Jagannathan Pillai vs Kunjithapadam Pillai & Ors, 1987 AIR 1493

Rajat Rana
Student at OP Jindal Global University, Sonipat, India.

Volume III – Issue I, 2023

The present matter pertains to a Hindu widow who obtained possession of a property in accordance with customary law subsequent to the death of her husband, but afterwards transferred the same ownership. The primary legal question pertains to the subsequent transfer of the property to her after the implementation of the Hindu Succession Act: does she acquire absolute possession as per Section 14(1)? This legislation confers absolute ownership rights for Hindu women, irrespective of the moment of purchase. The court’s interpretation of the term “possessed” encompasses the acquisition of rights, with the objective of safeguarding the interests of widows.

In the present scenario, the widow successfully asserted her right to regain ownership of the property from a third party. As a result, the court invalidated the original transaction and reinstated her full rights, therefore transforming her limited ownership into entire possession. This is consistent with previous rulings by the High Court, which have upheld the legislative purpose of granting authority to widows. The judgement of the court highlights the commitment to upholding legal principles and the original meaning of the legislature, while dismissing any comparisons to unrelated transactions. The statement underscores the Act’s specific emphasis on safeguarding the well-being of women.


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