Hindu Succession; Ramachandran Vs. Radhakrishnan [Kerala High Court, 25-07-2011]

Hindu Succession Act, 1956 – Ss. 8, 15(2)(a) & 16 – Kerala Joint Hindu Family System (Abolition) Act, 1975 – Interpretation of Statutes – When sub section 2(a) makes it clear and gives no room for doubt that only the property inherited by the Hindu female from her father and mother is covered by the exception provided thereunder, it is not possible to widen the ambit of the section by substituting the words father’s side or mother’s side. It would amount to legislating which is impermissible in law.

# Property

# 2011 (3) KLT 741 : 2011 (3) KLJ 683 : ILR 2011 (3) Ker. 879 : 2011 (3) KHC 537


IN THE HIGH COURT OF KERALA

M. SASIDHARAN NAMBIAR, J.

Dated this the 25th day of July, 2011

R.S.A. No. 508 of 2011

For Appellant : V.V. Surendran; P.A. Harish

J U D G M E N T

Appellant is the second defendant in O.S.No.527/2000 on the file of Principal Munsiff Court, Kozhikode, a suit for partition instituted by the Choyikutty, the deceased plaintiff. The plaint schedule properties admittedly originally belonged to Cherukuttikomath Kelu and his brother Kunhikoru @ Appukuttan under registered partition deed 1601/1930. Kelu admittedly died prior to 1956. Kunhikoru died in 1978. Defendants 1, 2 Rugmini and Karthiayani are the children of Kelu. His wife also died. Third defendant is the only son and legal heir of Rugmini who died in 1985. Plaintiff is the husband of Karthiayani. Karthiayani died on 18.3.2000. On the death of first defendant, fourth defendant his wife was impleaded. It is also the admitted case that on the death of Kelu, his one half right in the plaint schedule properties devolved only on his sons, defendants 1 and 2 as they are Thiyyas of Kozhikode and are governed by Makathayam Law of inheritance. The wife of Kunhikoru admittedly predeceased Kunhikoru. As Kunhikoru died subsequent to the commencement of

# The Kerala Joint Hindu Family System (Abolition) Act, 1975

his rights devolved on his legal heirs. According to the plaintiff, on the death of Kunhikoru, his rights devolved on defendants 1, 2, Rugmini and Karthiayani, the children of his deceased brother Kelu and on the death of Karthiayani, who died issueless, her right devolved only on her husband, the plaintiff. Plaintiff sought partition and separation of his share.

2. Defendants 3 and 4 remained absent and were set ex parte. Appellant in his written statement admitted that plaint schedule properties belonged to Kelu and Kunhikoru as per partition deed No. 1601/1930 and they were in joint possession and on the death of Kelu, his rights devolved on defendants 1 and 2 as they are members of Thiyya community of Malabar and only male children will inherit and daughters will not inherit to the estate. It was contended that Karthiayani and Rugmini are not members of the family of Kelu but members of their husband’s family and wife of Kunhikoru pre-deceased him. It was contended that when Kunhikoru died issueless, as per the custom prevailing among the Thiyya community the one half share due to Kunhikoru under Ext.A1 in the plaint schedule properties devolved on defendants 1 and 2 alone and Karthiayani and Rugmini did not inherit the properties and therefore the plaintiff is not entitled to claim any share. It was also contended that in any event husband of Karthiayani is not entitled to claim the share. It was further contended that O.S.668/1991 was filed for partition of the plaint schedule properties before Sub Court, Kozhikode and a preliminary decree was passed on 13.11.1995 allotting equal shares to defendants 1 and 2 and a final decree was also passed on 28.10.1998 and plaintiff and third defendant are not entitled to any share and the suit is only to be dismissed.

3. Learned Munsiff on the evidence of PW1, DW1, Exts.A1 to A3, and B1 to B3 dismissed the suit holding that parties are governed by Mitakshara law and plaint schedule properties are admittedly ancestral property and under

# Section 15(2)(a) of Hindu Succession Act

on the death of a female Hindu dying issueless, the property will devolve only on the relatives of her father and as Karthiayani and Rugmini were not members of the family of Kelu, they are not entitled to any share.

