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Hindu Law-Gift of ancestral property by the father in favour of his daughters through registered settlement deed-Father later claiming that the settlement deed got executed by misrepresentation and fraud-Plea by father that his signature was obtained as a witness to a sale deed and not for execution of settlement deed and that he has no capacity to gift to his daughters the Joint family property-Suit by daughters for permanent injunction for restraining the father from interfering with peaceful possession-Trial Court dismissed the suit-Confirmed by First Appellate Court and High Court Held, on facts and evidence, the gift was not vitiated by fraud and misrepresentation-Further, father has capacity to gift ancestral property to daughters to a reasonable extent. The respondent, by a registered settlement deed, settled the suit property to his appellant-daughters out of natural love and affection for them. After 5 years, the respondent asked the appellants to vacate the property and tried to trespass into the property. The appellants filed a suit for permanent injunction before trial court for restraining the respondent and his associates from interfering with the appellant’s peaceful possession and enjoyment of the suit property. The respond-ent resisted the suit contending that the suit property was an ancestral property; that settlement deed was not executed in favour of the respondents; that the appellants misrepresented the respondent taking advantage of his addiction to liquor for signing the sale deed of the property purchased by the appellants as an attesting witness and instead got the settlement deed signed. The trial court dismissed the suit of the appellants holding that the settlement deed was got executed by misrepresentation and that the respondent had no power to make a gift of a part of his ancestral properties in favour of his daughters. This was confirmed by the first appellate court and the High Court. In appeal, the appellants contended that the finding of fact by the lower courts regarding execution of settlement deed is vitiated due to misreading of the statement of one of the attesting witnesses: that the respondent, being the karta of the Joint Hindu family had the authority to make a gift of ancestral immoveable property to a reasonable extent to his daughters. The respondent contended that he had no authority to gift the only ancestral property possessed by the family in favour of his daughters. Citation: 2004 AIR 1284,2003(6 )Suppl.SCR605 ,2004(1 )SCC295 ,2003(10 )SCALE600 ,2003(10 )JT289= Allowing the appeal, the Court HELD : 1.1. Finding recorded by the trial court clearly shows that the court misread and misconstrued the testimony of the attesting witness PW 2. In his deposition, PW 2 has clearly stated that he was invited by the respondent to be a witness. He has nowhere stated that the respondent was taken for affixing signatures as witness. If respond-ent was to be a witness, then there was no need to ask PW2 and other witness to accompany the respondent or for them to sign the document. PW 2 also deposed that the respondent affixed his signatures on the settlement deed (Ex Al) after reading the same, that he has signed Exhibit Al as a witness and that he knew the respondent. Suggestion put to him that signatures of the respondent on Exhibit Al were obtained by threat was denied. The trial court did not refer to this part of testimony of PW 2 at all. In the cross- examination, PW 2 has stated that the fact that the respondent had invited him for signing as a witness has been read to him as if PW 2 had stated that the respondent was taken for affixing signatures as a witness to some documents on the date when the deed of settlement Exhibit Al was executed. This is a clear misreading of the testimony of PW 2. The trial court also failed to note that the evidence of respondent lacked total credibility especially in the light of his conduct in denying his signature on the settlement deed, vakalatnama as well as on the summons served on him. Projection made by the respondent in his testimony that the appellants taking advantage of the fact that he was a drunkard got the settlement deed signed fraudulently cannot be accepted. Respondent took no steps to get the settlement deed cancelled though, the appellants had been living in the house for five years after the execution of the settlement deed. In his statement he does not say that he did not know about the execution of the settlement deed. Plea taken by him that he was taken to the Sub-Registrar’s office to be a witness to a sale deed by his son-in-law cannot be accepted as it has not been proved on record that the respondent’s son-in-law had in fact purchased any house site. Findings recorded by the trial court and upheld by the First appellate court and the High Court based on misreading of evidence are liable to be set aside. The findings recorded on misreading of evidence being perverse cannot be sustained by law. [612-E-H; 613-A-D] 2.1. A father can make a gift of ancestral immoveable property within reasonable limits, keeping in view, the total extent of the property held by the family in favour of his, daughter at the time of her marriage or even long after