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The Indian Succession Act, 1925
The Part B States (Laws) Act, 1951
Section 29 in The Indian Succession Act, 1925
Section 24 in The Indian Succession Act, 1925
Section 28 in The Indian Succession Act, 1925
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Supreme Court of India
Mrs. Mary Roy Etc. Etc vs State Of Kerala & Ors on 24 February, 1986
Equivalent citations: 1986 AIR 1011, 1986 SCR (1) 371
Author: P Bhagwati
Bench: Bhagwati, P.N. (Cj)
           PETITIONER:
MRS. MARY ROY ETC. ETC.

	Vs.

RESPONDENT:
STATE OF KERALA & ORS.

DATE OF JUDGMENT24/02/1986

BENCH:
BHAGWATI, P.N. (CJ)
BENCH:
BHAGWATI, P.N. (CJ)
PATHAK, R.S.

CITATION:
 1986 AIR 1011		  1986 SCR  (1) 371
 1986 SCC  (2) 209	  1986 SCALE  (1)250


ACT:
     Intestate Succession to the property of a member of the
Indian Christian  Community IN	the  territories  originally
forming part  of the  erstwhile State of Travancore - Merger
of State of Travancore with State of Cochin in July 1949 and
enactment of  Part States  (Laws) Act,	1951  providing	 for
extension of  certain Parliamentary  statutes to Part States
Consequential effect  of the  extension of Indian Succession
Act, 1925  - Whether  the Indian Succession Act, 1925 or the
old Travancore	Cochin Succession Act 1092 (Kollan Era) will
govern the intestate succession from the date of extension -
Indian Succession Act, section 29(2), scope of - Legislative
device of incorporation by reference, explained.



