Charles Gordon Spencer, Officiating C.J.
1. In A.D. 1674 during the reign of the great Moghul Emperor Aurangzeb, Ekoji alias Venkaji took Tanjore from its Nayak Rulers without firing a shot. This Mahratta General was the son of Shahji who had attained military distinction under the independent Muhamadan States of Ahmednugger and Bijapur and in the course of one of his military expeditions had levied a contribution from the Nayak Chiefs of Tanjore and Madura in the South Carnatic country.
2. Ekoji's grandfather was Malloji, a Mahratta of the Bhonsle family, who distinguished himself under Jadava or Jadow Rao, a Mahratta Chief in the service of the Ahmednugger Government, and won the hand of his daughter Jiji Bai for his elder son Shahji. Shahji by his first wife Jiji Bai was the father of the famous Sivaji who founded the Mahratta Empire in the Deccan in the 17th century, and by his second wife Tukka Bai, daughter of Mahratta parents with the surname of Mohitai, was the father of Ekoji, the founder of the Mahratta dynasty in Tanjore. When Shahji died from a fall in the hunting field, Ekoji performed his funeral rites and was confirmed by the Bijapur Government in the enjoyment of the fiefs of Bangalore and Tanjore. In 1677 the forces of Ekoji and those of his half brother Sivaji came into conflict but by a compromise the former was allowed to retain Tanjore. In 1680 Sivaji got Tanjore and other territories ceded to him by the Bijapur Government, but in the same year Sivaji died and Ekoji retained his hold on Tanjore.
3. Ekoji died in 1686 or 1687 leaving 3 sons, Shahji II, Sarabhoji, and Tukkoji who each in turn succeeded to the Raj. During the reign of the first named, there were two invasions led by generals of the Moghul Emperor and considerable sums were levied from Tanjore as indemnity coupled with a promise to pay annual tribute to Delhi. After Tukkoji died in 1735, his legitimate son Baba reigned for about a year, and then was succeeded by his widow Sujana Bai whose regency only lasted for a short period. Two years of revolution followed. A pretender known as Savai Shahji or Katturaja, which signifies in Tamil "Jungle King," usurped the throne with the aid of a Muhamadan commander of the Fort named Said. The usurper was assassinated, and the principal men in the State assisted by Said "the King maker" first put Saiyaji, the second legitimate son of Tukkoji on the musnud and secondly Pratapa Singh, the son of Tukkoji by his sword wife Annapurni, Pratapa Singh's first act was to have Said put to death. He ruled for 24 years and during his reign his forces came into conflict with the army of Mahomed Ali, the Nawab of Arcot, and with the troops of the East India Company sent to aid the deposed Saiyaji, and with the French under Lally. In 1762 by the intervention of the British a treaty was concluded under which the Raja of Tanjore agreed to pay tribute to the Nawab at the rate of four lakhs of rupees annually. Pratapa Singh died in 1763 and was succeeded by his son Tulsaji. In 1771 and 1773 Tanjore territory was twice invaded by the British from Trichinopoly. On the second occasion the Fort was taken and the Raja and his family were made prisoners, but in 1776 under the orders of the Court of Directors he was restored to all his territories and became an ally of the British under a treaty by which he had to pay an annual subsidy of 14 lakhs of rupees and his State became a Protected State under the Company's Government. On Tulsaji's death without issue in 1787 his half brother Amar Singh, son of Pratapa Singh by a sword wife, succeeded and concluded two treaties with the British in 1787 and 1792, but he was deposed in 1798 in favour of Serfoji, an adopted son of Tulsaji, whose tutor and guardian Mr. Swartz of the Danish Mission was able to satisfy the Court of Directors through a memorial Exhibits A-455 and 456 presented to the Governor-General Lord Cornwallis that the verdict of the Pandits which had previously been pronounced against the adoption was erroneous in law and had been obtained by corrupt means.
4. In 1799 Serfoji resigned the government of the country into the hands of the Company, and Tanjore then became a British District with the exception of the Fort of Tanjore and some villages and lands which coustituted his Mokhasa or private property and are the subject of the present litigation. In addition to these he agreed to receive 3 1/2 lakhs of rupees and 1/5th of the net revenues of the country while the Company took the other 4/5ths. In 1832 Serfoji died and was succeeded by his only son Sivaji, the last Raja of Tanjore. Sivaji married 3 daughters of his sisters. Two of these wivea predeceased him. To the elder Rani Sydamba Bai were born two daughters Rajes Bai and Muktamba Bai who both in turn were married to the same man--Sakharam Saheb. The Raja's second wife Kamakshi Bai Survived him and died in 1892. In 1852 in his desperate, anxiety to get an heir, he married 17 women in two batches of 9 and 8 on one day (July 18th, 1852). When His Highness Maharaja Sivaji died on October 29th, 1855, he left 16 Ranis, two legitimate daughters, a mother, 60 women living in a seraglio called the Mangala Vilas, of whom 40 aspired to be called sword wives in distinction to the dancing girls who were ordinary concubines, and 17 natural children begotten by the Raja through sword wives, six of these children being males. There were also the remnants of Serfoji's seraglio called the Kalyana Mahal. Upon the Resident, Mr. Forbes, reporting the death of the Raja and putting forward the claim of his younger daughter to be his successor and upon the Government expressing a decided and unanimous opinion that there being no male heir there was no legitimate claimant to the Raj, the Court of Directors in a despatch of April 16th, 1856, Exhibit C-69, Appendix j, page ii, agreeing with the opinions of the Government of Madras and the Government of India, declared the dignity of Raja of Tanjore to be extinct and the Raj to have lapsed to the British Government, as the Raja died "without leaving a son by birth or adoption" and his father Serfoji was only an adopted son. On October 18th of the same year Mr. Forbes, in his new capacity of Commissioner, took possession of the Fort of Tanjore and the lands held by the late Raja or upon demise from him.
