//
archives

margazhi

This tag is associated with 1 post

Deeds and Documents – Deed executed in respect of suit property – Will or Settlement Deed – Held: The form or nomenclature of the deed is not conclusive – Court has to very carefully examine the document as a whole, look into the substance thereof, treatment of the subject by settlor/ executant, intention appearing both by the expressed language employed in the document and by necessary implication and prohibition, if any, contained against revocation thereof – On facts, by executing the deed in question, the original owner expressed his intention, in no uncertain terms, to settle the suit property in favour of 16 persons, in praesenti – The language of the deed clearly shows that all the beneficiaries were to enjoy the property along with original owner during his lifetime and after his death, each of the beneficiaries was to get a specified share – In the concluding portion of the deed, the original owner also made it clear that he will have no right to cancel the Deed for any reason whatsoever or to alter the terms thereof – Read as a whole, it is clear that the deed in question was a `Settlement Deed’ and not a `Will’. Transfer of Property Act, 1882 – ss.19 and 21 – “Vested interest” and “contingent interest” – Difference between – Discussed. The original owner of the suit property executed document Ex. A-2, titled and described as “Settlement Deed”, in favour of the appellant, respondent nos.1 and 2, and 13 others i.e. in total 16 beneficiaries. After the death of the original owner, the appellant filed suit for partition of his share in the suit property. Respondent nos.1 and 2 filed written statement contending that the appellant obtained the `Settlement Deed’ by playing fraud, and on discovery thereof, the original owner executed `Revocation Deed’ Ex. B-2 and then executed a `Will’ Ex. B-3 whereby he bequeathed the property in their favour. The trial Court passed preliminary decree in favour of appellant holding that Ex. A-2 was “Settlement Deed” and the same was not executed as a result of fraud or misrepresentation and that the settlor did not have the right to execute `Revocation Deed’ Ex. B-2 and `Will’ Ex. B-3. The judgment was upheld by the first appellate court. On second appeal, the High Court held that even though Ex.A-2 was titled and described as `Settlement Deed’, in reality it was a `Will’ and that the appellant had no right in the suit property because the settlor had bequeathed the same in favour of respondent Nos.1 and 2. In appeal to this Court, it was contended by the appellant that the High Court misinterpreted Ex.A-2 as a `Will’ ignoring the specific stipulation contained therein that it was a `Settlement Deed’. With reference to s.19 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882, it was contended that the transfer of the property rights was in praesenti, which coupled with an unequivocal inhibition in Ex.A-2 against cancellation/amendment thereof, clearly shows that Ex.A-2 was a `Settlement Deed’ and not a `Will’. =Allowing the appeal, the Court HELD: 1.1. Sections 19 and 21 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 elucidate the expressions “vested interest” and “contingent interest” in the context of transfer of property. A reading of the plain language of the above sections makes it clear that an interest can be said to be a vested interest where there is immediate right of present enjoyment or a present right for future enjoyment. An interest can be said to be contingent if the right of enjoyment is made dependent upon some event which may or may not happen. On the happening of the event, a contingent interest becomes a vested interest. [Para 10] [412-G; 413-H; 414-A-B] 1.2. Although, no strait-jacket formula has been evolved, while interpreting an instrument to find out whether it is of a testamentary character, which will take effect after the life time of the executant or it is an instrument creating a vested interest in praesenti in favour of a person, the Court has to very carefully examine the document as a whole, look into the substance thereof, the treatment of the subject by the settlor/ executant, the intention appearing both by the expressed language employed in the instrument and by necessary implication and the prohibition, if any, contained against revocation thereof. The form or nomenclature of the instrument is not conclusive and the Court is required to look into the substance thereof. [Para 13] [418-G-H; 419-A-B] 1.3. A careful reading of Ex.A-2 shows that in the title itself the document has been described as Settlement Deed. By executing that document, the original owner expressed his intention, in no uncertain terms, to settle the property in favour of 16 persons who were none else than his own relatives and declared that `from this day onwards I and you shall enjoy the land and house without creating any encumbrance or making any alienation whatsoever.’ This was an unequivocal creation of right in favour of 16 persons in praesenti. Though, the beneficiaries were to become absolute owners of their respective shares after the death of the settlor, the language of the document clearly shows that all of them were to enjoy the property along with settlor during his lifetime and after his death, each of the beneficiaries was to get a specified share. In the concluding portion, the settlor made it clear that he will have no right to cancel the Settlement Deed for any reason whatsoever or to alter the terms thereof. The mere fact that beneficiary Nos. 1 and 2 and after them their heirs were to receive honours at the temple or that shares were to be divided after disposal of the property cannot lead to an inference that Ex.A-2 was a `Will’. If Ex.A-2 is read as a whole, it becomes clear that it was a `Settlement Deed’ and the trial Court and the lower appellate Court did not commit any error by recording a finding to that effect. As a sequel to this, it must be held that the High Court committed serious error by setting aside the concurrent judgments and decrees of the two courts. [Para 21] [427-F-H; 428-A-D] 1.4. Although, in their written statement respondent Nos.1 and 2 did plead that Ex. A-2 was executed by the original owner due to fraud or misrepresentation, no evidence was led by them to substantiate that allegation. Therefore, no valid ground or justification was found to entertain that plea. [Para 23] [428-E-F] Sagar Chandra Mandal v. Digamber Mandal and others (1909) 9 CLJ 644; Ramaswami Naidu and another v. Gopalakrishna Naidu and others AIR 1978 Madras 54; Ponnuchami Servai v. Balasubramanian and others AIR 1982 Madras 281 and Poongavanam v. Perumal Pillai and another (1997) 1 MLJ 169, distinguished. Rajes Kanta Roy v. Santi Debi 1957 SCR 77; Usha Subbarao v. B.N. Vishveswaraiah (1996) 5 SCC 201 and Kokilambal v. N. Raman (2005) 11 SCC 234, relied on. A. Sreenivasa Pai and another v. Saraswathi Ammal alias G. Kamala Bai (1985) 4 SCC 85; Namburi Basava Subrahmanyam v. Alapati Hymavathi and others (1996) 9 SCC 388; Gangaraju v. Pendyala Somanna AIR 1927 Madras 197; Venkatasubramaniya Iyer v. Srinivasa Iyer AIR 1929 Madras 670 and Ramaswami Naidu v. M.S. Velappan and others (1979) 2 M.L.J.88, referred to. Vynior’s case Trin 7 Jac. 1Rot. 2629, (English Reports, Vol. LXXVII, Kings Bench Division VI), referred to. Case Law Reference: 1957 SCR 77 relied on Para 7 (1985) 4 SCC 85 referred to Para 7 (1996) 9 SCC 388 referred to Para 7 AIR 1927 Madras 197 referred to Para 7 AIR 1929 Madras 670 referred to Para 7 Vynior’s case Trin referred to Para 8 7 Jac. 1 Rot. 2629 (English Reports, Vol. LXXVII, Kings Bench Division VI) (1909) 9 CLJ 644 distinguished Para 8 AIR 1978 Madras 54 distinguished Para 8 AIR 1982 Madras 281 distinguished Para 8 (1997) 1 MLJ 169 distinguished Para 8 (1996) 5 SCC 201 relied on Para 12 (2005) 11 SCC 234 relied on Para 12 CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION : Civil Appeal No. 6412 of 2002. From the Judgment & Order dated 27.2.2001 of the High Court of Judicautre at Madras in S.A. No. 1090 of 1983. R. Sundaravaradhan T.R.B. Sivakumar, K.V. Vijayakumar for the Appellant. M.S. Ganesh, R. Ayyam Perumal, K. Seshachary, V.N. Raghupathy for the Respondents.

REPORTABLE IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION CIVIL APPEAL NO.6412 OF 2002 P.K. Mohan Ram ……Appellant Versus B.N. Ananthachary and others ……Respondents JUDGMENT G.S. Singhvi, J. 1. This is an appeal for setting aside judgment dated 27.2.2001 passed by the learned Single Judge of Madras High Court in Second Appeal No. 1090/1983 … Continue reading

Blog Stats

  • 2,897,032 hits

ADVOCATE MMMOHAN

archieves

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 1,907 other followers
Follow advocatemmmohan on WordPress.com