4. Plaintiff challenged the judgment before Additional District Court, Kozhikode in A.S.41/2006. On the death of the original plaintiff, respondents 1 to 9 being his legal heirs were impleaded. In the first appeal son of the second defendant filed an application contending that the second respondent is insane and therefore he is to be appointed the guardian. He was appointed the guardian. Learned Additional District Judge on reappreciation of the evidence found that Kunhikoru died subsequent to the commencement of Kerala Joint Hindu Family System (Abolition) Act, 1975 and hence on his death, his rights devolved on all his legal heirs as provided under the Hindu Succession Act, including the daughters of Kelu namely Karthiayani and Rugmini and on the death of Karthiayani, her right devolved on plaintiff her husband and section 15 (2)(a) of Hindu Succession Act has no application. A preliminary decree was passed. It is challenged in the second appeal.

5. Learned counsel appearing for the appellant was heard.

6. The argument of Mr. P.A. Harish learned counsel is that plaint schedule properties are properties jointly obtained by Cherukutty Komath Kunhi Kelu and his brother Kunhikoru and on the death of Kelu before 1956, his rights devolved only on his sons and his daughters, Karthiayani and Rugmini did not inherit the right. It was argued that though Kunhikoru died after 1975 and on his death his one half right devolved on his legal heirs including Karthiayani, in view of Section 15 (2) (a), on her death her right would devolve not on her husband but on the heirs of her father namely defendants 1 and 2 and therefore plaintiff is not entitled to a share. Learned counsel relying on the decision of the Honourable Supreme Court in

# State of Punjab v. Balwant Singh and other (1992 Supp (3) SCC 108

# V. Dandapani Chettiar v. Balasubramaian Chettiar (2003) 6 SCC 633

and

# S.R. Srinivasa v. S. Padmavathamma (2010) 5 SCC 274

and a learned single Judge of Punjab and Haryana in

# Ajaib Singh v. Sohan Singh, 2003 (2) HLR 244

argued that while considering the question of inheritance of the property of deceased Karthiayani, the source from which she inherited the property is the guiding factor and if that be so, it is clear that she inherited the property from the brother of her father and therefore succession could only be on the heirs of her father, and not on her husband as provided under section 15(2) (a) of the Hindu Succession Act. The argument of Mr. Harish is that as the determining factor to decide the inheritance of a Hindu female is the source of her inheritance and Karthiayani derived her ¼ right over the half right of Kunhikoru, the inheritance is from the brother of her brother and hence as provided under section 15 (2) (a) it would devolve only on the relatives of her father and plaintiff being her husband cannot claim any right in that property and therefore the preliminary decree is not sustainable. Learned counsel submitted that the decision of the High Court of Bombay in

# Balasaheb Anandrao Ghatge v. Jaimala Shaji Raje Angre, AIR 1978 Bombay 44

does not lay down the correct legal position as there was no occasion to consider the subsequent decisions of the Supreme Court. It was also pointed out that as plaintiff also died now the property is claimed by the relatives of the husband of Karthiayani and it is against the express provision under section 15 (2) (a).

7. The fact that Cherukutty Komath Kunhikelu and Kunhikoru who obtained the rights under partition deed 1930 are Thiyyas of North Malabar and as per the law of inheritance applicable to them only the sons would be members of the family and the daughters would be members of their husband’s family are not disputed. On the death of Kelu, his rights admittedly devolved only on his sons. Defendants 1 and 2 hence inherited the one half right of Kelu. The daughters Rugmini and Karthiyani admittedly did not inherit the right of Kelu. But when Koru died in 1978 issueless and the wife predeceased him, in view of the Kerala Joint Hindu Family System (Abolition) Act, 1975 his rights would devolve on all his legal heirs as provided under section 8 of Hindu Succession Act. As Kunhikoru had no class I, II and III heirs, class IV heirs namely brothers son, sisters son, brothers daughter, sisters daughter would inherit his estate. It is nor disputed that Rugmini and Karthiyani the two daughters also inherited the right along with defendants 1 and 2.

8. Karthiayani admittedly died on 18.3.2000 issueless. Plaintiff is her husband. The question is whether on the death of Karthiayani, the property obtained by her as legal heir of Kunhi Koru would devolve on her husband or would go only to the heirs of her father Kelu. Section 15 of the Hindu Succession Act provide general rules of succession in the case of female Hindus. Under sub section (1) the property of a female Hindu dying intestate shall devolve according to the rules set out in section 16 (a) firstly, upon the sons and daughters (including the children of any predeceased son or daughter) and the husband; (b) secondly, upon the heirs of the husband; (c) thirdly, upon the mother and father, (d) fourthly, upon the heirs of the father; and (e) lastly, upon the heirs of the mother. Sub section (2) is an exception to the general rule of succession provided under sub section (1). Sub section (2) reads:-

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub section (1).

