w w w . L a w y e r S e r v i c e s . i n

Chandra Kishore and Others V/S Nanak Chand and Others.

    I.A. Nos. 1207 and 2831 of 1974 in S. No. 292 of 1969

    Decided On, 14 February 1975

    At, High Court of Delhi


    For Petitioner: B.N. Kirpal, Advocate And For Respondents: D.R. Dhamija and S.K. Tiwari, Advocates.

Judgment Text

1. There are four applications for hearing before this Court, two of which are concerned with the marriage expenses of defendant No. 4 and two of which are concerned with the management of the alleged Joint Hindu Family Property, which is the subject-matter of the suit. This order will dispose of the applications, which are concerned with the marriage expenses of defendant No. 4, and the other two applications will be heard on some subsequent date, I, Therefore, proceed to decide I. A. Nos. 1207 and 2831 of 1974. The former application was moved by the plaintiffs and prayed for an order directing defendant No. 1 to set aside a sum of Rs. 75,000/- or such other amount as the Court may direct to meet the marriage expenses of defendant No. 4. I. A. No. 2831/74 has been moved by defendant No. 4 to meet her marriage expenses. According to this application, the property of the Joint Hindu Family is worth more than Rs 5,00,000/and is earning a handsome income of not less than Rs. 5,000/- per month, and hence, defendant No. 1 will be in a position to meet the expenses of the proposed marriage of the applicant, defendant No. 4 This application also prays that a sum of Rs. 75,000/- or such other amount as this Court may direct may be set aside for meeting the marriage expenses of defendant No. 4. Both the applications state that the sum should be -placed at the disposal of the plaintiffs and defendants 2 to 4 to meet those expenses.

2. Both these applications have been heard by me on a number of occasions both in Court as well as in camera for the Purpose of bringing about some convenient arrangement by which the marriage of defendant No. 4 can be performed in a satisfactory manner. Unfortunately, it has not been Possible to reach an agreement in spite of defendant No. 1 being willing to perform the marriage. I may say at the outset, that Shri Nanak Chand, defendant No. 1 is the father and plaintiffs 1 to 3 are his sons, whereas defendants 2 to 4 are his daughters. There are unfortunate circumstances in the case which have' proved to be a stumbling block in the performance of the marriage as originally thought possible by me and directed on 13th January, 1975. I proceed to deal with the circumstances.

3. Shri Nanak Chand is the adopted son of the late Shri Banarsi Dass. He has six children from his first marriage. He later married Shrimati Bimla Devi. defendant No. 5, but the factor and validity of the marriage is contested by the plaintiffs. He has two children through the second marriage. One of the issues framed in the suit. reads "Is Shrimati Bimla Devi the wife of defendant No. 1 and are the two sons from her, his sons". The fact of the matter is, that according to the plaintiffs, the 5th defendant is not the legally wedded wife of their father. Shri Nanak Chand. On the other hand Shri Nanak Chand is willing to perform the marriage, but he insists on the presence of Shrimati Bimla Devi at the time the marriage is to be performed, and is not willing to perform the marriage in her absence.

On the other hand, defendant No. 4 states that she would rather not be married if defendant No. 5 performs the marriage or is to be present at the marriage. A similar stand has been taken by the plaintiffs. It has. Therefore, become responsible to get the marriage performed through defendant No. 1. In view of the extraordinary strained relations between the plaintiffs and defendants 2 to 4 on the one hand and, defendant No. 1 on the other, it would be, I think, impossible to get the marriage Performed by letting Shri Nanak Chand perform the marriage. Such a step would certainly lead to serious trouble between the parties and possibly defendant No. 4 would not agree to the marriage being Performed, and Probably there would be violence or other incidents at the time which would render the order inoperative and impossible to perform. I have, Therefore, to find some other solution for the purpose of seeing whether an order cannot be passed as Prayed for by the applicants.

4. There are considerable difficulties in passing the order Prayed for by the applicants, because there is no Previously reported case in which an order as sought, has been passed. On the other hand, it is equally apparent that a situation like the present cannot have existed in many cases. The plaintiffs and defendants 2 to 4 have been fighting all sorts of litigations against defendant No. I and altogether wild allegations have been made by one against the other in those proceedings. This, Therefore, is a case of a very unusual type.