5. Thereafter Kamakshi Bai as senior surviving Rani filed a Bill on the Equity side of this Court against the East India Company and succeeded in obtaining a decree declaring her to be entitled to the estate of her deceased husband and declaring the Company to be trustees of the property taken possession of by their servants and directing an account to be furnished. The case went on appeal to the Privy Council (the Secretary of State in Council of India taking the place of the East India Company) and the Judicial Committee in The Secretary of State in Council of India v. Kamachee Boye Sahaba (1869) 7 M.I.A., 476 reversed the above decision on the ground that the seizure of the property was an exercise of sovereign power effected at the arbitrary discretion of the Company by the aid of military force and that the act so done with its consequences was an act of State over which the Supreme Court of Madras had no jurisdiction. On the Plaintiff's Bill being thus dismissed, Sir Charles Trevelyan, President of the Council, in spite of the opinion of the Judicial Committee to the contrary [vide The Secretary of State in Council of India v. Kamachee Boye Sahaba (1859) 7 M.I.A., 476 at 532, 541], decided to treat the case as one of lapse by escheat, and to instruct the Madras Government to that effect. The Madras Government accordingly regarded the Raj as merged in the Government which had become the Raja's residuary heir discharging his obligations, and proceeded to work out a scale of pensions for the maintenance of the late Raja's dependants. Exhibit K-12, The widows, backed by a large amount of public sympathy, did not sit quiet under this disposition of their fortunes. They enlisted the services of Mr. John Bruce Norton, then Government Pleader of the Supreme Court on leave, who drafted for them what is termed in Jijoyiamba Bayi Saiba v. Kamakshi Bayi Saiba (1868) 3 M.H.C.R., 424 at p. 444 a "forcible memorial" and himself proceeded to England in 1860 in order to rouse the British public to an appreciation of the injustice done by the act of confiscating the property of an independent Prince who had always been faithful to the British, and to induce Parliament to interfere in their favour and get the estate restored to the family. Mr. Norton's appeal evoked a remarkable response and on June 23rd, 1862, Colonel Durand, Secretary to the Government of India, announced Lord Canning's sanction to the relinquishment of the whole of the lands in favour of the heirs of the late Raja,
since the plea in equity and policy for treating them as the private property 'of the Raia was so strong that it commanded the unanimous support of the members of the Madras Government. Exhibit A-37.
6. On 21st August 1862, an order of the Governor in Council was issued by the Madras Government declaring the manner in which this relinquishment was to be effected. By this time Rajes Bai, the elder daughter of Sivaji, had died on December 26th, 1856, and her husband Sakharam had married his deceased wife's sister Muktamba Bai, the Raja's secoc'd daughter, in February 1860. This all important order Exhibit A-46, sets out that the Goverement having consulted the opinion of the two Pundits of the Sudder Court in order to ascertain what were the respective rights of the Raja's widows and of his daughter according to Hindu Law, concurred with the opinion of the Junior Pundit, which was in accordance with the principles of Hindu Law as expounded by the Sudder Court and the Privy Council, namely, that the senior widow was entitled to manage the property during her lifetime being at the same time responsible for the maintenance of the other widows. The G.O. then proceeds to declare:
The Estate will therefore he made over to the senior widow who will have the management and control of the property, and it will be her duty to provide in a suitable manner for the participative enjoyment of the Estate in question, by the other widows--her co-heirs. On the death of the last surviving widow, the daughter of the late Raja, or failing her, the next heirs of the late Raja, if any, will inherit the property.
7. This order was duly carried out by the officers of Government and the private personal property of the Raja was made over to the senior widow, Kamakshi Bai, but there was no restoration of the dignity of the Raj.
8. On July 1st, 1863, acting on the advice of Mr. Norton and in spite of the protests of other widows and of the Princess Muktamba Bai, Kamakshi Bai adopted Rajaram Ingle alias Serfoji, the late Raja's sister's grandson, whom the Raja was said to have designated for adoption, when he found himself without a son by any of his Ranis and who performed the Raja's obsequies and the obsequies of the Ranis. The Government of Madras, as advised by the Government Agent, when informed of the fact, took no official notice of it but directed the Government Agent to impress on Kamakshi Bai as senior widow her responsibility to the other widows and to the late Raja's daughter "who would inherit the whole property in the event of her surviving the widows." Kamakshi Bai, besides adopting Rajaram, transferred to him all the properties Which she had got through the grant of August 21st, 1862, and enjoined the estate servants to take orders from him, styling him Serfoji Maharaja. Exhibit A-81, A-82, A-115. When, however, she and Rajaram memorialized the Governor of Madras and the Secretary of State to recognize the adoption, Exhibit A-134 and A-135, the former declared his intention of declining to hold any communication with any one but Kamakshi Bai on the subject of the estate and the family of the late Raja, Exhibit B-153 and E-59 and the latter, while approving of the course adopted, observed "The validity of the alleged adoption by her as regards Private property is a matter for the Civil Courts." Exhibit A-136. The Government of India also declined to interfere with the orders passed by the Madras Government. Exhibit E-60.
9. The next thing that happened was that two of the junior Ranis filed a suit (Original Suit No. 16 of 1866) in" the Civil Court of Tanjore against Kamakshi Bai and the adopted son for their shares of the movable property of their late husband and of the proceeds of the immovable property on the strength of a private agreement and for a declaration that the adoption was invalid and for the appointment of a permanent Receiver to manage the property during Kamakshi Bai's lifetime. The Civil Judge (Mr. Davidson) refused the relief by way of a division of property but made an order for the appointment of a Receiver, while holding that the validity of the adoption of the fourteenth defendant had not been established and that the first defendant Kamakshi Bai was totally unfit to be entrusted with the management of the estate. He had previously in an order in Miscellaneous Proceedings held that the transfer of property from first to fourteenth defendant was ultra vires and not bona fide. From this decision the plaintiffs appealed, and Kamakshi Bai and Rajaram preferred a cross-appeal which was dismissed for non-payment of the court fees.