her marriage. [617-E-F] 2.2. Question as to whether a particular gift is within reasonable limits or not has to be judged according to the status of the family at the time of making a gift, the extent of the immoveable property owned by the family and the extent of property gifted. No hard and fast rule prescribing quantitative limits of such a gift can be laid down. The answer to such a question would vary from family to family. The question of reasonableness or otherwise of the gift made has to be assessed vis-a-vis the total value of the property held by the family. Simply because the gifted property is a house, it cannot be held that the gift made was not within the reasonable limits. It is basically a question of fact. If on facts, it is found that the gift was not within reasonable limits, such a gift would not be upheld. It was for the respondent to plead and prove that the gift made by the father was excessive and unreasonable keeping in view the total holding of the family. In the absence of any pleadings or proof on these points, it cannot be held that the gift made in this case was not within the reasonable limits of the property held by the family. The respondent has failed to plead and prove that the gift made was to unreasonable extent keeping in view, the total holding of the family. The first appellate court and the High Court thus erred in non-suiting the appellants on this account. [617-G-H; 618-A-E] 2.3. The respondent had the capacity to make a gift to a reasonable extent of ancestral immoveable property in favour of his daughters. The gift was not vitiated by fraud of misrepresentation. The appellants are held to be the absolute owners or the suit property and the respondent is injuncted from interfering with the peaceful possession and enjoyment of the suit property by the appellant perpetually. [618-F-G] Kamala Devi v. Bachulal Gupta, [1957] SCR 452; Guramma Bhratar Chanbasappa Deshmukh AND ANOTHER v. Malappa, [1964] 4 SCR 497 and Ammathayee Ammal AND ANOTHER v. Kumaresan AND Ors., [1967] 1 SCR 353, referred to. Anivillah Sundararamaya v. Cherla Seethamma AND Ors., (1911) 21 MLJ 695; Pugalila Vettorammal AND ANOTHER v. Vettor Goundan, (1912) MLJ 321; Devalaktuni Sithamahalakshmamma AND Ors. v. Pamulpati Kotayya AND Ors., AIR (1936) Madras 825; Karuppa Gounder AND Ors. v. Palaniammal AND Ors., (1963) 1 MLJ 86; The Commissioner of Gift Tax v. Tej Nath, (1972) PLR (74) 1 and Tara Sabuani v. Raghunath, AIR (1963) Orissa 59, referred to. CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Civil Appeal No. 16757 of 1996.

http://JUDIS.NIC.IN SUPREME COURT OF INDIA Page 1 of 7
CASE NO.:
Appeal (civil) 16757 of 1996
PETITIONER:
R. Kuppayee & Anr.
RESPONDENT:
Raja Gounder
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 10/12/2003
BENCH:
R.C. Lahoti & Ashok Bhan.
JUDGMENT:
J U D G M E N T
BHAN, J.
Aggrieved by the judgment and decree passed by the courts
below in dismissing the suit filed by the plaintiff-appellants (hereinafter
referred to as the “appellants”), the appellants have come up in this appeal.
Shortly stated the facts are:
The appellants are the daughters of the defendant-respondent
(hereinafter referred to as the “respondent”). By a registered settlement
deed, Exhibit A-1 dated 29th of August, 1985, the respondent hereinabove
settled an extent of 12 cents of land comprised in S.No.113/2, Thathagapatti
Village, Salem District in favour of the appellants. As per recitals in the
settlement deed, the settlement was made by the respondent out of natural
love and affection for the appellants and the possession of the property was
handed over to them on the day the settlement deed was executed. The
schedule of settlement deed shows that the total extent of the property
owned by the family was 3.16 acres. The gift was made of 12 cents along
with Mangalore tiled house standing on the gifted land. It was also stated in
the settlement deed that in future neither the respondent nor any other male
or female heirs would have a right over the settled property.
After nearly 5 years, on 22nd April, 1990, respondent and his
associates asked the appellants to vacate the property and tried to trespass
into the property. Because of the attempt made by the respondent to trespass
into the property, the appellants filed the Original Suit No.451 of 1990 in the
Court of District Munsif, Salem seeking relief of restraining the respondent
and his associates from interfering with the appellant’s peaceful possession
and enjoyment of the suit property in any way by way of a permanent
injunction, or, for grant of relief deemed fit in the circumstances of the case.
Respondent resisted the suit and in the written statement filed by him, he
took the stand that he had not executed any settlement deed. That his son-inlaw i.e., husband of appellant No.1 had purchased a house site and the
respondent was taken to the Registrar’s office to witness the sale deed. That
he was used to taking liquor and taking advantage of his addiction to liquor
the appellants and their respective husbands fraudulently by
misrepresentation instead got the sale deed executed from him. The property
in dispute being Joint Hindu Family property consisting of himself and his
son could not be gifted under any circumstances.