5. I now turn to give some indication of the nature of the suit pending in this Court. According to the plaintiffs, there is a Joint Hindu Family property of which defendant No. 1 is Karta and manager. Details of that property are set out by the plaintiffs in paragraph 8 of the Plaint. This shows that there is considerable Property allegedly owned by the Joint Hindu Family. It also appears from paragraph 10 of the plaint that the Income Tax authorities have been assessing M/s. Banarsi Dass Nanak Chand, a Joint Hindu Family firm as an assessed. On the other hand, the case of defendant No. 1 in the written statement was to deny the existence of any Joint Hindu Family. Fated with the assessment orders, which have been put on, record, the case of defendant No. I is that he had got his income assessed as a Joint Hindu Family for the purpose of avoiding tax liability, but the Property was in reality his self acquired property. The first question for consideration at this stage is: Is there a Prima facie case to hold that there is a Joint Hindu Family which has property? In view of the fact that there is an assessment of the property as Joint Hindu Family Property, there are three possibilities that can arise one there has always been a Joint Hindu Family and the property in suit is Joint Hindu Family; two the property in suit has been put into hotchpotch by defendant No. 1 and now that property is Joint Hindu Family property and three, the property is the self acquired Property of that defendant in spite of it being treated as Joint Hindu Family property over a number of years. It is possible that the defendant may succeed in showing that the property is in fact his separate property and is, Therefore, not liable to partition.

At the present moment, unless the defendant succeeds in showing that the Property is not joint property, the prima facie impression from the material on record must be that the property is in fact joint family Property. I am Therefore, making this assumption on the basis of the Income Tax assessment records. There is also other material which might support this view including the fact that some of' this property has come to the first defendant from his adopted father. I, however, do not in any way predict the result of this matter at the eventual trial of the suit.

6. The next question for consideration is what is the nature of the order that can be passed in a suit of this type? The suit is one for Partition. Defendant No. 4, for whom the expenses are sought, is the daughter of defendant No. 1, has no right in the Joint Hindu Family Property as such, but she has the right to have her marriage expenses and other expenses for maintenance met from out of the Joint Hindu Family being an unmarried daughter. This position is beyond dispute. However, can an order for meeting the marriage expenses of the daughter be passed during the duration of a suit for partition? This is the Problem I have to deal with; and I must say that it bristles with difficulties.

7. Learned Counsel for both parties have cited judgment to show that an interim order of this type can and cannot be passed in certain circumstances. The learned Counsel for the first defendant has cited Mulimani Sanna Basavarajappa v. Basavanappa, Air 1959 Mys 152, Mahomed Abdul Rahman v. Taiunnissa Begum, : AIR1953Mad420 , and Gopal Saran v. Sita Devi : Air 1924 Pat 69. The learned Counsel for the applicants has cited Alagammai Achi v. Veerappa. Chettiar. Air 1956 Mad 428, M. A. Rajagopala Ayvar v. M. A. Venkataraman, 51 Cal Wn 829 = AIR 1947 Pc 122, Smt. Gourl Gupta Chowdhury v. Tarani Gupta Choudhury: AIR1968Cal305 , NemiChand Jain v. Smt. Lila Jain : AIR1968Cal405 and Tarini Gupta Chowdhury v. Suit. Gouri Gupta Chowdhury : AIR1968Cal567 . The controversy in these cases has been, whether an interim order can be passed in a suit for maintenance, The cases cited by the learned Counsel for defendant No. 1, show that such an order cannot be passed being beyond the Powers set out in Section 94 of the Code of Civil Procedure. On the other hand, the Calcutta High Court has taken the view that an interlocutory order can be passed permitting maintenance even when the matter is contested. In the judgment of A. N. Ray, J. (as he then was) it was stated in the last of these cases as follows: -

"I am unable to accept that contention. The relief asked for in the suit has yet to be determined and decided. If there is a prima facie case and if the Court is of opinion that the plaintiff is entitled to interim relief the plaintiff may be Liven such relief. That is not deciding the whole case. In these cases the Court is bound to arrive at a conclusion as to whether any interlocutory order will be made or not. There has to be a prima facie opinion. Interlocutory opinions do not bind the trial Court."
There, Therefore, is a view to the effect that an interlocutory order for maintenance can be passed giving interim maintenance in a suit for maintenance, I have myself followed this latter view in an unreported case and have granted similar relief. Indeed, to refuse such a relief will in some cases result in a Party being non-suited. The major difficulty in the present case is that the suit is not one for maintenance: it is a suit for Partition and the application for marriage expenses is not, Therefore primarily a grant of interim relief. Unless the present applications can somehow come within the ambit of interim relief, it is difficult for the Court to allow the applications.