(a) any property inherited by a female Hindu from her father or mother shall devolve, in the absence of any son or daughter of the deceased (including the children of any pre-deceased son or daughter), not upon the other heirs referred to in sub section (1) in the order specified therein, but upon the heirs of the father; and

(b) any property inherited by a female Hindu from her husband or from her father-in-law shall devolve, in the absence of any son or daughter of the deceased (including the children of any pre-deceased son or daughter) not upon the other heirs referred to in sub section (1) in the order specified therein, but upon the heirs of the husband.

It is therefore clear that any property inherited by a female Hindu who dies after the commencement of Hindu Succession Act, the order of succession is as provided under sub section (1) of section 15 and sub section (2) carves out two exceptions to that general scheme, if she inherited the property from her father, mother, husband or father-in-law. If she inherited the property from her father or mother, in the absence of any son or daughter of the deceased including the children of predeceased son or daughter, it would devolve only on the heirs of the father and not upon the other heirs provided in sub section (1). Similarly any property inherited by a female Hindu from her husband or from her father-in-law, shall devolve not upon the heirs referred to in sub section (1) but upon the heirs of the husband, if she died leaving behind no son or daughter of the deceased including the children of any predeceased son or daughter. If the plaint schedule properties were properties inherited by Karthiayani from her father, as canvassed by the appellant, plaintiff being her husband cannot claim any right, as the right would devolve only on the heirs of her father. But the properties herein were not inherited by Karthiayani from her father but from the brother of her father. Though O.S.668/1991 was filed by the second defendant against the first defendant and Ext.B1 preliminary decree was passed, and later Ext.B2 final decree was passed in I.A.668/1991, the rights derived by defendants 1 and 2 from Kunhi Koru were neither claimed nor divided thereunder. Therefore if the plaintiff is entitled to succeed to the estate of his wife Karthiayani, plaintiff is definitely entitled to a share.

9. For appreciating the intention of the legislatures in enacting sub section (2) of Section 15 of Hindu Succession Act, it is necessary to appreciate the reason given by the Joint committee to clause (17) of Hindu Succession Bill 1954. It reads:-

“While revising the order of succession among the heirs to a Hindu female, the Joint Committee have provided that properties inherited by her from her father reverts to the family of the father in the absence of issue and similarly property inherited from her husband or father-in-law reverts to the heirs of the husband in the absence of issue. In the opinion of the Joint Committee such a provision would prevent properties passing into the hands of persons to whom justice would demand they should not pass.”

(underline supplied).

It is pertinent to note that what was intended by the Joint Committee is to make a provision to prevent the properties passing into hands of persons to whom justice would demand they should not pass stating that when a Hindu female dies the properties inherited by her from her father reverts to the family of the father, in the absence of issues and the property inherited from her husband or father-in-law reverts to the heirs of the husband. It is clear that the intention was to restrict the inheritance provided under sub section (1) of Section 15 in respect of two types of properties inherited by the Hindu female. (1) inherited by a female Hindu from her father and (2) inherited from her husband or father-in-law. When section 15(2)(a) was enacted, the restriction provided under sub section (2) was further widened in the case of properties inherited by a Hindu female not only from her father but her mother also. It is clear that the Legislatures did not intend to widen it further to the properties inherited from the father’s side or mother’s side. The question therefore is when the property inherited by a Hindu female was not from her father or mother, whether the property would devolve on the heirs of the father as provided under sub section 2(a) of section 15(2) for the reason that the property inherited by the Hindu female, though not from her parents, but was from the relatives of her father.

10. The argument of the learned counsel appearing for the appellant is that as the intention of the Legislatures is to prevent the properties passing into the hands of persons to whom justice would demand they should not pass, when the property was inherited by Karthiayani from the brother of her father, it should not be allowed to pass on to her husband and instead should pass only on the relatives of her father, namely defendants 1 and 2, the brothers of Karthiayani.

