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In the absence of a female member a Tavazhi cannot be continued by male members alone

Sampada Sharma ,
  06 June 2020       Share Bookmark

Court :

Brief :
In the absence of a female member, the Tavazhi must come to an end with no chance of there being a female member to continue the line. The rule of survivorship in such circumstances ceases to operate and the surviving male members, in the absence of a Tavazhi, must inherit the property as tenants in common, and share it equally.
Citation :
Petitioner: T. MadhavaKurup Respondent: T. C. MadhavaKurup Citation: 2006 SC 1941

HINDU SUCCESSION ACT,1056 – CASE LAW – Section 17

T. MadhavaKurup v. T. C. MadhavaKurup

Bench : JJ. B.P. Singh and Arun Kumar

Facts:

  • The VattiyotTavazhi belonged to UmmammaAmma, who had a son Krishnan Nair and a daughter MathuAmma. After the death of UmmammaAmma, the Tavazhi consisted of Krishnan Nair and his sister MathuAmma along with her three sons and a daughter.
  •  Krishnan Nair died in the year 1934. A son and a daughter of MathuAmmapre-deceased her without any issue. The Tavazhi then consisted of MathuAmma with her two sons Balakrishnan Nair and Appa Nair. MathuAmma died in the year 1944 leaving behind her two sons and their heirs. The Tavazhi, therefore, consisted of no female member but only two male members.
  • Balakrishnan Nair died in the year 1950 and Appa Nair, the last surviving member died in the year 1967.
  • The plaintiffs belonging to the branch of Balakrishnan Nair filed a suit for partition against defendents 1 to 4 belonging to the branch of Appa Nair.

Issue:

Whether the suit properties devolved upon the last surviving male owner by survivorship who acquired the same as his absolute property?

Contentions raised by Respondent:

  • In the absence of a female member, the Tavazhi properties became absolute property in the hands of the last surviving male member of the Tavazhi who could dispose it of as he liked. The Tavazhi continued so long as any member of the Tavazhi was alive.
  • In the hands of the last surviving male member of the Tavazhi, the Tavazhi property became his absolute property. If there was no disposition by the last surviving male member, the doctrine of escheat applied.

Contentions raised by Appellant:

  • The appellant submitted that upon the death of the last female member of the Tavazhi, the Tavazhi properties devolved on the surviving male members as co-owners. 
  • The Tavazhi did not consist of any female member, it ceased to exist as a Tavazhi and, therefore, the Tavazhi properties devolved upon the surviving male members by inheritance and not by survivorship.

Held:

In the absence of a female member, the Tavazhi must come to an end with no chance of there being a female member to continue the line. The rule of survivorship in such circumstances ceases to operate and the surviving male members, in the absence of a Tavazhi, must inherit the property as tenants in common, and share it equally.

 
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