Write short note on the following- 1. Antecedent Debt, 2. Stridhan, 3. Rule of Damdupat, 4. Maintenance `Pendente Lite’ & Expenses of Proceedings, 5. Obstructed & Unobstructed Heritages, 6. Debutter Property, 7. Full Blood, Half Blood, Uterine Blood 8. Impartible Estate.

Ans. 1. Antecedent Debt—Antecedent literally means prior of preceding in point of ti me, but the words ‘antecedent debt’, as used in Hindu Law implies two things i.e

(i) antecedent in point of time and

(ii) antecedent in fact or in nature, that is to say, the debt must be truly independent of and not part of transaction impeached. The importance of ‘antecedent debt’ lies in the fact that the father if Hindu joint family property including the son’s interest therein to discharge antecedent debt, i.e., a debt which has been contracted prior to such sale or alienation both in point of fact and time. That is to say, the debt must be truly independent of and riot part of the transaction impeached. A sale of joint family property, which is made to discharge a debt taken at the very time or as a part of the sale transaction is not valid because the debt in this case is not an antecedent debt.

According to D. F. Mulla, “To constitute a debt an ‘antecedent’ debt it is not necessary that the prior and subsequent creditors should be different persons. All that is necessary is that the two transactions must be dissociated in time as well as in fact.”

For Example—The father of a joint family borrows Rs. 2,000/— from C for his own use. Subsequently, he executes a mortgage of joint Hindu family property to C to secure the debt. It is not proved that the money borrowed was used by the father for immoral purposes. The mortgage binds not only the father’s but also his son’s interest in the property. Here the debt is antecedent of the mortgage in fact as well as in time.

Alienation by Father—The father of a joint family may sell or mortgage the joint family, property including the son’s interest in the property to discharge a debt contracted by him for his own personal benefit but it should, however, be noted that in order to make an alienation valid the following two conditions should, be satisfied—

(a) The debt for which alienation is made must be antecedent in time.

(b) The debt must’not have been taken for an illegal or immoral purpose. Where a suit for partition, separate possession and setting aside the alienation made by their father is decreed in favour of sons, the sons would not be liable to pay to the alienee their share of consideration received by the father as it would be a debt falling due to the father subsequent to the partilion. 

2. (Stridhana) Property which maybe owned by a woman is divisible into two parts —

I. Property of which she is the ‘absolute owner’ called Stridhana and

2. Property of which she is the ‘limited owner called women’s estate.

Meaning of `Stridhana’ — The word Stridhana is derived from Stri (woman) and Dhana (property). In this way Stridhana etymologically means women’s property. But it will be clear from the examination of various lexis that the term Stridhana is not used in its etymological sense but it has a technical meaning. As decided in the case of Raj amma Vs. Nkridarajula Chetti, A.1.R 1957, Mad. 198, gift to Hindu woman before marriage or marriage gifts or post nuptial gift constitute Stridhana, meaning woman’s property.

Stridhana According to Sinriti Writers—The Smriti writers did not use the term Stridhana in its etymological sense as comprising any kind of property possessed by a woman nor do they define what is meant by the term. They simply enumerate certain kinds of property, as constituting Stridhana. Thus, Manu mentions the following six kinds of properties as Stridhana-

1. Adhyagni or gifts made before the nuptial fire;

2. Adhvavhanika or gifts made at the bridal procession;

3. Pitridatta or gifts made through affection by the father-in-law, and mother-in-laW, and Padovandanika or gifts made at the time of making obeisance at the feet of elders just after marriage;

4. Gifts made by the father;

5. Gifts made by the mother; and

6. Gifts made by the brother. To this List, Vishnu adds;

7. Adhivedanika or gifts made to a wjfe on supersession i.e., at the time of taking another wife;.

8. Gifts made subsequent to the marriage by her husband’s relations and paternal relations;

9. Shulka or the fee for which a girl is given in marriage; and

10. Gifts from sons and relations.Devata mentions one more, viz.

11. Food and vesture;

12. According to all the Smriti writers ornaments given by husband are Stridhana property. According to Yajnavalkya ‘What was given to a woman by the father, the mother, husband, or a brother, or received by her before the nuptial fire, or presented to her on supersession, and the rest (Adya), is denominated Stridhana.

3. Rule of Damdupat—The rule of Damdupat is a rule of Hindu law of debt according to which the interest recoverable upon a debt at any one time cannot exceed the principal. Where a part of the debt is paid, the principal for the purpose of the rule of Damdupat is the balance of the principal remaining due at the time when the interest claimed in the suit accrued. But according to the rule of Damdupat there is no bar on the capitalisation of the interest in arrears by a subsequent fresh agreement. According to S:34 C.P.C. the rule ceases to operate on the institution of a suit to recover the loan. The Supreme Court in Nahum C’hand V.s. Fulchand, Ai R. 1965, S.C. 1692, observed, “the rule of Damdupat was evolved both as an inducement to the debtor to pay the entire principal and interest thereon at one and the same time in order to save interest in excess of the principal and as warning to the creditor to take effective steps for realising the debt from the borrower within reasonable time so that there be no such accumulation of interest as would be in excess of the principal amount due as in that case he would have to forego the excess amount.”