10. The appeal was heard by Scotland, C.J., and Ellis, J., and is reported as Jijoyiamba Bayi Saiba v. Kamakshi Bayi Saiba (1868) 3 M.H.C.R., 424. Those very learned Judges decided that Rajaram could not maintain any claim by reason of his adoption, even if it was valid, as owing to the break between the Raja's death and the re-grant to the widows the property did not devolve upon him directly from his adoptive father, that the transfer from his adoptive mother was invalid and that the plaintiffs could not enforce a partition, seeing that all the widows were possessed of a joint estate for their respective lives with rights of survivorship, that the first defendant was not fit to be entrusted with the management of the Estate and that a Receiver and Manager (preferably the Collector) should be appointed to manage it during the lives of the widows or until the Civil Court considered the appointment to be no longer necessary. These directions were carried out. The Collector managed the Estate for a time until a Court Receiver under the superintendence of the District Judge was appointed. It is to-day in the management of the Court Receiver, though there have been changes from time to time in the personnel of the office. Rajaram alias Serfoji after the decision in Jijoyiamba Bayi Saiba v. Kamakshi Bayi Saiba (1868) 3 M.H.C.R., 424 never during his lifetime tiled a suit for a declaration that his adoption was valid, but in a petition for a succession certificate to collect the debts of one of the junior widows who died on March 29th, 1881, his adoption was put in issue and it was held by the District Judge (Mr. Parker) in 1883 that there had been no valid adoption. Exhibit B-37. His appeal to the High Court was also dismissed [vide Surfoji v. Kamakshiamba (1884) I.L.R., 7 Mad., 452]. His sons are the first and second defendants in this suit. The Raja's second daughter Muktamba Bai died of smallpox on January 31st, 1885, when she was 38. or 39. She had one son and two daughters who predeceased her. In 1884 her husband adopted a son named Sambu Singh who died in 1891, and the third defendant claims to be the adopted son of that adopted son. Avu Saheba, the mother of the Raja, died on June 21st, 1864. The widows of the Raja died off one by one and the last Rani Jijamba Bai died on May 3rd, 1912, having outlived her husband by 56 1/2 years. Thereupon the Receiver on July 8th, 1912, instituted this interpleader suit to decide who was entitled to take the estate, making the adopted son's sons, the daughter's adopted grandchild, the sons and grandsons of the Raja by his sword wives, distant agnates including the Maharaja of Kolhapur, the descendants of the last ruler of Satara and of the Patel of Jinti, and remote bandhus, in fact all possible claimants, parties to the suit. The trial commenced on July 2nd, 1917, before the Subordinate Judge, Tanjore, and judgment was pronounced on July 1st, 1918, after voluminous evidence had been recorded and innumerable exhibits admitted. At the hearing of these appeals against the Subordinate Judge's decree, out of 73 issues the following are the principal questions which have come to be decided:
(1) On the death of the last surviving widow which of the defendants are "the next heirs of the late Raja" specified in the Government grant of 1862?
(2) On the true construction of the grant, are the sons of the subsequently adopted son, the grandchild by adoption of the Raja's daughter, and the children and grandchildren of the Raja by sword wives excluded from inheritance?
(3) What is the status of the Raja's offspring by sword wife mothers in this family? Are they legitimate or illegitimate ? Are sword wives a species of inferior wives or a kind of superconcubines?
(4) Are the Kolhapur and Satara branches of the family liable to be excluded from inheritance by reason of the bar sinister caused by the late Tanjore Raja's great-grandfather Pratapa Singh having been begotten by his father Tukkoji through a sword wife Annapurni ?
(5) Is the family, to which the late Raja of Tanjore belonged, a family of Kshatriyaa or Sudras?
(6) Was the adoption of the father of defendants 1 and 2 by the senior Rani Kamakshi Bai valid as having been made with, the authority of her deceased husband, or with the consent of kindred, or by her own act without any authority according to the personal law of the Mahratta family to which she and he belonged?
(7) What is the law of adoption applicable to this family?
(8) Is the adoption of the father of defendants 1 and 2 invalid by reason either (1) of the senior widow's power to adopt having been exhausted by the act of State in annexing the Raj or (2) by the adopted son's failure to establish his adoption in a Court of Law within twelve years of the act of adoption?
(9) Has the fourteenth defendant established his collateral relationship through Ramraja in the branch of the family which sprang from Sivaji the Great?
(10) What shares are the Mangala Vilas defendants (i.e., the sons of sword wives and their sons) entitled to take in the personal property of the late Raja?
(11) Of the daughter's adopted son's adopted son (third defendant) and the late Raja's sister's grandson which is the nearest bandhu ?
(12) Is the third defendant the validly adopted son of Sambu, and is Sambu the validly adopted son of the Princess Muktamba Bai and her consort Sakharam?
(13) Has the twenty-fourth defendant proved his connexion through Sambaji, half-brother of Ekoji, to the family of the Tanjore Rajas?
11. When the Government decided that "the whole of the lands were to be relinquished in favour of the heirs of the late Raja" they proceeded on the assumption, which appears in the minute of Sir Charles Trevelyan printed in 7 Moore's Indian Appeals at page 540, that the Raja had died leaving no legitimate or adopted son. They had to decide between the conflicting claims of the Raja's daughter, which Mr. Forbes, the Resident, put prominently forward in his letters of November 6th, 1855, The Tanjore Mahratta Principality by William Hickey; Appendix J, page XXXIX, paragraphs 2 to 20 and September 9th, 1856, Exhibit D-35 and those of the widows jointly and severally, whom Mr. .Norton representea, ana they consulted the opinion of the mnaits in order that the distribution of the property might conform with the principles of Hindu Law, so far as they might be compatible with "their own notions of what was just and reasonable" [vide Jijoyiamba Bayi Saiba v. Kamakshi Bayi Saiba (1868) 8 M.H.C.R., 431 and 433]. They do not appear to have given a thought to the case of the sword wives' children. No one came forward to plead their cause. The law that the widow and the illegitimate son of a Sudra share together in the deceased's estate had not been expounded at that date. Exhibit D-240, 4 M.H.C.R., 240, 10 Mad., 334, 33 Mad., 226. There had been a strong tendency to refuse to recognize adoptions when the estate would otherwise fall in as an escheat Exhibit A-11, March 16th, 1846 and a subsequent reaction against that doctrine. Exhibit A-457. In the end, after due deliberation and consideration of the advice of the Pundits and the decisions of the Suddar Adawlat and the Supreme Court, the Government designated the widows as co-heirs in whom the property would vest for their lives, and the Raja's daughter as the person who would inherit the property on the death of the last surviving widow. Failing her, the next heirs of the late Raja were to inherit. As the Government made a re-grant to the heirs of the late owner, the title which they got must depend entirely on the terms of the re-grant [vide Nawab Malka Jahan Sahiba v. Deputy Commissioner of Lucknow (1879) 6 I.A. 63]. At that time, although the late Raja had presented Rajaram Ingle to Lord Harris, the Governor of Madras, as the boy whom he intended to adopt, Exhibits A-134, paragraph 8, A-7, page 166, A-229, page 838 no actual adoption had taken place. Mr. Forbes in his report of February 18th, 1856 Exhibit B-91 states that no adoption had been made to his knowledge and Kamakshi Bai in paragraph (1) of her plaint Exhibit D-159 used words to the same effect and showed by her conduct in adopting Rajaram Ingle in 1863 that his adoption had not already been performed. It was held in Jijoyiamba Bayi Saiba v. Kamakshi Bayi Saiba (1868) 3 M.H.C.R., 424 that the adoption which took place in 1863 did not have the effect of divesting the widows' estate, the nature of which is described in the decree Exhibit B-179 as being "a joint estate tor their respective liv.es with rights of survivorship." In the first paragraph of their order Government speak of the grant as a relinquishment of the whole of the lands in favour of the heirs of the late Raja. I am therefore unable to follow the learned Judges in their conclusion that what the Government purported to do was rather a grant of grace and favour than a restoration of property to those entitled to it by right of succession or an abandonment of all claims arising from the act of seizure [compare Baboo Beerpertab Sahee v. Maharajah Rajender Pertab Sahee (1868) 9 W.R., 15 at 22 (P.C.)]