11. In Balwant Singh’s case (supra) the Honourable Supreme Court interpreting sub section (2) of Section 15 held:-

“in our opinion, was intended only to change the order of succession specified under sub section (1) and not to eliminate the other classes of heirs. This view finds support from the recommendations of the Joint Committee of two Houses of Parliament which went into the question of the Hindu Succession Bill. The Hindu Succession Bill, 1954 as originally introduced in the Rajya Sabha did not contain any clause corresponding to sub section (2) of Section 15. It came to be incorporated on the recommendations of the Joint Committee of the two Houses of Parliament.”

Quoting the reasons given by the Joint Committee found in clause 14 of the Bill. It was held:-

“The report of the Joint Committee which was accepted by Parliament indicates that sub section (2) of Section 15 was intended to revise the order of succession among the heirs to a Hindu female and to prevent the properties from passing into the hands of persons to whom justice would demand that they should not pass. That means the property should go in the first instance to the heirs of the husband or to the source from where it came.”

12. the question was considered again in Bhagat Ram’s case (supra) and it was held:-

“Even if the female Hindu who is having a limited ownership becomes full owner by virtue of Section 14 (1) of the Act, the rules of succession given under sub-section (2) of section 15 can be applied. In fact, the Hindu Succession Bill, 1954 as originally introduced in the Rajya Sabha did not contain any clause corresponding to sub-section (2) of Section 15. It came to be incorporated on the recommendations of the Joint Committee of the two Houses of Parliament. The reason given by the Joint Committee is found in Clause 17 of the Bill, which reads as follows:

“While revising the order of succession among the heirs to a Hindu female, the Joint Committee have provided that, properties inherited by her from her father reverts to the family of the father in the absence of issue and similarly property inherited from her husband or father-in-law reverts to the heirs of the husband in the absence of issue. In the opinion of the Joint Committee such a provision would prevent properties passing into the hands of persons to whom justice would demand they should not pass.”

13. The source from which she inherits the property is always important and that would govern the situation. Otherwise persons who are not even remotely related to the person who originally held the property would acquire rights to inherit that property. That would defeat the intent and purpose of sub-section (2) of Section 15, which gives a special pattern of succession.”

The Honourable Supreme Court in Dandapani Chettiar’s case (Supra) analyzing sub section (2) of section 15 held:-

9. The above section propounds a definite and uniform scheme of succession to the property of a female Hindu who dies intestate after the commencement of the Act. This section groups the heirs of a female intestate into five categories described as Entries (a) to (e) and specified Sub-s.(1). Two exceptions both of the same nature are engrafted by Sub-s.(2) on the otherwise uniform order of succession prescribed by Sub-s.(1). The two exceptions are that if the female dies without leaving any issue, then (1) in respect of property inherited by her from her father or mother, that property will devolve not according to the order laid down in the five Entries (a) to (e), but upon the heirs of the father, and (2) in respect of property inherited by her from her husband or father-in-law, it will devolve not according to the order laid down in the five Entries (a) to (e) of Sub-s. (1) but upon the heirs of the husband. The two exceptions mentioned above are confined the property ‘inherited’ from the father, mother, husband, and father-in-law of the female Hindu and do not affect property acquired by her by gift or by device under a Will of any of them. The present S.15 has to be read in conjunction with S.16 which evolves a new and uniform order of succession to her property and regulates the manner of its distribution. In other words, the order of succession in case of property inherited by her from her father or mother, it operation is confined to the case of dying without leaving a son, a daughter or a children of any predeceased son or daughter.

10. Sub-section (2) of S.15 carves out an exception in case of a female dying intestate without leaving son, daughter or children of a predeceased son or daughter. In such a case, the rule prescribed is to find out the source from which she has inherited the property. If it is inherited from her father or mother, it would devolve as prescribed under S.15(2)(a). If it is inherited by her from her husband or father-in-law, it would devolve upon the heirs of her husband under S.15(2)(b). The clause enacts that in a case where the property is inherited by a female from her father or mother, it would devolve not upon the other heirs, but upon the heirs of her father. This would mean that if there is no son or daughter including the children of any predeceased son or daughter, then the property would devolve upon the heirs of her father. Result would be if property is inherited by a female from her father or her mother, neither her husband or his heirs would get such property, but it would revert back to the heirs of her father.”

It was later followed in Srinivasa’s case (supra).