HEADNOTE:
     Prior to  July 1949,  the State  of  Travancore  was  a
princely State	and the	 law in	 force in the territories of
that State in regard to intestate succession to the property
of the	members of  the Indian	Christian Community  was the
Travancore Christian  Succession  Act,	1092  (Kollan  Era).
Under the  said Act,  a widow  or mother  becoming  entitled
under sections 16, 17, 21 & 22 shall have only life interest
terminable at  death or	 on remarriage	and a daughter shall
not be	entitled to succeed to the property of the intestate
in the	same share  as the  son but  she will be entitled to
one-fourth the	value of  the share  of the  son or Rs. 5000
whichever is  less and	even this  amount she  will  not  be
entitled  on  intestacy,  if  Streedhanom  was	provided  or
promised to  her by the intestate or in the life time of the
intestate, either  by his wife or husband or after the death
of such wife or husband by her or his heirs.
     In or  about July	1949, the former State of Travancore
merged with the former State of Cochin to form Part State of
Travancore-Cochin. With	 a view to bringing about uniforming
of legislation	in the	whole  of  India,  including  Part-B
States, Parliament  enacted Part  States  (Laws)  Act,	1951
providing
372
for extension  to Part States certain Parliamentary Statutes
prevailing in rest of India, including the Indian Succession
Act, 1925.  As to  the impact of the extension of the Indian
Succession Act,	 1925, that  is to sag, whether it impliedly
repealed  the  Travancore-Christian  Succession	 Act,  1092,
divergent judicial opinions were handed over one by a Single
Judge of  the Madras  High Court and the contrary one by the
Division Bench	of the	Madras High  Court  and	 the  former
Travancore Cochin  High Court.	The  petitioners  therefore,
have now  challenged, under  Article 32 of the Constitution,
Sections 24, 28 and 29 of the Travancore Christian Act, 1092
as unconstitutional and void.
     Allowing the petitions, the Court,
^
     HELD: 1.1	On the	coming into  force of  Part-B States
(Laws) Act, 1951 the Travancore & succession Act, 1092 stood
repealed and  Chapter II  of Part V of the Indian Succession
Act, 1925  became applicable and intestate succession to the
property of members of the Indian Christian community in the
territories  of	  the  erstwhile  State	 of  Travancore	 was
thereafter governed  by Chapter	 II of	Part V of the Indian
Succession Act, 1925. [382 D-E]
     1.2 The  Indian Succession	 Act, 1925  was	 enacted  by
Parliament with	 a view	 to consolidating the law applicable
to intestate  and  testant  succession.	 This  Act  being  a
consolidating Act  replaced many  enactments which  were  in
force at  that	time  dealing  with  intestate	and  testant
succession including the Indian Succession Act, 1865. So far
as Indian  Christians are  concerned, Chapter  II of  Part V
contains  rules	 relating  to  intestate  succession  and  a
fortiori on  the extension  of the  Indian & Succession Act,
1925 to	 Part State of Travancore Cochin, the rules relating
to intestate  succession enacted  in Chapter  II of  Part  V
would be  applicable equally  to Indian	 Christians  in	 the
territories of	the former  State of Travancore. [377 H, 378
A-B, F-G]
     1.3  Sub-section	2  of	section	 29  of	 the  Indian
Succession Act,	 1925 did  not save  the provisions  of	 the
Travancore Christian  Succession Act, 1092 and therefore, it
cannot be  said that  despite the  extension of	 the  Indian
Succession Act, 1925 to Part State of Travancore-Cochin, the
Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092 continued to apply
to Indian
373
Christians in  the territories	of the	erstwhile  State  of
Travancore. [378 H; 379 A-B]
     When the  Indian Succession  Act, 1925  was extended to
Part-B State of Travancore-Cochin every Part of that Act was
so  extended   including  Chapter  II  of  Part	 V  and	 the
Travancore  Christian	Succession  Act,   1092	 was  a	 law
corresponding to Chapter II of Part V, since both dealt with
the same  subject matter, namely, intestate succession among
Indian Christians  and covered	the same field. me fact that
Travancore Christian  Succession Act,  1092 confined only to
laying down  rules of  intestate succession among the Indian
Christians while  Indian Succession  Act  had  a  much	wide
coverage cannot	 lead to  the conclusion that the Travancore
Christian Succession  Act, 1092	 was not a law corresponding
to the Indian Succession Act. Further by  Section 6  of Part
States (Laws)  Act, 1951 the Travancore Christian Succession
Act, 1092  stood repealed in its entirety. When section 6 of
Part  States   (Laws)  Act,   1951  provided  in  clear	 and
unequivocal terms  that the  Travancore Christian Succession
Act, 1092  which was  a law  in	 force	in  part  States  of
Travancore-Cochin corresponding	 to Chapter  II of Part V of
the Indian  Succession Act,  1925 shall	 stand repealed,  it
would be  nothing short	 of subversion	of  the	 legislative
intent to hold that the Travancore Christian Succession Act,
1092 did not stand repealed but was saved by section 29 sub-
section (2)  of the  Indian Succession	Act, 1925. [380 A-H;
381 A-B]
     Solomon v. Muthiah [1974] 1 M.L.J. Page 53; D. Chelliah
v. G. Lalita Bai, A.I.R. 1978 (Madras) 66 (DB) referred to.
     2. The legislative device of incorporation by reference
is a  well known  device where	the legislature	 instead  of
repeating the  provisions of a particular statute in another
statute incorporates  such provisions  in the latter statute
by reference  to the  earlier statute.	It is  a legislative
device adopted for the sake of convenience in order to avoid
verbatim  reproduction	of  the	 provisions  of	 an  earlier
statute in a later statute. But when the legislature intends
to adopt  this legislative device the language used by it is
entirely distinct  and different  from the  one employed  in
section 29  sub-section (2)  of the  Indian Succession	Act,
1925. The  opening part	 of section  29 sub-section  (2)  is
intended to  be a  qualificatory or  excepting provision and
not a  provision for incorporation by reference. [381 H; 382
A-C]
374
     Kurian Augusty  v. Devasay Aley, A.I.R. 1957 Travancore
Cochin Page 1 distinguished.