. That a surrender would amount to a confession of wrong doing, itself improbable in the face of Government's firm insistence on their sovereign rights being upheld, seems to me to be a non sequitur. It is more important to determine what was granted than to discuss in what light the officers of Government regarded the grant. The document sets out to determine what are the respective rights of the Raja's widows and of his daughter. It goes on to find that according to Hindu Law the property should not be divided, but that "it vests first in the widows and after their deaths is to be inherited by the daughter." The Senior Pundit who was consulted declared that the widows' rights were limited to the use of the property during their lifetime, that they could not alienate it, and that on the death of the widows it went to the next heir of the husband. His statement that they had no power of alienation must be read in the light of his detailed answer attached to the grant, which indicates that he meant to qualify it by the words "except for most indispensable purposes." The difference of opinion that existed between the Senior and Junior Pundit related to the rights of the widows inter se and not to the general principles regulating the order of succession of widows and daughters under the Hindu Law. It would have been easy for the Government to have provided in the grant against the divestment of the estate by a subsequent adoption or against an adopted son succeeding at any future point of time, and Mr. Norton was astute enough to perceive that if the widows made an adoption before the estate was restored, it might occur to the Government to so word the grant that the adopted son would be effectually and finally cut out, and he advised them accordingly. Exhibit A-50, Exhibit A-289, Exhibit A-286 at page 982. As it happened there was no express exclusion of an heir by adoption. The learned Counsel who represents the Maharaja of Kolhapur argues that what was granted to the widows was a widow's estate of inheritance, with the necessary consequence that on their deaths it goes to the next heir of the propositus with all the incidents attaching to such an estate under the Hindu Law except that they had no power of alienation during their lives and that they were not liable to have their estate divested by an adopted son. The expression used in speaking of heirs in the grant is "inherit." In the ordinary line of inheritance by Hindu Law an adopted son never takes after a widow and daughter. Therefore he contends the adopted son was not merely postponed but entirely excluded. This theory is based upon implication ; but is it a necessary implication ? Assuming that the Government intended to exclude the adopted son and the sword wives' sons during the widows' and the daughter's lives, it does not follow that they meant to exclude them for ever for the mere reason that in an ordinary case of inheritance they would take in preference to females.
12. No doubt it is possible to create a widow's estate by will or by grant (vide Ram Bahadur v. Jager Nath Prasad (1918) 3 Pat. L.J., 199, Vengamma v. Chelamayya (1913) I.L.R., 36 Mad., 484 and Mahomed Shumsool v. Shewukram (1874) 2 I.A., 7, and it may even be acquired by prescription (vide In re Pattipati Seshayya (1912) M.W.N., 515, but did the Government create such an estate in this case is the question.
13. Scotland, C.J., and Ellis, J., expressed an opinionin Jijoyiamba Bayi Saiba v. Kamakshi Bayi Saiba (1868) 3 M.H.C.R., 424 that
the order in question was intended to pass and did pass the property to the widows to he held and enjoyed with the same rights as the law of succession gives widows on the devolution of property by inheritance.
14. They held that the interval during which the estate was in the ownership and possession pf Government before the grant was made to the widows was fatal to the fourteenth defendant's claims by right of adoption to the Raja. There was another interval between the death of the Raja and the annexation, so that if the Government meant to restore the estate as it was on the date of their taking it over, there would have been no obstacle to any one who was in existence on the Raja's death and entitled as a male to preference over widows being deemed to succeed directly as lineal heir of the Raja. With due deference to those learned Judges, I consider that they would have been on safer ground if they had disposed of the claim of the adopted son to dispossess the widows during their lifetime by reference to the fact that the grant distinctly designates the widows during their lives and the daughter as persons whom the grant indicated as having a preferential right over all other heirs. I am totally unable to accept Mr. Grant's contention that the daughter is here mentioned merely as an illustration of the course of succession after the death of the last surviving widow. In earlier and later orders Exhibit A-129/4-7-65, Exhibit D-161/31-12-56. Government speak of the Princess's reversionary rights. She evidently was given what may either be described as a vested interest defeasible in the event of her predeceasing the last widow or a contingent interest on her surviving all the widows. Her death at some future date was a certainty but whether she would outlive them all was an uncertain contingency (see illustrations c and d to section 107 of the Indian Succession Act). The succession opened when the last widow died in 1912. As the daughter was not alive on that date, the words "failing her" make it necessary for us to look elsewhere for "the next heirs" of the Raja. I may at once dispose of the plea advanced on behalf of her adopted grandson that "failing her" means "failing her and her heirs," as that involves reading into the grant words that are not there. As the daughter's heirs were not expressly mentioned in the grant and as the interest of third defendant's grandmother was contingent or liable to be divested by her death before the succession fell in, the estate never vested in them. The daughter, who by the terms of the grant herself got nothing if are predeceased the widows, could not transmit a full estate to her heirs before the succession opened [vide Finch v. Lane (1870) L.R., 10 Eq. Cas., 501].
15. There is no occasion for the Court to determine at this time whether what was intended to be given to the Princess was a life estate or an absolute estate, seeing that, whatever it was, she did not live to take it. In Jijoyiamba Bayi Saiba v. Kamakshi Bayi Saiba (1868) 3 M.H.C.R., 445 and 447 mention is made of her "proprietary rights" and "all the legal rights of heirship," whatever that may mean, but she was not a party to that suit and the decree is silent on the subject of her rights at the date when it was decided. When a grant has been made to a woman who ordinarily takes only a limited life interest, whether there was an intention on the part of the grantor to convey an absolute estate, is not a question which falls to be decided in the present case. It is sufficient to say that the designation of the daughter as a person to be preferred to other heirs mark her out as having got something more than a mere spes successionis.
16. As for the adopted son, in a despatch Exhibit A-136 issued four years later, the Secretary of State for India, while approving of the proceedings of the Madras Government, left the validity of his adoption to be decided by the Civil Courts. The grant itself, after designating the widows and the daughter as the persons who should first take the estate, left the next heirs unascertained.
