Case: Pannalal vs Mst. Naraini
Citation: AIR 170, 1952 SCR 544
Date of Judgement: 07-03-1952
Parties Involved: Pannalal and Mst. Naraini
On 30-9-1925 Baldev Das, the father of the appellants, who was, at that time the manager of a joint Hindu family, consisting of himself and his sons, executed a mortgage bond in favor of Mt. Naraini, the original respondent 1, and another person named Talok Chand, by which certain movable properties belonging to the joint family were hypothecated to secure a loan of Rs. 16,000. On 16-4-1928 the appellants along with a minor brother of theirs named Sumer Chand filed a suit in the Court of the Subordinate Judge of Shahjahanpur against their father Baldev Das for partition of the joint family properties. The suit culminated in a final decree for partition on 20-7-1928 and the joint family properties were divided by metes and bounds and separate possession was taken by the father and the sons.
On 29-9-1934, Mt. Naraini filed a suit in the Court of the Senior Subordinate Judge, Ambala, against Baldev Das for recovery of a sum of Rs.12,500 only based on the mortgage bond referred to above. It was stated in the plaint that the money was borrowed by the defendant as manager of a joint Hindu family and the plaintiff prayed for a decree against the mortgaged property as well as against the joint family.
On 18-12-1934, an application was made before the Subordinate Judge under praying that they might be added as parties’ defendants to the suit and he points in issue arising therein might be decided in their presence. It was asserted in the petition that Baldev Das was not the manager of a joint family and that the family properties had been partitioned by a decree of the Court, as a result of which the properties alleged to be the subject matter of the mortgage were allotted to the share of the petitioners. In reply to this petition, the plaintiff’s counsel stated in Court that his client would give up the claim for a mortgage decree against the properties in the suit and would be satisfied only with a money decree against Baldev Das personally. The plaint was amended accordingly, deleting all references to the joint family and abandoning the claim against the mortgaged property. Upon this, the appellants withdrew their application for being made parties to the suit and reserved their right to take proper legal action if and when necessary.
On 17-4-1935, Baldev Das died and on 2nd September following the appellants as well as their mother, who figures as respondent 5 in this appeal, were brought on the record as legal representatives of Baldev Das. On 9-10-1935, the appellants filed a written statement in which several pleas were taken in answer to the plaintiff’s claim and it was asserted in para 10 of the written statement that Baldev Das dealt in Badra or speculative transactions and if any money was due to the plaintiff at all in connection with such transactions the debt was illegal and immoral and not binding on the family property.
Whether the sons are legally liable to pay the decretal debt due by their father?
The court held that the separate share of the sons which they obtained on partition was liable under the Hindu Law for the pre-partition debt of their father if it was not immoral and under Section 5 of Civil Procedure Code, the decree-holder was entitled to execute the decree against such properties.
The father’s power of alienating the family property for payment of his just debts may be one of the consequences of the pious obligation which the Hindu law imposed upon the sons, or it may be one of the means of enforcing it, but it is certainly not the measure of the entire obligation.