In support of their respective pleas, the parties led their
evidences. The appellant No.1 stepped into the witness box as PW-1. She
admitted that the property was ancestral. That her father had settled the
property on her and her sister of his own will out of nature love and affection http://JUDIS.NIC.IN SUPREME COURT OF INDIA Page 2 of 7
for them. PW-2, the attesting witness to Exhibit A-1 stated that he knew the
respondent. While he was standing on the road and talking to some persons,
he was called by the respondent to witness the document. He went to SubRegistrar’s office along with the respondent. Respondent put his signatures
on Exhibit A-1 after reading the same. That he (himself) and Govindawamy
signed Exhibit A-1 as witnesses. Govindawamy has died. In the crossexamination he stated that he did not know the contents of the document,
Exhibit A-1. He showed his ignorance as to when, where or in whose name
the stamp papers were purchased. He denied having knowledge of the fact
as to whether the respondent was in the habit of drinking liquor. Respondent
in order to prove his case stepped in the witness box as DW-1. He stated that
the property was a Joint Hindu Family property as the same had been
purchased with the sale proceeds of the ancestral property. That his son-inlaw who was working in TVS had purchased some property and he was
taken by his son-in-law to sign as a witness. He denied having executed the
settlement deed in favour of the appellants. He denied that he knew PW-2.
It was stated that the possession of the appellants was permissive as they
were allowed to reside in the house to enable them to send their children to
the school. He denied his signatures on the settlement deed, on the
’vakalatnama’ given by him to his counsel as well as on the summons sent to
him by the court. It was denied that he knew English. It was also stated by
him that his signatures were obtained fraudulently on the pretext of signing
as a witness on the document by which his son-in-law had purchased a house
site. That the total extent of the family holding was 3.16 acres of land. He
admitted that his son was residing separately for the last 3 to 4 years but
denied that he was retracting from the settlement deed on the advise of his
son. That he was in the habit of drinking.
No other evidence was led by any of the parties.
The trial court believed the evidence of the respondent. It was
held that the respondent was taken to the Sub-Registrar’s office to witness a
document whereas a deed of settlement was got executed from him.
Testimony of PW-2, the attesting witness was discarded. It was held that the
deposition of PW-2 in fact supported the case put forth by the respondent to
the effect that the respondent was taken to the Sub-Registrar’s office to sign
as a witness. The trial court further held that since the property in dispute
was ancestral in nature, the respondent had no power/authority to make a gift
of a part of the ancestral property in favour of his daughters. The suit was
dismissed. The order of the trial court was affirmed by the First Appellate
Court as well as by the High Court, aggrieved against which the present
appeal has been filed.
It is submitted by the counsel for the appellant that the findings
recorded by the courts below are wrong on facts as well as in law. Finding
of fact regarding due execution of Exhibit A-1 is vitiated due to misreading
of the statement of the attesting witness, PW-2. That the father being the
Karta had the authority to make a gift of ancestral immovable property to a
reasonable extent out of the Joint Hindu Family property in favour of his
daughters. That such authority of the father is recognised in old Hindu Text
Books as well as by the courts in recent times. Counsel appearing for the
respondent has controverted the submissions made by the counsel for the
appellants. It was argued that there was no misreading of evidence and that
the finding recorded by the courts below on facts could not be interfered
with by this Court at this stage of the proceedings. The respondent had no
authority to make a gift of part of the ancestral immovable property and in
any case he could not have gifted the only residential house possessed by the
family.
The two points which arise for consideration in this appeal are:
(i) whether the judgment of the courts below are vitiated because
of the misreading of the evidence of PW-2, the attesting witness
to the settlement deed;
(ii) whether the gift/settlement made by the father in favour of his
married daughters of a reasonable extent of immovable property http://JUDIS.NIC.IN SUPREME COURT OF INDIA Page 3 of 7
out of the Joint Hindu Family property is valid.
The trial court believed the evidence of the respondent and
dismissed the suit. For arriving at this conclusion the trial court held that if
the respondent had the intention of executing a deed of settlement in respect
of the suit property in favour of the appellants, then at least he would have
taken his son Ramasamy for affixing his signatures as a witness to the deed.