17. In 1862 when the grant was made, it was not possible to predicate which of the late Raja's relations would be, alive at the expiry of eighteen (including the daughter's) lives, much less the order of their succession and the amount of their shares. Prom certain expressions in the Government proceedings it appears probable that Government did not want the daughter to be cut out by an adoption being made by the widows after their husband's death. But when once the daughter was dead and gone, Government was indifferent as to which heir of the Raja got the property. The authorities steadfastly refused to restore the dignity of the Raj, bat they did not reserve to themselves any right to resume the Raja's private property if an adoption was put forward. Their dominant idea seems to have been to provide for the widows and the daughter having the first enjoyment of the estate and that object being secured by the terms of their grant, they left the further determination of the line of succession to its natural course which could only be traced in the light of future events. The result of the grant being worded in favour of the widows' and daughter's priority as heirs was to prevent immediate divestment occurring through an adoption made after the grant and before the death of the last widow. The words "on the death of the last surviving widow" clearly indicate that the time when the next heirs were be ascertained was the date of the last Rani's death. An argument has been based on the use of the words "next heirs" that as an adopted son is never postponed to a widow or a daughter, the words must mean "next after the daughter" in the line of succession of heirs in Hindu Law. In paragraph 4 of the order, the words "next heir of the husband" are used in the sense of "nearest heir of the husband." In paragraph 5 the contest implies that when the Government were speaking of "next heirs" they were thinking of those who would take next after the daughter, as the widows and daughter are placed first in a certain relative order. If several objects are placed in a certain order, and mention is made of one and then of the next, the word "next" ordinarily signifies the next in that order [vide Eastwood v. Lockwood (1867) L.R., 3 Eq, Cas., 487]. But here owing to the death of the daughter, the words "next heir" have lost the significance that they would have had if she had lived. Now that all the widows and the daughter have gone, the original intention of Government to see that the widows and the daughter were not dispossessed so long as they lived becomes unimportant, and therefore these words need not affect our examination of the problem of finding out who was the next heir to the Raja at the death of the last widow. It cannot be maintained that in the terms of the grant there is any conscious or express exclusion, of one who would have even better claims than a daughter at the date when the succession opened. Again there is no reason to assume an intention on the part of the donor to exclude sons by adoption, if what was given was not a widow's estate, but a life estate. The opinion of Scotland, C.J., and Ellis, J., in Jijoyiamba Bayi Saiba v. Kamakshi Bayi Saiba (1868) 3 M.H.C.R., 424 has already been quoted. They considered that the property was passed to the widows "to be held and enjoyed with the same rights as the law of succession gives widows on the devolution of property by inheritance." The terms of this grant came up again for consideration in Kaliana Sundaram Ayyar v. Umamba Bayi Saheba (1897) I.L.R., 20 Mad., 421, where Mr. Justice Shephabd observed that
the inference was irresistible that the intention was to grant a widow's estate, that is, to put Kamakahi Bayi in the position which she would have enjoyed had there been no confiscation on the death of her huaband, the Raja.
Now there is no physical or legal impossibility in such a grant being made by will or by deed of gift or contract [vide Mahomed Shumsool v. Shewukram (1874) 2 I.A., 7, Ram Bahadur v. Jager Nath Prasad (1918) 3 Pat. L.J., 199 (F.B.) and Vengamma v. Chelamayya (1913) I.L.R., 36 Mad., 484 ; but after giving the fullest consideration to the opinions of those learned Judges of this Court who have had the terms of this grant before them, I think that the more correct view is that the widows of Sivaji Raja got the gift of a life estate very much resembling the ordinary estate of a Hindu widow and with all the incidents of a widow's estate except the liability to be divested, but nevertheless a life estate rather than an estate of inheritance, and that this view is in consonance with the decisions of the Privy Council in the Tagore case (1872) I.A., Sup., Vol. 47 at 75, Mahamed Shumsool v. Shewukram (1874) 2 I.A., 7, Mussumat Bhagbutti Daee v. Chowdry Bholanath Thakoor (1875) 2 I.A., 256, Bhagabati Barmanya v. Kalicharan Singh (1911) I.L.R., 38 Calc., 468 and Bhupendra Krishna Ghost v. Amarendra Nath Dey (1916) I.L.R., 43 Calc., 432 at 439 and with the judgment of the Calcutta High Court in Gooroo Das Mustafi v. Sarat Chunder Mustafi (1902) I.L.R., 29 Calc., 699 at 705.
18. I am impelled to this view by a consideration of the fact that there is in the grant a clear gift over in the alternative to the daughter or to other heirs of her father, a fact which seems to have escaped the notice of the Bench, which decided Jijoyiamba Bayi Saiba v. Kamakshi Bayi Saiba (1868) 3 M.H.C.R., 424, in that the nature of the estate given to the daughter was not defined in their preliminary judgment, though in the final judgment Exhibit D-61 and the decree Exhibit B-179 there are observations as to Kamakshi Bai proprietary right for life which are consistent with the grant to her and her co-widows being that of a life estate. At a later date the Government aeem to have approached the widows and daughter with a request to transfer a certain building and grounds for a college as if they had a disposing power as reversioners of the Raja's estate. Exhibit B-48. If Kamakshi Bai had taken the estate as a Hindu widow, she would have completely represented the estate for the time being, and could have disposed of it for a necessary purpose without consulting the daughter (vide Mussa-mat Bhagbutti Daee v. Qhowdry Bholanath Thakfor (1875) 2 I.A., 256 at 261.
19. For these reasons I find that the right of the after-adopted son and his descendants to succeed after the death of the widows and daughter was not negatived by the grant. The daughter was never made a stock of descent and her adoption of a son confers no title on him, seeing that the conditions on which she was to succeed were not fulfiled. As for the Mangala Vilas people, I reserve what I have to say till I deal with their special case under other heads, but for the present it may be noticed, first that the terms of the grant are not such as to exclude them from the category of next heirs of the Raja, he being the stock of descent to whom relationship has to be traced, and secondly the fact that they and the daughter were given annuities under another Government Order will not stand in the way of their coming in as heirs if they can prove a right of inheritance apart from a right to maintenance.