JUDGMENT:

ORIGINAL JURISDICTION : Writ Petition (Civil) No.8260 of 1983 etc. (Under Article 32 of the Constitution of India.) Ms. Indira Jai Singh, Ms. Kamini Jaiswal for the Petitioners.

G. Viswanath Iyer, G.P. Pai, V.J. Francis, S.Sukumaran, D.N. Misra, P.K. Pillai, C.S. Vaidyanathan, O.P. Sharma, Hemant Sharma, R.N. Poddar and Madhu Moolchandani for the Respondents.

Mandita Pandey, Mrs. K. Hingorani and Mrs. Rekha Pandey for the Intervener.

The Judgment of the Court was delivered by BHAGWATI, C.J. These Writ Petitions raise an interesting question as to whether after the coming into force of the Part States (Laws) Act 1951, the Travancore Christian Succession Act 1092 continues to govern intestate succession to the property of a member of the Indian Christian Community in the territories originally forming part of the erstwhile state of Travancore or is such intestate succession governed by the Indian Succession Act 1925 and if it continues to be governed by the Travancore Christian Succession Act 1092, whether sections 24, 28 and 29 of that Act are unconstitutional and void as being violative of article 14 of the Constitution. This question is of great importance because it affects the property rights of women belonging to the Indian Christian Community in the territories of the former State of Travancore. It is not necessary for the purpose of deciding this question to refer to the facts of any particular Writ Petition. It will be sufficient to trace the history of the legislation in regard to intestate succession to the property of members of the Indian Christian Community in the territories forming part of the erstwhile State of Travancore.

Prior to July 1949 the State of Travancore was a prince b state and the law in force in the territories of that state in regard to intestate succession to the property of members of the Indian Christian community was the Travancore 375 Christian Succession Act 1092. m is Act was promulgated by His Highness the Maharaja of Travancore with a view to consolidating and amending the rules of law applicable to intestate succession among Indian Christians in Travancore. The statement of objects and reasons for enactment of this Act provided that "the usages of the various sections of the Christian community do not agree in all respects. Separate legislation for the various sections of Christians is neither desirable nor practicable and is likely to lead to much litigation and trouble. It is therefore thought necessary to enact a common law for all the various sections of Indian Christians." Section 2 of the Act accordingly provided:

"Except as provided in this Act, or by any other law for the time being in force, the rules herein contained shall constitute the law of Travancore applicable to all cases of intestate succession among the members of the Indian Christian community".

Sections 16 to 19 laid dawn the rules of law applicable to intestate succession among Indian Christians. The contention of the petitioners was that these rules discriminated against women by providing inter-alia that so far as succession to the immovable property of the intestate is concerned, a widow or mother becoming entitled under secs. 16, 17, 21 and 22 shall have only life interest terminable at death or on remarriage and that a daughter shall not be entitled to succeed to the property of the intestate in the same share as the son but that she will be entitled to one- fourth the value of the share of the son or Rs. 5,000 whichever is less and even to this amount she will not be entitled on intestacy, if Streedhanom was provided or promised to her by the intestate or in the life time of the intestate, either by his wife or husband or after the death of such wife or husband, by his or her heirs and on account of such discrimination these rules were unconstitutional and void as being violative of article 14 of the Constitution. On the view we are taking as regards the consequential effect of the extension of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 to the territories of the former State of Travancore by virtue of Part-B States (Laws) Act, 1951, it is not necessary to examine this challenge to the constitutional validity of the rules laid down in the Travancore Christian 376 Succession Act, 1092 and we do not therefore propose to refer to them in detail, as that would be a futile exercise and would unnecessarily burden the judgment. But it is relevant to point out that sec. 30 of the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092 specifically excluded the applicability of the rules laid down in secs. 24, 28 and 29 to certain classes of Roman Catholic Christians of the Latin Rite and also to certain Protestant Christians living in certain specified Taluks, according to the customary usage among whom, the male and female heirs of an intestate share equally in the property of the intestate and proceeded to add ex majori cautela that so far as these Christians are concerned, nothing in secs. 24, 28 and 29 shall be deemed to affect the said custom obtaining among them. This was the law which governed intestate succession to the property of members of the Indian Christian community in the territories of the former State of Travancore.