13. It is thus clear that source from which the Hindu female inherited the property is relevant and important, as the source would decide whether succession is as provided under sub section (1) or the exception to the general rules provided under sub section (2) of Section 15. The decisions of the Apex Court cannot be interpreted as widening the ambit of sub section 2 so as to include properties not inherited from the father, mother, husband, or father-in-law. Hence the decisions relied on by the learned counsel is not helpful to resolve the dispute. Definitely when the question of inheritance of the properties of a Hindu female is to be decided, the source of her inheritance of the property is necessarily to be ascertained. The source to be looked into is restricted to the sources provided in clause (a) or (b) of sub section (2) of Section 15. The question is whether the properties of the Hindu female were inherited from her father or mother on the one hand and whether from her husband or father-in-law on the other hand. Therefore based on the decisions of the Supreme Court that the source of the inheritance by the Hindu female is to be looked into, it cannot be said that irrespective of the source of inheritance of the property by a Hindu female, the inheritance should be as provided under section 15(2)(a).

14. Sub section (2)(a) is an exception to the general inheritance provided under sub section (1) of section 15. If sub section (2) of section 15 is not there, property of a Hindu female from whatever source she derived it, shall devolve on her heirs as provided under sub section (1). In view of the exception provided under Section 15(2), if the property is inherited by the Hindu female from the sources provided under clause (a) or (b) of Section 15(2), the inheritance cannot be to the legal heirs as under sub section (1), but only as provided under sub section (2). If so appreciated, it cannot be said that the exception provided under clause (a) of Section 15(2) would apply not only to properties inherited by the Hindu female from her father and mother but from anybody on her father’s side or mother’s side. It is true that a learned single Judge of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in Ajaib Singh’s case (Supra), relying on the decision of the Honourable Supreme Court in Bhagat Ram’s case (supra) held that the property when inherited by the Hindu female from the brother of her father, would devolve on the relatives of her father. But I cannot agree with the said decision.

15. If the succession of a property inherited by a Hindu female from the brother of her father or her other relative is to be governed by the special rules of succession provided under sub section 2(a) of section 15, as against the general rules of succession provided under sub section (1) of section 15 of Hindu Succession Act, clause (a) of sub section (2) of Section 15 has to be read as “father’s side or father’s relative or mother’s side or mother’s relative.” When sub section 2(a) makes it clear and gives no room for doubt that only the property inherited by the Hindu female from her father and mother is covered by the exception provided thereunder, it is not possible to widen the ambit of the section by substituting the words father’s side or mother’s side. It would amount to legislating which is impermissible in law. As the properties inherited by Karthiayani from the brother of her father is not covered by the exception provided under sub section 2 (a) of Section 15, her right would devolve only on her husband, the plaintiff as provided under sub section (1) of section 15.

16. The decision of a learned single Judge of the High Court of Bombay in Balwant Singh’s case fortifies the view taken by me. The question considered was whether the Legislatures intended that properties inherited by Hindu female not only from her parents, but from the parents side should also devolve only on the heirs of her father. It was held:-