20. The first mention of sword marriage that occurs in the records of this case is in Exhibit B-140, which is a Mahratti inscription which has been ascertained to date from the beginning of the 19th century and to have been written round the walls of the Tanjore temple in the reign of Serfoji Raja. This inscription states that Tukkoji had five married wives. It proceeds-- "Besides these, he had six concubines, of whom only one belonged to Mahratta caste ; the other five belonged to Nayudu race; The one who belonged to Mahratta caste was married to the sword." (The Mahratta words are "Tulwarlagna kalai)".... "In 1641 this kept woman Annapurna Bai gave birth to Raja Pratapa Singh." The mother of Pratapa Singh is again referred to a little further on as a kept woman (Rakya) as distinguished from a lawfully wedded wife. (Lagna). Mention later is made of Mukta Bai, who Was Serfoji's mistress before his regular marriage, a woman of Kavarai caste in whose honour he erected a chattram, but the document does not state that she was his sword wife. Pratapa Singh had a sword wife named Radha Bai. This Pratapa Singh was the son of Raja Pratapa Singh's second son Amar Singh who was himself deposed partly on account of his being only a sword wife's son.
21. In Sir John Malcolm's Memoir of Central India published in 1832, Volume 2, page 158, mention is made of a kind of sword marriage which is described thus:
The sword of the Mahratta ruler, with his handkerchief bound round it, represented the Prince, and to that the female was united ; she married the wearer of the sword, not the shepherd.
The incident therein referred to was that of a marriage between Holkar who was a Sudra with a woman of Khettree blood, and the sword marriage marked the difference between the caste of the bride and the bridegroom. In this respect, there is a distinction between that marriage and the one referred to in the inscription. Annapurna Bai (it is stated) being of the same caste as the Raja was married to the sword, whereas the other concubines were not so married.
22. In Mr. Enthoven's Tribes and Castes of Bombay, Volume III, page 280, there is another description of of sword marriage among Rajputs,
The bridegroom puts a sword and a coconut in charge of a maid servant who takes his place in a litter and is taken in procession to the bride's house where the maid servant sits holding the sword and represents the bridegroom even in the ceremony of joining hands with the bride.
23. The Resident of Tanjore in reporting Exhibit D-24 in 1849 on the dependants of Raja Pratapa Singh informed. the Government that persons in the situation of Radha Bai "the concubine of the late Rajestry", were "not considered in the light of a common mistress or prostitute but rather that of an inferior wife." He adds:
She is recognized and associated with by the lawful wife. She cannot be put away destitute, and if put away is entitled to maintenance.
24. He compared the right to consideration of a woman who has gone through the ceremony of sword marriage to the rights of a "Nikka" wife among Muhammadans.
25. Mr. Forbes, another Resident of Tanjore, in reporting Exhibit D-35 in 1856 on the state of the Tanjore Palace atter the Rajas death, mentions the case of ten dancing girls whom the Raja was said to have promised to make sword wives. He proceeds to describe the nature of sword marriage ; but he does not mention the sources of his information or say that he himself had ever witnessed a sword marriage. He says:
There are two kinds of marriages among the Mahratttas --one in which the tali is tied round the neck of the bride by the bridegroom whose full wife she then be'comes, the other in which the tali is tied to a sword, a ceremony which constitutes the woman a permanent concubine of the man.
26. Sonabhadra Bai who was one of Serfoji's twenty-six sword wives examined as a witness in a suit of 1865 describes the ceremony. Exhibit D-56. She said that the Raja with his own hand tied a tali round her neck and he then had a sword in his hand. Bhavani Bai, another sword wife who was a witness in the same case, gave a similar description. Exhibit D-57. In the present case, the last surviving sword wife of the late Raja by name Dharmavalli Bai was examined as a witness and she stated that a sword was placed and homam was performed and she came round the homam while the men chanted mantrams. After she had prostrated herself before the Maharaja, he tied the tali. Sheadds that seven or eight women were married at the same time and all were married in the same fashion with the placing of the sword. It is significant that there is no mention of the giving of the bride to the bridegroom, an essential feature of every valid marriage. A case of sword marriage once came before this Court and was reported in Ramasami Kamaya Naik v. Sundaralingasami Kamaya Naik (1894) I.L.R., 17 Mad., 422. In that case there was a dagger employed instead of a sword. The Zamindar of Saptur who was the bridegroom was of Kumbla caste, while the bride was of Vellala caste. Both these are subdivisions of the same Sudra caste and the learned Judges (Muttuswawi Atyar and Davies, JJ.) explained the presence of the dagger at the marriage as being due to the inferiority of the bride's status. There the tali or bottu was tied in the presence of the dagger, the dagger being placed to represent the zamindar who did not attend in person. ' But there was a performance of the customary rites of the Kumbla caste in addition to the use of the dagger (page 425). It was held that the woman was the wife of the zamindar, but inferior in status to that of a patni wife. The dagger marriage was held to be analogous to an anulomu, marriage, that is, a marriage between a man of a higher caste and a woman of a lower caste (page 436). We have it on the authority of the tutor of the Mangala Vilas children (defendants' witness No. 32) that the sword wives of the late Raja Sivaji were drawn from several castes different from the Baja's caste and that there were Mahrattas, Sudras, Ayyangars and Christians among them. We know from a mortgage deed Exhibit A-266 that one of them was a Brahman woman. There are other judicial decisions which have not found place in the law reports, but are exhibited in this case. In Original Suit No. 5 of 1899, a suit brought by a reversioner in Amar Singh's branch, which settled at Tiruvadamarudur in the Tanjore district, the Subordinate Judge of Kumbakonam found that there was no such form of marriage as sword marriage recognized in Hindu Law and that Radha Bai was not the lawfully wedded wife of Pratapa Singh but only his concubine and her daughter's son was not a reversioner but the child of an illegitimate mother. Two witnesses examined at the trial stated Exhibits D-217 and D-218 that the bride held the tip of the sword while the bridegroom held the handle and in that state they went round the sacred fire in the Palace, and that tying of tali, taking seven steps, homam and other ceremonies were performed simultaneously. The Pundit declared that sword marriage was a Gandharva form of marriage peculiar to Kshatriyas the distinctive feature of Gandharva marriage being that there is no giving away of the bride. In another case 27. Mr. Knox, the District Judge, upon a petition Exhibit E-69 for a succession certificate presented by one of the Mangala Vilas children, the father of the present eleventh defendant, observed:
These women, called sword wives are concubines and their children are illegitimate children of the late Raja. No authority exists i'br treating them otherwise than according to the ordinary laws of the Hindus.
28. The certificate of heirship to the estate of another sword wife was consequently refused.
29. The accounts of sword marriage thus differ in details, but they agree on one point, the presence of a sword or dagger which is the token of Kshatriyaship, the weapon of the warrior class.
