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The Sthanee has an absolute interest in the income of the Sthanam properties or acquisitions

Sampada Sharma ,
  06 June 2020       Share Bookmark

Court :

Brief :
A member of the tarwad has no right to maintenance from out of the Sthanam properties nor can such property be converted into tarwad property by the grant of such maintenance by custom or otherwise or intermingling of the Sthanam properties with the tarwad properties by the Sthanee.
Citation :
Petitioner: Kavalappara Kochuni Respondent: State of Madras Citation: 1960 AIR 1080

HINDU SUCCESSION ACT , 1956 – CASE LAW – Section 17

Kochuni v. State of Madras

Bench: Sinha J., Bhuvneshwar P.(Cj), Imam Syed JafferJ., Sarkar J., Subbarao J., Shah J.

Facts:

  • The petitioner is the holder of the Kavalapparasthanam to which is attached Kavalappara estate. In pre-British times the KavalapparaMoopil Nair, who was the senior most male member of KavalapparaSwaroopam (dynasty), was the ruler of Kavalappara territory. Besides the Rajasthanam, the KavalapparaMoopil Nair held five other sthanams granted by the Raja of Palghat for rendering military services and two other sthanams granted to his ancestors by the Raja of Cochin for rendering similar services. Properties are attached to each of these sthanams.
  • The petitioner's immediate predecessor died in 1925 and as such the sthanee of the properties attached to the various sthanams held by him . Respondents 2 to 17 are the junior members of the Kavalapparatarwad, and, according to the Petitioner, they have no interest in the said properties.
  •  In 1932, the Madras Marumakkathayam Act (Mad. Act XXII of 1932) came into force where under the members of a Malabar tarwad were given a right to enforce partition of tarwad properties or to have them registered as impartable.

Issue: 

Whether  the  impugned Act infringed the fundamental  rights of the petitioners guaranteed by Arts. 4, 19(1)(f) and 31 of the Constitution?

Contentions raised by Respondent:

  • The petitioner's sthanam is an " estate " within the meaning of Art. 31A of the Constitution and therefore the Act extinguishing or modifying the rights pertaining to the said sthanam cannot be questioned on the ground that it infringes Arts. 14, 19 and 31 of the Constitution.
  • The gifts of the sthanam properties by the sthanee in favour of the petitioners in the other two petitions were void and that, therefore, they have no fundamental right to enable them to come to this Court under Art. 32 of the Constitution.

Contentions raised by Petitioner:

  • The impugned Act is constitutionally void, because it offends against Art. 14 of the Constitution.
  •  It is also void because it deprives the sthanee of his fundamental right to hold and dispose of property and thereby offends against Art. 19(1) (f) of the Constitution and is not saved by cl. (5) of Art. 19.
  • The impugned Act is further bad because it has been made by the Legislature not in exercise of its legislative power but in exercise of judicial power.

Held 

  • The word ‘ intermingling’ conveyed only the idea of mere factual mixing up of sthanam properties with tarwad properties. It could not by any known legal notion converted  sthanam propterties into tarwad properties.
  • A member of the tarwad has no right to maintenance from out of the Sthanam properties nor can such property be converted into tarwad property by the grant of such maintenance by custom or otherwise or intermingling of the   Sthanam properties with the tarwad properties by the Sthanee.
 
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Published in Property Law
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