V. Tulsamma vs. Sesha Reddy (1977) SC 

– Mansi Tiwari

– Shri Vaishnav Vidyapeeth Vishwavidyalaya

Summary of the Case

Tulsamma’s husband died in the year of 1913, leaving her as a widow and in the state of jointness with his step brother named as Sesha Reddy. Later, Tulsamma filed a petition against Sesha Reddy for her maintenance in District Munsif. Then the court dismissed the case because Sesha Reddy in his interlocutory application alleged that the both parties had arrived at settlement outside the court. And by the compromise, Tulsamma was allotted the schedule property, with limited interest only and having no right of alienation. Further, the property will revert to the Sesha after the death of the Tulsamma and until then the property will remain in her possession. But, after sometime Tulsamma leased and also sold out some of the property.

Then again Sesha Reddy filed suit for infringement of the conditions of the compromise. The learned Court held that the Tulsamma cannot be seen to have the full ownership of the property and hence she cannot alienate the same under Section 14(2) of the Hindu Succession Act. Furthermore, Tulsamma filed an appeal in the District Court and the Court reversed the judgement of the Munsif Court and held that the she had acquired absolute right in the property of her husband under Section 14(1) of Hindu Succession Act. Against this order Sesha filed the second appeal in the High Court and the court held that the Tulsamma had not acquired absolute right under Section 14(1) of HSA Act and because the both parties entered in the earlier compromise for the same. 

Thus, Tulsamma filed an appeal in the Supreme Court, the court in its judgment said that the Section 14 of the Hindu Succession act serves as a reformative section and it was put in the act for the betterment of the proprietary rights of the women in India. The Court also held that there should be some conditions to be fulfilled for applying Section 14 of Hindu Succession Act and which are the property should be transferred by gift, will, decree or order and the restrictions are made while transferring the rights of the property. The second condition is that there should not exist any pre- existing rights in the property. But, in the present case Tulsamma from the very beginning of her husband’s death had acquired the right of maintenance. And hence 14(1) will apply in this case making widow as the absolute owner of her husband’s property.

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