referred to more than one child because the word 'children' would include one child. According to the construction suggested by Mr. Abhyankar, the expression 'of his wife and children' must refer to a policy for the benefit of the wife and more than one child and not the benefit of the wife and only one child. The reasonable construction would be that when the word 'children' is used, it includes one child also. Only, if it were not so, then the further expression 'any of them' would have been necessary to provide for the case of a policy for the benefit of the wife and chip. Looking to the language employed, it does not seem to me that a policy, which was not for the 'benefit of the wife but was for the benefit only of children, was not contemplated by section 6'.

1. M.A. Rodrigues v. B.R. Baliga, AIR 1967 Bom 465 (467), para. 6 (Gokhale, J.).

2. M.A. Rodrigues v. B.R. Baliga, AIR 1967 Born 465 (467), para. 5.

3. Emphasis added.



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