In or about July 1949 the former State of Travancore merged with the former State of Cochin to form Part-B State of Travancore - Cochin. m ere were also other Part-B States formed out of erstwhile princely States and they were Hyderabad, Jammu & Kashmir, Madhya Bharat, Mysore, Pepsu, Rajasthan and Saurashtra. With a view to bringing about uniformity of legislation in the whole of India including Part-B States, Parliament enacted Part-B States (Laws) Act, 1951 providing for extension to Part-B States of certain Parliamentary Statutes prevailing in rest of India. Two sections of this Act are material, namely, sec.3 and 6 and they provide inter-alia as follows :

"3. Extension and a t of certain Acts find Ordinances The Acts and Ordinances specified in the Schedule shall be amended in the manner and to the extent therein specified, and the territorial extent of each of the said Acts and Ordinances shall, as from the appointed day and in so far as any of the said Acts or Ordinances or any of the provisions contained therein relates to matters with respect to which Parliament has power to make laws, be as stated in the extent clause thereof as so amended.
377
	  xx			 xx		  xx
	  6. Repeals and Savings
If immediately before the appointed day, there is in force in any Part State any law corresponding to any of the Acts or Ordinances now extended to that State, that law shall, save as otherwise expressly provided in the Act, stand repealed:"

The Schedule to this Act referred to several statutes and one of these statutes was the Indian Succession Act, 1925. The expression "the States", whereever occurring in the Indian Succession Act, 1925 was substituted by the word 'India" and a new definition was introduced in clause (cc) of sec. 2 of that Act defining "India" to mean "the territory of India excluding the State of Jammu & Kashmir". The effect of sec. 3 read with the Schedule was to extend the provisions of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 to all Part-B States including the State of Travancore-Cochin with effect from 1st April, 1951 which was the appointed date under the Part-B States (Laws) Act, 1951. The question is as to what was the impact of the extension of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 to the territories of the State of Travancore - Cochin on the continuance of the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092 in the territories forming part of the erstwhile State of Travancore. Did the introduction of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 have the effect of repealing the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092 so that from and after 1st April, 1951, intestate succession to the property of a member of the Indian Christian community in the territories of the former State of Travancore was governed by the Indian Succession Act, 1925 or did the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092 continue to govern such intestate succession despite the introduction of the Indian Succession Act, 1925? This question has evoked divergence of judicial opinion, a single Judge of the Madras High Court taking one view while a Division Bench of the Madras High Court as also the former Travancore Cochin High Court taking other view. We shall proceed to consider which view is correct .

The Indian Succession Act, 1925 was enacted by Parliament with a view to consolidating the law applicable to intestate 378 and testamentary succession. m is Act being a consolidating act replaced many enactments which were in force at that time dealing with intestate and testant succession including the Indian succession Act, 1865. Part V of the Act relates to intestate succession and it consists of a fasciculus of sections beginning with sec. 29 and going upto sec.56. The rules relating to testate succession are to be found in Part VI of the Act which comprised 23 Chapters commencing from sec. 57 and ending with sec. 191. We are concerned here only with intestate succession and hence we shall confine our attention to Part V of the Act. Sec. 29 which is the first section in Chapter I of Part V deals with the applicability of the rules contained in that Part. This section is material and hence it would be desirable to set it out in extenso :

"29. Application of Part (1) This part shall not apply to any intestacy occurring before the first day of January, 1866, or to the property of any Hindu, Muhammadan, Buddhist, Sikh or Jaina.
(2) Save as provided in sub-section (1) or by any other law for the time being in force, the provisions of this Part shall constitute the law of India in all cases of intestacy.