30. In Mr. Ganapathi Ayyar's Hindu Law, Volume I, page 491, the author refers to Ramasami Kamaya Naik v. Sundaralingasami Kamaya Naik (1894) I.L.R., 17 Mad., 422, and he states.
Among the Kshatriya castes, there is a form of marriage known as the sword or dagger marriage (kadga vivaha) and this prevails even now among some Zamindar families.
31. He refers to the Jyotirvidabharanam by Kalidasa, the date of which is unknown, in which there is a description of sword marriage. That commentator says:
Wise men should perform Brahma and other marriages in which the lotus hand (of the bride) is received (by the bridegroom) at the time stated before, and the Grandharva, Paishachi, Rakshasa and Asura (forms of marriage) at any time.
32. Then he observes:
Among all Varnas in all ages the first four forms of marriage are praiseworthy, according to the above maxim, but other forms (Gandharva, etc.) are performed in the Kali age.
In the Kali age a king should perform the auspicious sword marriage ceremony in the summer solstice when the star is auspicious for marriage in the evening.
34. This is an authority for the theory that a sword marriage is an institution peculiar to Kshatriyas and is not common to persons of other castes. If this is so, the legitimacy of the children of sword wives of the late Raja of Tanjore will depend on the question to be considered later, namely, whether he was a Kshatriya or Sudra by caste. Mr. Ganapathi Ayyar gives it as his opinion that the use of the dagger is in lieu of the seizure of the hand (Karagraha or Panigraha) which is observed in the ordinary forms of marriage. The Mahratta chieftains (he says) used to resort to this form of marriage. Now a sword or a dagger (tulwar or kadga) is essentially an emblem of the warrior or Kshatriya whose profession is that of arms. It is noticeable that in Exhibit B-140 the tharwar (or tulwar) is mentioned 'in speaking of the sword marriage of Annapurna Bai to Tukkoji Raja, and that the word Panigraha is used when, speaking of the wives who were married according to the ordinary forms of marriage in which the wives became united to the Raja in lawful wedlock as distinguished from kept women (Rakkiya).
35. In order to constitute a lawful marriage among Hindus, it is essential that certain nuptial rites should be performed ; otherwise the marriage is only a Gandharva marriage, or, as it is described in Brindavana v. Radhamani (1889) I.L.R., 12 Mad., 72 at p. 75 "a marriage importing an amorous connection founded on reciprocal desire," in fact, a marriage in a form which has become obsolete. See Maies's Hindu Law, paragraph 83 and Visvanathaswamy Naicker v. Kamu Ammal (1913) 24 M.L.J., 271.
36. The Subordinate Judge finds that the sword wives of the late Raja were legitimate but inferior wives. Somewhat inconsistently he has given their offspring the shares which illegitimate children are entitled to under the Hindu Law. It appears to me that there can be no half way house between legitimacy and illegitimacy. It is necessary to find either that the sword wives were regularly married or that they were concubines whose offspring are illegitimate. Lists of the sword wives in the Tanjore Mangala Vilas Establishment Exhibits D.37, D-19-A, and D-86 have been filed. The first list divides the sword wives into Ammamars and Baimars and Ranganayaki, etc. The second distinguishes between the Ammamars of Ayyan Mahal and the Baimars of Huzur Mahal, but this document is unsigned and proof of its authenticity is wanting. There is clear evidence, which no one disputes, that all the sword wives lived in one institution called Mangala Vilas. There was a similar institution for sword wives of Serfoji which was called the Kalyana Mahal. The inmates of these institutions were kept behind the purdah and were not allowed to mingle with the outside world after their introduction into the Palace. Exhibit D-35, para graph 12, Exhibit A-7 p. 186. They had prefixed to their names the honorific title of Sowbhagyavathy (literally "a woman having good fortune") or Sumangali (one who has a husband or protector) which are terms ordinarily associated with married women. After the Raja died this was altered to Mathusris (widows). Their children prefixed the title of Vijaya to their names to indicate their royal descent, Vijeswara being the Raja's favourite deity. Much may. be gathered from the treatment accorded to them by the Raja, so far as the records are available of such treatment Exhibit D-82 (Raja provided four villages for their maintence and Goverment confirmed the gift) and from the way in which they speak of themselves in official documents and petitions and legal proceedings in which they were parties. Evidence of this kind is conduct admissible under section 50 of the Evidence Act (see illustration b), as it shows the repute in which sword marriage was held in this family. In a manu script obtained from the Oriental Library in Madras Exhibit B-141 the reflections of Tulsaji on his death-bed are recorded, and it is there stated that before making the adoption, he regretted the stigma attached to his father Pratapa Singh owing to his father having been born to a mother whom Tukkoji had not married. It is unnatural that the Raja should have voluntarily cast a stain on his ancestor's legitimacy unless there was some truth in the fact. In those days sword marriage was evidently not considered as conferring a status equal to that of a lawful wife. The last Raja Sivaji thought of adopting a son at a time when he had six natural sons. If they were fit to be his heirs there was no need for an adoption to be made. There is no evidence that any invitations to relations and officials were issued when the sword marriages of the Raja to the Mangala Vilas women were performed. The 5th Defendant, who is the son of a sword wife, admitted that he and other sword wives' sons took no part in the Raja's funeral ceremonies. The adopted son (Rajaram) performed the Raja's obsequies. The sword wives seem to have all worn Mangalasnthrams or talis and to have removed their talis at the Raja's death when they were given addierais Exhibits D-12 and D-34, D-236, p. 522 A-7, p. l88 instead. The children of different sword wives have not been treating each other as brothers and sisters as, would be the case with consanguine children of co-widows of legitimate descent. The children of Mangala Vilas ladies in some cases have married pure-blooded persons of the Mahratta community, but some social stigma seems to be attached to such marriages as the witnesses--D.Ws. 83, 84, 31, 16, 87--who have spoken to their existence admit Exhidits D-215, 217, E-100, p. 67. The attitude of the children and grandchildren born of sword wives in this family as to their legitimacy has been inconsistent. When it has suited their purpose to be illegitimate sons, for instance, when they want to obtain the share of the illegitimate son of a Sudra, they style themselves illegitimate. When they want to recover the Raj or to cut out the adopted son, they pose as legitimate offspring. The 4th Defendant in his written statement alleged that he was legitimate, but asserted that Pratapa Singh was an illegitimate son of Tukkoji. Defendants 5 and 7 to 11 alleged that sword marriage conferred on them the status of royal children born in wedlock and that they had a