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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 … Continue reading

will deed= suspicious circumstances = alterations =Sections 63 and 71 of the Act which have bearing on the decision of the first question read as under: “63. Execution of unprivileged Wills.- Every testator, not being a soldier employed in an expedition or engaged in actual warfare, or an airman so employed or engaged, or a mariner at sea, shall execute his Will according to the following rules:- (a) The testator shall sign or shall affix his mark to the Will, or it shall be signed by some other person in his presence and by his direction.

NON-REPORTABLE IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO. 7548 OF 2002 Dayanandi … Appellant Versus Rukma D. Suvarna and others … Respondents J U D G M E N T G.S. Singhvi, J. 1. This appeal is directed against the judgment of the learned Single Judge of the Karnataka High … Continue reading

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