Chapter II of Part V lays down the rules governing intestate succession in case of persons other than Parsis and that is made clear by sec. 31 which delcares that nothing in Chapter II shall apply to Parsis. Chapter III enacts special rules for Parsi intestates and lays down what shall be the principles relating to intestate succession among them. It will thus be seen that so far as Indian Christians are concerned, Chapter II of Part V contains rules relating to intesate succession and a fortiori on the extension of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 to Part State of Travancore Cochin, the rules relating to intestate succession enacted in Chapter II of Part V would be applicable equally to Indian Christians in the territories of the former State of Travancore. But the respondents sought to resist the applicability of these rules on the ground that sec. 29 sub- sec.(2) of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 saved the provisions of the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 379 1092 and therefore despite the extension of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 to Part State of Travancore Cochin, the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092 continued to apply to Indian Christians in the territories of the erstwhile State of Travancore. m is contention urged on behalf of the respondents is plainly unsustainable and cannot be accepted.

The principal infirmity affecting this contention is that it overlooks the repealing provision enacted in sec. 6 of the Part State (Laws) Act, 1951. This section provides that if immediately before the appointed day, that is, 1st April, 1951, there was in force in any Part State any law corresponding to any of the Acts or Ordinances extended to that State, that Law shall, save as otherwise expressly provided in Part State (Laws) Act, 1951 stand repealed. Now the Indian Succession Act, 1925 was extended to Part State of Travancore-Cochin by virtue of sec. 3 of Part State (Laws) Act, 1951 and if therefore, there was in force in part State of Travancore-Cochin any law corresponding to the Indian Succession Act, 1925 immediately prior to 1st April, 1951, such law would stand wholly repealed. The petitioners contended that the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092 which was admittedly in force in Part State of Travancore Cochin immediately prior to 1st April, 1951, was a law corresponding to Chapter II of Part V of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 and this law, namely, the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092 must consequently be held to have been repealed in its entirety on the extension of the provisions of Chapter II of Part V to the Indian Succession Act, 1925 to the territories of the former State of Travancore and if that be so, the continuance of the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092 could not possibly be regarded as saved by sec.29 sub-sec.(2) of the Indian Succession Act, 1925. me respondents made a faint attempt to combat this argument by urging that the Travancore Christian & Succession Act, 1092 was not a law corresponding to the Indian Succession Act, 1925 since the latter Act had a much wider coverage in that it dealt not only with rules relating to intestate succession among Indian Christian but also laid down rules of intestate succession among Parsis as also rules relating to testate succession, while the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092 was confined only to laying down rules of intestate succession among Indian Christians. This plea urged on behalf of the respon-