Since it was not done the document Exhibit A-1 could not be relied on. The
statement of PW-2 was construed to mean as if he had stated that the
respondent was taken for affixing his signatures as a witness on the date
when the settlement deed, Exhibit A-1 was executed. We have carefully
perused the statements made by PW-2 as well as DW-1 and in our view the
trial court misread and misconstrued the testimony of PW-2. In the course
of cross-examination PW-2 had stated as follows:-
“Only the defendant invited me for signing as witness.
On the way Govindasamy was also invited while he was
found standing there050505.. While going towards the
Sub-Registrar’s office, the Defendant saw and invited me
to sign as witness.”
The trial court in his judgment has misconstrued the above
statement and recorded the following finding:-
“PW-2 had given evidence that the Defendant was taken
for affixing signature as witness on the date when the
deed of settlement exhibit A1 was executed.”
The trial court also held that:-
“If only the Defendant had executed the deed of
settlement in respect of the suit property in favour of his
daughters i.e. the Plaintiffs, he would have atleast taken
his son Ramasamy for affixing his signature as witness.
This factor is also not in consonance with the true nature
and bona fides of exhibit A1.”
Finding recorded by the trial court clearly shows that the court
misread and misconstrued the testimony of PW-2. PW-2 in his deposition
has clearly stated that he was invited by the respondent to be a witness. He
has no where stated that defendant (respondent herein) was taken for
affixing signatures as a witness. If respondent was to be a witness then there
was no need to ask PW-2 and Govindasamy to accompany the respondent or
for them to sign the document. He also deposed that respondent affixed his
signatures on Exhibit A1 after reading the same. That he (himself) has
signed Exhibit A1 as a witness. That he knew the respondent. Suggestion
put to him that signatures of the respondent on Exhibit A1 were obtained by
threat was denied. The trial court did not refer to this part of testimony of
PW-2 at all. The question put to him in the cross- examination which has
been reproduced above wherein PW-2 has stated that the respondent had
invited him for signing as a witness has been read to him as if PW-2 had
stated that the respondent was taken for affixing signatures as a witness to
some documents on the date when the deed of settlement Exhibit A-1 was
executed. This is a clear misreading of the testimony of PW-2. The trial
court also failed to note that the evidence of respondent as DW-1 lacked
total credibility especially in the light of his conduct in denying his signature
on the settlement deed, vakalatnama as well as on the summons served on
him. Projection made by the respondent in his testimony that the appellants
taking advantage of the fact that he was a drunkard got the settlement deed,
Exhibit A-1 signed fraudulently cannot be accepted. Respondent took no
steps to get the settlement deed cancelled though, the appellants had been
living in the house for five years after the execution of the settlement deed.
In his statement he does not say that he did not know about the execution of http://JUDIS.NIC.IN SUPREME COURT OF INDIA Page 4 of 7
the settlement deed. Plea taken by him that he was taken to the SubRegistrar’s office to be a witness to a sale deed by his son-in-law cannot be
accepted as it has not been proved on record that the respondent’s son-in-law
had in fact purchased any house site. Findings recorded by the trial court
and upheld by the First Appellate Court and the High Court based on
misreading of evidence are liable to be set aside. The findings recorded on
misreading of evidence being perverse cannot be sustained in law.
Coming to the second point, the trial court held that since the
property was ancestral in nature, the respondent had no authority/power to
make a gift of a portion of the ancestral property in favour of his daughters.
In appeal the First Appellate Court accepted that the father could give away
a small portion of the ancestral property to his daughters out of the total
holding of the family property but since in this case the total extent of
property owned by the family had not been proved it could not be held that
the property gifted by the father was of a reasonable portion of the total
holding of the family. The High Court affirmed the finding recorded by the
First Appellate Court.
The High Court of Madras in a series of judgments has taken
the view that father could make a gift within reasonable limits of ancestral
immovable property to his daughter as a part of his moral obligation at the
time of her marriage or even thereafter.
In Anivillah Sundararamaya vs. Cherla Seethamma and
others [1911 (21) MLJ 695], it was held that a small portion of the
ancestral immovable property could be given to the daughter at the time of
her marriage or thereafter and such a gift would be a valid gift. In this case
8 acres of ancestral immovable property out of 200 acres of land possessed
by the family were given in gift by the father to his daughter after her
marriage. Upholding the gift it was observed:-
“P. Narayana Murthi for 1st respondent:- The present case is
stronger than Kudutumma v. Narasimhacharyulu, as it is the
father that has given the property and not the brothers. A gift
made to the son-in-law belongs also to the daughter 26 vide
Ghose’s Hindu Law, 2nd Edn., p.313, Footnote. There is a text
of Vyasa to that effect. Se Ghose, p.389, for translation; vide
p.360 also vice versa. A gift to the daughter would belong to
the son-in-law. If it is proper to make gifts at the time of
marriage it would be equally proper if made afterwards.