Places to which the Rule Applies —The rule of Damdupat applies in the Bombay State, town of Calcutta, and Sanihal parganas, Gujarat, Berar, part of Mysore State, and any part of Madhya Pradesh.

Persons to whom Rule Applies— According to Calcutta High court , the rule applies only where both the original contracting parties are Hindus. But according to Bombay High Court, all that is necessary is dot the original debtor should be a Hindu. Where, however, the interest has accumulated and enlarged the principal and subsequently the debt is transferred to a Mohammedan, the rule of Damdupat will cease to ore at; from the date of the assignment.

Transactions to Which the Rule Applies—The following are the transactions to which the rule applies—

(i) The secured as well as unsecured debts;

(ii) The debts on mortgage with possession. .

But in case of a mortgagee with possession the rule does not apply if the mortgagee is under liability to account for the rents and profits received by him from the mortgaged property. The rule does not apply in those cases when the suit for the recovery of the debt has been filed. The rule will,apply until’ the date of filing of the suit not there after. The court can grant any amount for the interim period. The rule also does not apply for the period during which the proceeding of the execution of a decree continues. It also does not apply to the case where the amount of debt is not determined.

4. Maintenance `Pendente Lite’ and Expenses of Proceedings—S. 24 makes provision for grant of maintenance pendente lite and expenses of proceedings to either spouse S.25 contains similar provisions regarding payment of permanent alimony and maintenance. The provision of maintenance pendente lite in favour of a needy spouse applies irrespective of whether such spouse appeared as the initiator of the main proceeding or not. Once an order is passed under S.24, no matter what happens to the petitioner thereafter, the liability to pay maintenance and expenses of the litigation in respect of the period during which the proceedings were pending cannot be avoided. Under this section, the order for the interim relief can be passed in any proceedings under the Act and Court cannot defer decision on the issue till disposal of the main issue of nullity of marriage on the ground of deception or fraud. Subsequent dismissal of petition does not affect the liability already incurred. In deciding the question of maintenance pendente lite the only issue to be considered is whether the claimant is or is not in a position to maintain herself or himself. That there is an accusation of adultery or any other matrimonial offence against the claimant is of no consequence. As to the question from which date maintenance would be effective, in Nalini Vs. Vela, Kera! High Court held that there is no legal impediment in directing that maintenance should be paid from the date of service of summons in the main petition. Postponement of the effective date would be to put the spouse already in a disadvantageous position, in a more disadvantageous position.

Object and Scope of S.24—The object of S. 24 is to ensure that a party to a proceeding does not suffer during the pendency of the proceeding by reason of his or her poverty. The party standing in need of such relief may be either party. There is.no reason why the Parliament should try to make a distinction when the needy party is the petitioner who made the original petition, and the person requiring interim relief is the respondent. The fact that under S. 24 relief can be granted to.both the wife and the husband indicates that the Legislature intended to make no such distinction. Therefore, it would not be reasonable to confine’the relief under this section only to the party, who had initiated the original proceeding before the court. So long as the marriage is subsisting the Spouse cannot get any maintenance under the Act. In Chitra Lekha Vs. Rattjit Rai, A.I.R. 1977, Del. 176, it has been laid down that the object behind S.24 is to provide financial assistance to the indigent spouse to maintain herself (or himself) during the pendency of the proceedings and also to have sufficient funds to defend or carry on the litigation so that the spouse does not unduly suffer in the conduct of tfie case for wants of funds.

5. ‘Obstructed’ and ‘Unobstructed’ Heritages—The Mitakshara divides property into two classes, namely Sapratibandha Daya—Obstructed heritage and Apratibandha Daya Unobstructed heritage. Joint family or ancestral property in which, the male issues, i.e., sons, grandsons and greatgrand sons acquire an interest by birth is called ‘Apratibandha’ or ‘Unobstructed heritage’ while separate or self acquired property of a person in which no right is acquired by birth, but such right is acquired only on the death of the last owner is called `Sapratibandha Daya’ or `obstructed heritage’.

Obstructed Heritage—The property to which right accrues not by birth but on the death of last owner is called obstructed heritage. It is called obstructed because the accrual of right to it is obstructed by the existence of the last owner. Thus, the property devolving on parents, brothers, nephews, uncles etc. upon the death of last owner, is obstructed heritage. These relatives do not have any vested interest by birth. Their right to it arises only on the death of the last owner. In this way any property inherited by a male Hindu from relations other than father, father’s father and father’s father’s father would be called obstructed heritage.