“7. Firstly, it is a primary rule of construction of a Statute that the words in the statute should be interpreted in their plain, literal and grammatical meaning unless such interpretation leads to absurdity. It is not shown as to how the plain construction of the word ‘father’ in sub-clause (a) of sub-sec. (2) of the said S.15, will in any way lead to a meaningless consequence. Secondly, the specific words used are ‘father’ or ‘mother’. If the Legislature wanted to use the expression ‘father’s side’ or ‘mother’s side’, there was nothing to prevent the Legislature from doing so. In fact if it was the intention of the Legislature to incorporate in the said sub-clause (a), the rules of succession to the properties Inherited from the father’s side, as contended by the applicant, nothing could have been easier than to denote the same by using specifically the words ‘father’s side’ or ‘mother’s side’ instead of using the words ‘father’ or ‘mother’ it therefore appears that the Legislature wanted to confine the rules of succession contained in the said sub-clause only to the property inherited either from father or mother. Thirdly, to accept the interpretation suggested on behalf of the applicant would involve the reading of additional words in the section. In the context in which the said provision is made, such addition is unwarranted. Not only this will amount to legislating, but will also be inconsistent with the intention of the Legislature, which as stated above is against the reading of such additional words. Fourthly, as has been held by this Court in 70 Bom LR 773: (AIR 1969 Bom 205) (supra); the provisions of sub-sec. (2) are an exception to those contained in sub-sec.(1). One of the prominent objects of the said Act is to confer additional rights on the female in the matters of succession to the properties both of her father and of her husband and making her an absolute owner of the property which comes to her hand. In many respects the female has been placed on par with the male under the Act. Unless therefore, a restriction is specifically placed, it will be in tenor with the rest of the provisions of the said Act to hold that the succession to the property of the female is not regulated differently from that to the property of the male. Thus viewed, the restrictions contained in sub-sec.(2), to the general rules of succession to the property contained in sub-sec. (1), will have to be construed very strictly and the deviation from the general rules contained in sub-sec. (1) should not be accepted unless such a deviation found mention in specific language. To accept the applicant’s contention will be to depart from this rule by reading additional words in the Statute. This is yet another reason for rejecting the interpretation put on behalf of the applicant. Fifthly, yet another consideration which weighs with me in rejecting the interpretation placed by the applicant is the fact that even in sub-c1.(b) of sub-sec.(2), the words used are not ‘husband’s side’, but again the words used are ‘husband’ or father-in-law’. If, as contended on behalf of the applicant, the scheme of sub-clauses (a) and (b) was to lay down rules for succession to property inherited from the ‘father’s side’ or ‘husband’s side’ there is no reason why even in sub-clause (b) the Legislature should have used only the two words ‘husband’ and ‘father-in-law’ instead of the expression ‘husband’s side’ which would not have necessitated the use of the further word ‘father-in-law’. It is therefore apparent that the intention of the Legislature was not to make distinction between the properties inherited from the father’s side and the husband’s side, but to lay down a rule of succession for properties inherited from specific persons viz. father or mother, husband or father-in-law. Lastly, to accept the applicant’s contention would mean that in every case, the inquiry will have to extend beyond the immediate person from whom the female has inherited the property and a search will have to be embarked upon to trace the origin of the said property. That seems to be farthest from the mind of the Legislature. As in the present case, the inheritance by Gojakkabai, although it is immediately from her brother Bhavanji Raje, will have to be ignored and the origin of this inheritance even in the hand of Bhavanji Raje himself will have to be inquired into. The contention advanced on behalf of the applicant was that although Gojakkabai had inherited the property from Bhavanji Raje who was her brother, Bhavanji Raje himself had inherited the original watan from his father and hence it should be held that it would be governed by the provisions of sub-c1.(a) of sub-sec.(2) of the said S.15. Thus not only for the purpose of holding in favour of the applicant it will have to be held that the property inherited from the brother should be deemed to have been inherited from the person from whom the brother himself had inherited, but also as stated above, the word ‘father’ will have to be deemed to include brother, he being from the father’s side. I do not think that on a plain reading of the section itself, the Legislature intended that the inheritance by the female from other than her immediate predecessor-in-title should be taken into account for the purposes of the said sub-sec.(2).”

As held by His Lordship, if the intention of the Legislature is to incorporate exception to the general rule of succession provided under sub section (1), in respect of properties inherited by the female Hindu from any source including the father’s side, mother’s side or husband’s side they would have specifically provided in clause (a) that any property inherited by female Hindu from her father’s side or mother’s side shall devolve in the absence of any son or daughter of the deceased including the children of the predeceased son or daughter not upon the heirs referred to in sub section (1), but upon the heirs of the husband. Therefore I cannot accept the submission of the learned counsel that on the death of Karthiayani her right would devolve only on the relatives of her father as provided under section 15(2)(a) and not on her husband as provided under section 15(1).

17. The property was jointly allotted to the share of Cherukuttikomath Kelu and Kunhikoru under Ext.A1 partition deed of 1930. Kunhikoru was having half right and Kelu the remaining half. On the death of Kelu, even according to appellant, his half right devolved only on defendants 1 and 2. On the death of Kunhikoru, his half right would devolve upon his heirs including defendant 1 and 2, Karthiayani and Rugmini. By the preliminary decree the entire plaint schedule properties were directed to be divided into 12 shares and allotment of one share to the plaintiff. Though they are the same properties divided under Ext.B2 decree, the legal heirs of Rugmini or Kathiayani were not parties to the said suit. Hence the said decree is not valid and binding on them. Under the preliminary decree, learned Additional District Judge directed partition of the entire properties into 12 shares and allotment of one such share to the plaintiff. As the plaintiff is entitled to get ¼ of the one half right of Kunhikoru, I find no substantial question of law involved in the appeal. It is dismissed.

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