Though the texts do not require gifts to be made to daughters at
the time of marriage, if made they are not invalid. Churamon
Sahu v. Gopi Sahu referred to, where Mookerji J. approves of
Kudutamma v. Narasimhacharyulu; Bachoo v. Mankuvarhai.
The same view was taken by the Madras High Court in Pugalia
Vettorammal and another vs. Vettor Goundan, [1912 (22) MLJ 321]. In
this case it was held that a father could make gift to a reasonable extent of
the ancestral immovable property to his daughter. Gift made of 1/6th of the
total holding of the ancestral property was held to be a valid. The same view
has later been taken by the Madras High Court in Devalaktuni
Sithamahalakshmamma and others vs. Pamulpati Kotayya and others
[AIR 1936 (Madras) 825] and Karuppa Gounder and others vs.
Palaniammal and others [1963 (1) MLJ 86]. A Full Bench of Punjab &
Haryana High Court in The Commissioner of Gift Tax vs. Tej Nath [1972
PLR (74) 1] and the High Court of Orissa in Tara Sabuani vs. Raghunath
[AIR 1963 Ori. 59] have also taken the same view.
The powers of the father or the managing member of the joint Hindu
family vis-‘-vis coparcenary property have been summarised in paragraphs
225, 226 and 258 of Mulla’s Hindu Law which reads:-
“225. Although sons acquire by birth rights equal to those of a
father in ancestral property both movable and immovable, the http://JUDIS.NIC.IN SUPREME COURT OF INDIA Page 5 of 7
father has the power of making within reasonable limits gifts of
ancestral movable property without the consent of his sons for
the purpose of performing ’indispensable acts of duty, and for
purposes prescribed by texts of law, as gifts through affection,
support of the family, relief from distress and so forth’.
226. A Hindu father or other managing member has power to
make a gift within reasonable limits of ancestral immovable
property for ’pious purposes’. However, the alienation must be
by an act inter vivos and not by will. A member of a joint
family cannot dispose of by will a portion of the property even
for charitable purposes and even if the portion bears a small
proportion to the entire estate. However, now see section 30 of
the Hindu Succession Act, 1956.
258. (1) According to Mitakshara law as applied in all the
States, no coparcener can dispose of his undivided interest in
coparcenary property by gift. Such transaction being void
altogether, there is no estoppel or other kind of personal bar
which precludes the donor from asserting his right to recover
the transferred property. He may, however, make a gift of his
interest with the consent of the other coparceners.
(2) As to disposition by will after the coming into operation of
the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, see section 30 of the Act.”
Combined reading of these paragraphs shows that the position
in Hindu law is that whereas the father has the power to gift ancestral
movables within reasonable limits, he has no such power with regard to the
ancestral immovable property or coparcenary property. He can, however
make a gift within reasonable limits of ancestral immovable property for
“pious purposes”. However, the alienation must be by an act inter vivos,
and not by will. This Court has extended the rule in paragraph 226 and held
that the father was competent to make a gift of immovable property to a
daughter, if the gift is of reasonable extent having regard to the properties
held by the family.
This Court considered the question of extended meaning given
in numerous decisions for “pious purposes” in Kamla Devi vs. Bachulal
Gupta [ 1957 SCR 452]. In the said case a Hindu widow in fulfilment of an
ante-nuptial promise made on the occasion of the settlement of the terms of
marriage of her daughter, executed a registered deed of gift in respect of 4
houses allotted to her share in a partition decree, in favour of her daughter as
her marriage dowry, after two years of her marriage. The partition decree
had given her the right to the income from property but she had no right to
part with the corpus of the property to the prejudice of the reversioners. Her
step sons brought a suit for declaration that the deed of gift was void and
inoperative and could not bind the reversioners. The trial court and the High
Court dismissed the suit holding that the gift was not valid. This Court
accepted the appeal and held that the gift made in favour of the daughter was
valid in law and binding on the reversioners.
This point was again examined in depth by this Court in
Guramma Bhratar Chanbasappa Deshmukh and another vs. Malappa
1964 (4) SCR 497 and it was held:-
“The legal position may be summarized thus: The Hindu law
texts conferred a right upon a daughter or a sister, as the case
may be, to have a share in the family property at the time of
partition. That right was lost by efflux of time. But it became
crystallized into a moral obligation. The father or his
representative can make a valid gift, by way of reasonable
provision for the maintenance of the daughter, regard being had
to the financial and other relevant circumstances of the family.