8. The judgment of the Privy Council in 51 Cal Wn 829 = AIR 1947 Pc 122, just referred to above, was also a case in which it was held that the right of an un-married daughter to maintenance and marriage expenses out of the Hindu Joint Family is in lieu of a share on Partition and provision should accordingly be made for her in a decree for Partition. The judgment relied on the quotation from Mull& (Hindu Law, 7 Ed.376, where it was stated: -

"The case of an unmarried daughter stands on a different footing. Her right to maintenance and marriage expenses out of the joint family property is in lieu of a share on partition, provision should accordingly be made for her marriage- expenses in the decree."
As it happened in the case to-fore the Privy Council, the marriage had already taken place and the money had been spent by the mother, The Privy Council observed:

"Their Lordships agree with the High Court that the Subordinate Judge was not justified in refusing reimbursement and they agree with head (8) of the decree."
This I take, is an authority for the position that an unmarried daughter is entitled to get her marriage expenses from the joint family estate and in case the marriage expenses are met by somebody else, he is entitled to get reimbursement of those expenses from the Estate.

9. Thus, the legal position seems to be this. The 4th defendant is entitled to have her marriage expenses out of the Joint Hindu family property if there is any such property. She is entitled to get these expenses in lieu of her share in the partition. If there is a prima facie case that there is a Joint family Property; there is also prima facie the case that the applicant the 4th defendant is entitled to get her marriage expenses out of that estate. On the other hand, the position that them is no Joint Hindu Family estate is also to be considered, In that connection, I may now refer to the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956. Section 20 of that Act deals with the situations as far as defendant No. 1. is concerned. Sub-section (3) of that section reads-

"The obligation of a person to maintain his or her aged or infirm grant or a daughter who is unmarried extends in so far as the parent or the unmarried daughter, as the case may be is unable to maintain himself or herself out of his or her own earnings or other property-"
Thus, the maintenance of a daughter extends to maintaining her to the extent she cannot do so out of her own earnings. Sub section (1) of this very section reads: -

"Subject to the provisions of this section a Hindu is bound, during his or her lifetime, to maintain his or her legitimate or illegitimate children and his or her aged or infirm parents,"
Sub-section (2) of the same section shows that the claim of a legitimate or illegitimate child extends only while the child is a minor. As I read the section as a whole, it means this. Clearly, a Hindu has the obligation to maintain his children as low as the, are minor: but in the case of unmarried daughter, this obligation goes on as long as that daughter is unable to maintain herself. In this sense, sub-section (3) of Section 20, is an exception in the case of unmarried daughter. A Hindu is Therefore, obliged to maintain an unmarried daughter even after she ceases to be a minor, but only as long as she, has not sufficient earnings or her own "property out of which she can maintain herself. The operation of this section in. the case of an unmarried daughter is also explained by the deflation section. Where in 'maintenance' is defined. Section 3 (b) reads as follows:(b) "maintenance" includes:

(i) in all cases, provision for food, clothing, residence, education and medical attendance and treatment:

(ii)in the cam of an unmarried daughter, also the reasonable expenses of and incident to her marriage."

Thus the definition of maintenance in the Face of an unmarried daughter not only includes food, education, medical attendance and treatment, but also the reasonable expenses incidental to her marriage. Thus, the obligation of the first defendant includes the obligation to maintain defendant No. 4 not only for the purpose of her day to day expenses but also in respect of the reasonable expenses of her marriage in any event, Therefore, defendant No. 1 is obliged to meet the marriage expenses of the 4th defendant This applies, where there is a joint family property or not a joint family property, In fact, as I have stated earlier, the first defendant has very reasonably agreed to meet the expenses necessary for this marriage. The difficulty of carrying this promise into effect is his insistence on defendant No. 5 being also present to perform the marriage. It is on account of this insistently that I have been compelled to consider this matter from the prima facie angle. As I have gone to the view, that there is a joint Hindu family property prima facie, I am also of the view that prima facie an interlocutory order can be passed granting reasonable marriage expenses for defendant No. 4.

If an interim order can be passed in a suit for maintenance an interim order can also be passed in favor of a daughter during the pendency of a partition suit. Such an order will be in the nature of an interlocutory judgment. It will, however, not be a conclusive judgment, because in case the partition suit fails, then the daughter cannot get this maintenance in the for in of an interlocutory order in the partition suit because it will not be a claim against the joint Hindu family property, there being no joint Hindu family property. However, in such a case, the 4th defendant could get a similar order against her father, defendant No. 1, on account of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, as explained by me. This is one, around on which an interim order can be passed in favor of the 4th defendant on the application removed before this Court.