380

dents is wholly fallacious. It ignores the basic fact that when the Indian Succession Act, 1925 was extended to Part-B State of Travancore-Cochin every Part of that Act was so extended including Chapter II of Part V and the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092 was a law corresponding to Chapter II of Part V, since both dealt with the same subject matter, namely, intestate succession among Indian Christians and covered the same field. We may point out that Mr. Justice Ismail of the Madras High Court sitting as a Single Judge of the Madras High Court recognised the validity of this position in Solomon v. Muthiah; [1974] 1 Madras Law Journal 53 and held that "the conclusion is irresistible that the Travancore Christian Succession Regulation II of 1902 is a law corresponding to the provisions contained in Part V of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 so far as Christians are concerned". me learned Judge following upon this view held that the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092 was wholly repealed by virtue of sec.6 of Part States (Laws) Act, 1951 and it could not be held to have been saved by sec.29 sub-sec. (2) of the Indian Succession Act, 1925. This conclusion reached by the learned Single Jugde was overruled by the Division Bench of the Madras High Court in D. Chelliah v. G. Lalita Bai, A.I.R. 1978 (Mad.) 66, but even this decision of the Division Bench while disagreeing with the conclusion reached by the learned Single Judge accepted the position that the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092 was a law corresponding to Part V of the Indian Succession Act, 1925. And if that be so, it is difficult to resist the conclusion that by sec. 6 of Part States (Laws) Act, 1951 the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092 stood repealed in its entirety. When sec.6 of Part States (Laws) Act, 1951 provided in clear and unequivocal terms that the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092 which was a law force in Part States of Travancore-Cochin corresponding to Chapter II of Part V of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 shall stand repealed, it would be nothing short of subversion of the legislative intent to hold that the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092 did not stand repealed but was saved by sec.29 sub-sec.(2) of the Indian Succession Act, 1925. Of course, if there were any provision in Part States (Laws) Act 1951 expressly providing that the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092 shall not stand repealed despite the extension of Chapter II of Part V of the Indian Succession Act 1925 to the territories of the former 381 State of Travancore, then undoubtedly the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092 would not have stood repealed and would have been saved. But admittedly there 18 nothing in Part States (Laws) Act, 1951 expressly saving the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092. The only argument urged on behalf of the respondents was that sec.29 sub-sec. (2) of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 had the effect of saving the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092 and the latter Act therefore continued to govern Indian Christians in the territories of the former State of Travancore. Now this contention of the respondent might perhaps have required some consideration if the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092 had not been expressly repealed and an argument had been raised that by reason of the extension of the Indian Succession Act, 1925, there was implied repeal of the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092. Then perhaps an argument could have been advanced that though both Chapter II of Part V of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 and the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092 covered the same field and dealt with the same subject matter, namely, intestate succession among Indian Christians, there was no implied repeal of the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092 by the extension of Chapter II of Part V of the Indian Succession Act 1925 and the continued operation of the Travancore Christian Succession Act 1092 was saved by sec.29 sub-sec. (2) of the Indian & Succession Act, 1925. We very much doubt whether such an argument would have been tenable but in any event in the present case there is no scope for such an argument, since the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092 stood expressly repealed by virtue of sec.6 of Part States (Laws) Act, 1951.

It was then contended on behalf of the respondents, though faintly, that by reason of section 29 sub-sec.(2), the Indian Succession Act, 1925 must be deemed to have adopted by reference all laws for the time being in force relating to intestate succession including the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092 so far as Indian Christian in Travancore are concerned. This contention was sought to be supported by reference to the decision of the Travancore- Cochin High Court in Kurian Auggsty v. Devassy Aley, A.I.R. 1957 Travancore Cochin 1. We do not think this contention is at all sustainable. The legislative device of incorporation by reference is a well-known device where the legislature instead 382 of repeating the provisions of a particular statute in another statue incorporates such provision in the latter statute by reference to the earlier statute. It is a legislative device adopted for the sake of convenience in order to avoid verbatim reproduction of the provisions of an earlier statute in a latter statute. But when the legislature intends to adopt this legislative device the language used by it is entirely distinct and different from the one employed in section 29 subsec.(2) of the Indian Succession Act, 1925. The opening part of section 29 sub- sec.(2) is intended to be a qualificatory or excepting provision and not a provision for incorporation by reference. We have no hesitation in rejecting this contention urged on behalf of the respondents.

We are, therefore, of the view that on the coming into force of Part-B States (Laws) Act, 1951 the Travancore Cochin Succession Act, 1092 stood repealed and Chapter II of Part V of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 became applicable and intestate succession to the property of members of the Indian Christian community in the territories of the erstwhile State of Travancore was thereafter governed by Chapter II of Part V of the Indian Succession Act, 1925. On this view, it becomes unnecessary to consider whether sections 24, 28 and 29 of the Travancore Christian Succession Act, 1092 are unconstitutional and void. We, therefore, allow the writ petitions and declare that intestate succession to the property of Indian Christians in the territories of the former State of Travancore is governed by the provisions contained in Chapter II of Part V of the Indian Succession Act, 1925. There will be no order as to costs.

S.R.				   Petitions allowed.
383