Hindu Widow Has Absolute Ownership Of The Property She Is Being Maintained Out Of: SC
- In Munni Devi alias Nathi Devi vs Rajendra alias Lallu Lal the Hon’ble Apex Court has observed that in view of a Hindu widow’s right to maintenance and by virtue of section 14(1) of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 she is entitled to absolute ownership of the property that she is being maintained out of.
- The Court also observed that is was by virtue of section 14(1) of the Act that a Hindu widow’s limited interest gets automatically enlarged into an absolute right, whether such property is possessed by her either before or after the commencement of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 in lieu of her right to maintenance.
- In the instant case, the respondent was a widow who was in exclusive possession of the property since 1953. It was the case of the applicant that after the death of his ancestor, being the sole surviving male member of the family, as well as the legatee under the will of the deceased, he was the sole owner of the property and thus, he alleged that the respondent was living in that property without any legal interest or right in the same.
- The respondent, on the other hand, contended that she was maintaining herself from the income arising from the property. She also submitted that the limited interest that she had in the property had enlarged into full ownership by virtue of section 14(1) of the Hindu Succession Act.
- While the will claimed to have been executed in favour of the applicant made no mention of the suit property, there was no documentary evidence of the will which showed that the property was bequeathed to the respondent.
- The trial Court had ruled in favour of the respondent, but the Rajasthan HC had overturned the trial Court’s decision and had held that the widow had an absolute right over the property in lieu of the maintenance which she was receiving from the same. Aggrieved, the appellant/respondent approached the Supreme Court.
- It is important to note that section 14 of the Hindu Succession Act clearly states that any property possessed by a female Hindu, whether acquired before or after the commencement of the Act, will be held by her as full owner and not as limited owner. Subsection 2 clearly states that such property would include property acquired by a female Hindu widow in lieu of maintenance or arrears of maintenance.
- The Court relied upon the case of V. Tulasamma and ors vs Sesha Reddy and Raghubar Singh vs Gulab Singh and ors (1998) SCC and observed that the claim of a Hindu widow to be maintained is not an empty formality which is to be exercised as a matter of concession or indulgence, grace or generosity, but is a valuable spiritual and moral right which flows from the relationship of husband and wife.
- The Court further observed that in the case at hand, the respondent’s pre-existing right to maintenance, coupled with her settled legal possession of the property, would be sufficient to raise a presumption that she had a claim in the property, even though no document was executed or any specific charge was created in her favour.
- Thus, the appeal was dismissed and the decision of the Hon’ble HC was upheld.
In Criminal Cases, Prosecution Shall Furnish List Of Statements, Documents, Material Objects And Exhibits Not Relied Upon By IO: Supreme Court
- In Manoj vs State of Madhya Pradesh the Hon’ble Apex Court has observed that the prosecution in all criminal cases, shall furnish the list of statements, documents and exhibits which are not relied upon by the Investigating Officer (IO).
- The Court went on to observe that the role of the public prosecutor is intrinsically dedicated to ensuring the occurrence of a fair trial and not for a thirst to reach the case in conviction.
- The instant appeal had been filed by persons convicted under section 302 IPC. They were awarded capital punishment by the trial Court, which was later affirmed by the HC. Aggrieved, the present appeal was filed.
- While pursuing the evidence on record, the Apex Court observed that the testimony of one police officer did not support the prosecution’s version of events and she had contradicted herself in her chief and cross examinations.
- The Court thus observed that the Public Prosecutors appointed under section 24 of CrPC are an independent statutory authority who serve as officers of the Court. Their role is dedicated to conducting a fair trial and not for a thirst to reach a case for conviction.
- The Court referred to the decision in Siddharth Vashisht vs State of NCT Delhi (2010) SCC wherein it was observed that a Public Prosecutor has a wider set of duties than to mainly ensure that the accused is punished, the duties of ensuring a fair play in the proceedings, all relevant factors are brought before the Court in order for the determination of the truth and justice for all the parties including the victims.
- It was in this case that the Court went on to elaborate on the due process protection afforded to the accused and its effect on the responsibility of fair disclosure of the Public Prosecutor. It was observed that the constitutional mandate and the statutory rights given to the accused place an implied obligation upon the prosecution to make a fair disclosure. The concept of fair disclosure would take in its ambit furnishing of a document which the prosecution relied upon, whether filed in Court or not.
- In view of the same, the Court held that the prosecution, in interest of fairness, must as a rule, in all criminal trials, comply with the same and furnish the list of statements, documents, material objects and exhibits which are not relied upon by the Investigating Officer.
Ex-Personnel Of Armed Forces Re-employed In Gov. Services Not Entitled To Pay At Par With Last Drawn Pay: SC
- In Union of India vs Anil Prasad the Hon’ble Apex Court has held that an Armed Forces employee on re-employment in a Government Service is not entitled to a pay scale at par with his last drawn pay in Armed forces.
- The petitioner before the Delhi HC was a retired Armed Force personnel who was discharged from service on 15-07-2007. Later he was employed as an Assistant Commandant (Medical Officer) in CRPF, on a pay scale of Rs. 15600 - 39100 with a grade pay of Rs. 5400. The petitioner argued that on the date of his discharge from the Indian Army, he was drawing a pay of Rs. 28340 with a grade pay of Rs. 6600.
- He argued that the same was entitled to be protected in terms of Para 8 of the Central Civil Services (fixation of Pay of Re-employment Pensioners) Order, 1986.
- The HC allowed the writ petition and held that upon re-employment in a government service, the petitioner being a retired Armed Force personnel would be entitled to his last drawn basic pay.
- Aggrieved by this order, the Union of India filed an appeal before the Apex Court. The main question which arose for consideration was whether on re-employment in the government service, an employee who was serving in the Indian Army shall be entitled to a pay scale at par with his last drawn pay.
- The Apex Court observed that the reference to the last drawn pay in the Armed Forces is only to ensure that the pay computed in the civil post in the manner envisaged in para 8 of the CCS Order does not exceed the basic pay last drawn by the personnel in the Armed Forces. For instance, if the minimum of the scale attached to the civil post exceeds the last drawn pay of the personnel in the Armed Forces, then the last drawn pay of the Armed Forces can be paid.
- Thus, holding that the pay scale fixed for the government employee was absolutely in consonance with para 8 of the CCS Order, 1986, the appeal was allowed and the order of the Hon’ble HC was hence, quashed.