10. I propose now to deal with the application on the footing that an order cannot be passed in this manner because of Section 94 of the Code of Civil Procedure, which permits interlocutory orders only to be passed in circumstances which-are prescribed. That is no Prescribed express section witch Permits interim -orders to be passed in the manner Proposed by none. If the afore-1 mentioned view of the Madras and Patna High Courts is accepted to be a correct view, then an interim order cannot be passed in the manner I have just proposed. It then remains to be seen whether an interim order can be passed under the inherent powers of the Court.

11. The Supreme Court has held in Manohar Lal Chopra v. Rai Bahadur Rao Raja Seth Hiralal: AIR1962SC527 that the inherent Power of the Court is not restricted by Section 94 of the Code of Civil Procedure, This means that the order sought for by the applicant can be passed under Section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure if the Court define it fit. That section reads: -

"Nothing in this Code shall be deemed to limit or otherwise affect 'the Inherent Deliver of the Court to make the orders as may be necessary for the ends of justice, or to prevent abuse of the process of the Court,"

It has been observed by the Supreme Court in Arjun Sing . v. Mohindra Kumar : [1964]5SCR946 , that the Court cannot override the express -provision A law but if there is no express provision in the statute, then the Court can exercise its powers in a suitable case. In Ram Chand and Sons Sugar Mills (p.') Ltd, v. Kanhayalal Bhargava, Air 1966 Sc 1890, it was observed: -

"The inherent power of a Court is in addition to end complimentary to the Powers expressly conferred under the Civil Procedure Code. But that power will not be exercised if its exercise is inconsistent with, or comes into, conflict with, any of the powers expressly or 'by necessary implication conferred by the other provisions of the Code."

I cannot find any provision in the Code which Prohibits the Passing of an order granting marriage expenses to a daughter in the circumstances of this case. In fact as I have already pointed out, the substantive law of the country, as applicable, to defendant No. 4, shows that she is entitled to marriage expenses from the defendant No. 1.

12. Where there is a Hindu joint family estate or where there is none, if there is a joint Hindu family property, i.e., is entitled as of right to get her marriage expenses from that estate. If there is no joint Hindu family property she is entitled to get reasonable marriage expenses from defendant No. 1 under the express provisions of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956. What then would be the order in the present case? The marriage of the 4th defendant has apparently been fixed and is due to take place very shortly. If I refuse to make an order, the marriage cannot take place. If her marriage is to await the final decision of the suit Probably, the marriage of the 4th defendant will never, be performed, as I do not expect that the person she is due to marry, will wait till the suit is finally decided by this Court. This means that justice both substantive and procedural must be used in the interests of defendant No. 4, even if there is no parallel case previously. L Therefore, propose to pass an order directing defendant No. 1 to place a sum at the, disposal of defendant No. 4 for enabling her marriage to be Performed.

13. The claim made in the two applications before me is for a sum of Rs. 75,000 or such other sum as the Court may direct. I have been anxious, during the hearings before me, to pass, som

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e order which will provide the minimum assistance required to meet the expenses of the marriage. In discussions it has turned out that the absolute minimum requirement is Rs. 25,000/-, Therefore, proceed to Pass an order directing defendant No. 1 to put a sum of Rupees 25,000 at the disposal of the 4th defendant. As per prayer in the applications, this amount is to be put at the disposal of the plaintiffs and the second to fourth defendants. I have now to see that the order is properly and promptly carried, out and is not misused in any way by the plaintiffs or defendants 2 to 4 to get hold of this sum. I have considered how this can properly be managed. I think the proper order to pass is that the sum of Rs. 25,000 should be deposited by defendant No. 1 with the Registrar of this court and this sum should only be taken out by the plaintiffs and defendants 2 to 4 on furnishing security for restitution, to the satisfaction of the Registrar. The, money will not be expended by the plaintiff and defendants 2 to 4 except for the purpose of meeting the expenses of the marriage of defendant No. 4 and full and proper accounts will be maintained of the said expenses. If the expenses are less than Rs. 25,000 then the balance amount will be re-deposited in the Court. If the expenses exceed Ra. 25.000 even then the accounts should be filed in Court as this amount has eventually to be taken, into consideration for the purpose of, passing a partition decree, if any such decree is Passed. If the suit for partition fails the Court may have to pass an order directing the refund of the money out of the security which the plaintiffs and defendants 2 to 4 might have furnished to this Court Subject to this direction, I direct that the sum of Rupees 25,000 should be deposited in Court by defendant No. 1 within ten days and he, can utilize such part of the fixed deposits shares or other assets, of the alleged Hindu joint family Property as may be. Necessary for the purpose of raising this amount including the amounts deposited in furtherance of the orders passed previously by this Court. Both the applications are allowed, but the parties will bear their own costs. 14. Applications allowed