By custom or by convenience, such gifts are made at the time of
marriage, but the right of the father or his representative to http://JUDIS.NIC.IN SUPREME COURT OF INDIA Page 6 of 7
make such a gift is not confined to the marriage occasion. It is
a moral obligation and it continues to subsist till it is
discharged. Marriage is only a customary occasion for such a
gift. But the obligation can be discharged at any time, either
during the lifetime of the father or thereafter. It is not possible
to lay down a hard and fast rule, prescribing the quantitative
limits of such a gift as that would depend on the facts of each
case and it can only be decided by Courts, regard being had to
the overall picture of the extent of the family estate, the number
of daughters to be provided for and other paramount charges
and other similar circumstances. If the father is within his
rights to make a gift of a reasonable extent of the family
property for the maintenance of a daughter, it cannot be said
that the said gift must be made only by one document or only at
a single point of time. The validity or the reasonableness of a
gift does not depend upon the plurality of documents but on the
power of the father to make a gift and the reasonableness of the
gift so made. If once the power is granted and the
reasonableness of the gift is not disputed, the fact that two gift
deeds were executed instead of one, cannot make the gift
anytheless a valid one.” (Emphasis supplied)
Extended meaning given to the words “pious purposes”
enabling the father to make a gift of ancestral immovable property
within reasonable limits to a daughter has not been extended to the
gifts made in favour of other female members of the family. Rather it
has been held that husband could not make any such gift of ancestral
property to his wife out of affection on the principle of “pious
purposes”. Reference may be made to Ammathayee Ammal &
Another vs. Kumaresan & Others [1967 (1) SCR 353]. It was
observed ’we see no reason to extend the scope of words “pious
purposes” beyond what has already been done in the two decisions of
this Court’ and rejected the contention that a husband could make any
such gift of ancestral property to his wife out of affection on the
principle of pious purposes.
On the authority of the judgements referred to above it can
safely be held that a father can make a gift of ancestral immovable property
within reasonable limits, keeping in view, the total extent of the property
held by the family in favour of his daughter at the time of her marriage or
even long after her marriage.
The only other point, which remains for consideration, is as to
whether a gift made in favour of the appellants was within the reasonable
limits, keeping in view, the total holding of the family. The total property
held by the family was 3.16 acres. 12 cents would be approximately 1/26th
share of the total holding. The share of each daughter would come to 1/52nd
or 1/26th share of the total holding of the family which cannot be held to be
either unreasonable or excessive under any circumstances. Question as to
whether a particular gift is within reasonable limits or not has to be judged
according to the status of the family at the time of making a gift, the extent
of the immovable property owned by the family and the extent of property
gifted. No hard and fast rule prescribing quantitative limits of such a gift
can be laid down. The answer to such a question would vary from family to
family.
This apart, the question of reasonableness or otherwise of the gift
made has to be assessed vis-‘-vis the total value of the property held by the
family. Simply because the gifted property is a house, it cannot be held that
the gift made was not within the reasonable limits. As stated earlier, it
would depend upon a number of factors such as the status of the family, the
total value of the property held by the family and the value of the gifted
property and so on. It is basically a question of fact. However, on facts, if it
is found that the gift was not within reasonable limits, such a gift would not http://JUDIS.NIC.IN SUPREME COURT OF INDIA Page 7 of 7
be upheld. It was for the respondent to plead and prove that the gift made by
the father was excessive or unreasonable, keeping in view, the total holding
of the family. In the absence of any pleadings or proof on these points, it
cannot be held that the gift made in this case was not within the reasonable
limits of the property held by the family. The respondent has failed to plead
and prove that the gift made was to unreasonable extent, keeping in view,
the total holding of the family. The first appellate court and the High Court,
thus, erred in non-suiting the appellants on this account.
For the reasons stated above we accept the appeal, set aside the
judgments and the decrees passed by the courts below. It is held that the
respondent had the capacity to make a gift to a reasonable extent of ancestral
immovable property in favour of his daughters. The gift was not vitiated by
fraud or misrepresentation. The appellants are held to be the absolute
owners of the suit property and the respondent is injuncted from interfering
with the peaceful possession and enjoyment of the suit property by the
appellant perpetually. Parties shall bear their own costs.

 

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