For Example—A inherited certain property from his brother who died issueless. The inherited property in the hands of A will be an obstructed heritage foi the sons of A. The sons of A will inherit the property from A only after his death.

Unobstructed Heritage— The property in which a person acquires interesting by birth is called unobstructed heritage. It is called unobstructed because the accrual of the right to it not obstructed by the existence of the owner. Thus, property inherited by a Hindu from his father, father’s father and father s other’s father is unobstructed heritage as regards his own male issues, that is, his sons, son’s son and son’s son’s son. This right arises or, account of their birth in the family and the male descendants in whom the property vests, are called coparceners. Thus, the ancestral property in the hands of last male owner is unobstructed heritage. For Example—A inherited certain property from his father two sons born to A, namely M and N are coparceners with A. M and N will acquire an interest by birth in the ancestral property possessed by A. Thus, the property in the hands of A is unobstructed heritage, as the existence of the father is no obstruction or impediment to his sons acquiring an interest by birth in the property.

6. Debutter Property— The term `debutter’ literally means `belonging to deity’. In Hindu Law, technically’debutter property’ means a propert) dedicated to religious uses. Thus, debutter property’ is a kind of endowment.

Features of the Debutter Property—

The following are the important features of a debutter property-

1. Freedom from Perpetuities— The most prominent characteristics of a religious or charitable endowment is its freedom from the rule of perpetuities.

2. Superstitious Uses—Superstitious uses are not forbidden. Dedication of property to an idol, although void under English Law, is valid under Hindu law.

3. Trust Irrevocable —A trust for religious purposes if once lawfully created and complete is irrevocable. If the trust fails, it will be appropriated to an object of a similar character according to the doctrine of Cypres.

4. Setting Schemes —Where the settlor, having expressed a clear intention to create a trust has failed to indicate the means by which the trust is to be carried out or where for other reasons it is necessary to do so the court will settle a scheme for the management of a religious or charitable endowment.

7. Full Blood, Half Blood, Uterine Blood–The question of relationship subsisting between the parties to a marriage i.e., whether it is full blood or half-blood, becomes relevant when dealing with the restrictions arising from Sapinda relation and degrees of prohibited relationship because there are certain imperative prohibitions in the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955. Relationship between parties by full blood or half-blood may bring the parties within these imperative bars and render a marriage between them absolutely void.

Full Blood–Two persons are said to be related to each other by full blood when they are descended from a common ancestor by the same wife. It means where father and mother of two persons are the same.

Half Blood–Two persons are said to be related to each other by half-blood when they are descended from a common ancestor but by different wives. It means where father of two persons is the same but mothers are different.

Uterine Blood — Who persons are said to be related to each other by uterine blood when they are descended from a common ancestress but by different husbands. It means when mother of two persons is same but fathers are different.

12. Impartible Estate —An impartible estate is one which, although by nature is indivisible and by some special law or custom it descends to one member of the family usually the eldest, to the exclusion of the other members. Zamindaries, Jagirs, Saranjams, Raj or Sovereignty, Royal grants of revenue for services, etc., are some of the instances of impartible estates. An impartible estate may be ancestral, or it may be self-acquired.

Origin of Impartible Estate —The impartible estates originated in three different ways, namely-

1. Most of them appear to have originally independent chiefs who have gradually been in course of time reduced by the paramount power to the position of ordinary Zamindars.

2. In some of them, a share of the rents and profits of the landed property formed the emoluments of public hereditary offices, which could be held .by only a single member of the family, and was descendible to a single heir by primogeniture.

3. While the rest appear to have owed their origin to family arrangements followed up in practice for many generations. A custom of descent according to the law of. primogeniture may exist by Kulachar, although the estate may not be what is technically known either as a Raj in Northern India or a Polliam in the Deccan.

Nature of Impartible Estate—Their Lordships of Supreme Court observed in Krishna Vs. SarVagna Krishna, A.I.R. 1970, S.C. 1795, that the junior members of a joint Hindu family of an ancient impartible joint family estate take no right in the property by birth and have no right of partition having regard to the very nature of the estate that it is impartible. Secondly, they have no right to interdict alienations by head of the family either for necessity or otherwise. The right of the junior members of the family for maintenance is governed by custom and is not based upon any joint right or interest in the property as co-owners. The income of the impartible estate’is the individual income of the holder of the estate and is not the income of the joint family. An impartible estate, though it may be ancestral joint-family estate, is clothed with the incidents of self-acquired and separate property to that extent. That, only vestige of the incidents of joint family property, which still attaches to the joint family, impartible estate is the right of survivorship which of course is not inconsistent with the customs of impartiality: For the purpose of the devolution of the property, the property is assumed to be joint-family property and the only right that a member of the joint-family acquires by birth is to take the property by survivorship, but he does not acquire any interest in the property itself.