right to exclude an adopted son from succession. But in the alternative they pleaded their right as illegitimate children of a Sudra to take the shares appropriate to such illegitimate children. In his letter of November 4th, 1880, to the Governor of Madras, Exhibit C-28 7th Defendant claimed as sword wife's son of a Raja to be the rightful heir to the Raj. In legal proceedings to which they have been parties from time to time Exhibits A-468, G-209, A-198, C-46 these sword wives' sons have described themselves as illegitimate and they have been consistently described as illegitimate or natural children by Government officers Exhibits D-60, D-62, D-65, D-85 and by the legitimate wives and relations Exhibits A-134 paragraph 69, A-137, paragraph 2 and the establishment in which they lived has been described as a "Seraglio". For instance in the plaint Exhibit A-464 in O.S. No. 39 of 1908 in which the father of the 11th Defendant was Plaintiff, he coupled Dharmavalli Bai, a sword wife with a pension of Rs. 150 and Hira Amma, a dancing girl with a pension of Rs. 70 Exhibit D-86 and described them as "members of the congregation or women known as Mangala Vilasam attached to the Tanjore Palace." In the plaint Exhibit G-209 in O.S. No. 30 of 1911 on the file of the Sub-Court, Kumbakonam, in which the 5th and 7th Defendants in the present suit were Plaintiffs and 4th Defendant was a Defendant, it is stated that the Raja left behind him "6 illegitimate sons born to him by Mangala Vilas ladies." 7th Defendant in his evidence says they instituted the suit as illegitimate sons acting under the advice of their legal advisers. In a mortgage deed Exhibit A-198 executed by the 5th Defendant he describes himself as the son of Mathusri Meena Bai "attached to the Mangala Vilasam." In a petition Exhibit C-40 sent to the viceroy of India in 1880 and in a letter to the Chattram Tahsildar Exhibit C-59 the 4th Defendant describes himself as a "natural" son of His Highness the Sivaji Maharaja, "natural" being used in the sense of not born in lawful wedlock--vide Brewer's and Webster's dictionaries. In a letter addressed to the Governor of Madras in 1880 Exhibit C-28 he compares his status as sword wife's son to that of Amar Singh, son of Pratapa Singh, who was not regarded as a legitimate son.
37. On behalf of the Maharaja of Kolhapur it is contended that the marriages of the mothers of the 4th and 5th Defendants and the grandmothers of Defendants 6 to 11 have not been proved in fact to be legitimate marriages, but as regards Pratapa Singh, through whom this defendant traces his connextion with the Tanjore line, it is argued that Annapurni was married to Tukkoji according to the records available and that there is nothing to show that the marriage in fact was not a marriage in law. Reference has been made to Inderun Valungypooly Taver v. Ramasawmy Pandia Talaver (1809) 13 M.I.A., 141 at 158, as to the presumption in favour of a marriage in fact being a marriage in law, and to Mouji Lal v. Ghandrabati Kumari (1911) I.L.R., 38 Calc., 700 (P.C.) in which a strong presumption in favour of the validity of a marriage and the legitimacy of the offspring was held to arise when a couple were regarded as man and wife, and evidence was only wanting as to the mental capacity of one of the parties and as to the performance of the forms and ceremonies necessary to constitute the marriage a valid one.
38. In the district of Ceylon, whence the case' came winch went to the Privy Council in Sastry Velaider Aronegary v. Sembecutty Vaigalie (1881) 6 A.C., 364 there was evidence that wives were treated differently from concubines and that the parties went through some form of marriage, and that the woman was treated by the man as his wife and yet their Lordships drew a presumption of legitimacy though there was no evidence that the form in which the marriage was celebrated was a legal one. At Tanjore a distinction was made in the treatment of sword wives and dancing girls, at any rate after the Raja's death. So it is a legitimate inference that sword wives were regarded as superior to dancing girls in the Tanjore Palace, the latter having nopermanent status. But when the status of sword wives is compared to that of Ranis, the presumption arising from mere co-habitation is weakened by the undeniable fact that there were a number of women in an institution of their own kept apart from the Ranis or recognized wives, and there were also dancing girls, or professional concubines dedicated to some temple, in the keeping of the same husband. One of the sword wives of Serfoji Exhibit D-56 admitted that the patta wives wore gold jewels, on their legs and sat equally on the throne with the Maharaja ; whereas the sword wives wore silver jewels and were not accorded the dignity of sitting with the Maharaja. When sword wives died, their corpses were carried through a different gate from that used for the funerals of Ranis. D.W. 26, p. 312 A-27, p. 200-6. The full period of pollution was not observed at their deaths, as the Raja married 17 wives on July 18th, 1852, though a sword wife Maya Bai died on July 13th, 1852 Exhibits D-30, A-13 and A-14. The maintenance and clothing of sword wives is consistent with their being in the permanent keeping of the Raja. The treatment of the children was such as would naturally be accorded to illegitimate children. In social and ceremonial matters they appear to have associated with the Ranis or lawfully wedded wives. Much oral evidence has been let in as to the performance of ceremonies such as sunmuk (introduction of mother-in-law to daughter-in-law), badan (uncovering leaf by bridegroom's sister). mathrupuja (worship of mother), bowbiz (exchange of presents), feet washing, barsa (or tonsure) and vidyabhyasa (initiation into studies) and as to the repetition of sradhs by children of sword wives to their paternal ancestors, which would be impossible for children of common prostitutes, and as to the interchange of ahaira (small pieces of cloth). These sword wives seem to have performed ceremonies at child birth such as jatakarmam, barsa, etc., Exbibts D-18, D-19 and D-28 which indicate a conscious assertion of a wish to be treated as married women. In Bai Monghibai v. Bai Nagubai (1923) I.L.R., 47 Bom., 401 reference is made to Mayne's Hindu Law and other authorities which show that when there is a permanent connexion of women with a man analogous to that of female' slaves in former times, the women and their offspring have been recognized as members of the family. This seems to have been the case at Tanjore. As permanent concubines they were members of the family and naturally took part in feast and ceremonials. The wearing of the tali by the sword wives only indicated their permanent connexion with the Raja. Temporary concubines and prostitutes would not have been given talis because talis are badges of the permanence of the union.
39. As to the legitimacy of Pratapa Singh, owing to the distance of time there is more room for a presumption of legitimacy being made. But the verdict of history is that he was illegitimate. The Subordinate Judge says that his sonship to a sword wife was a matter of local tradition. History relates that he was put on the throne by the popular vote owing to his good looks and his other good qualities in spite of his being a sword wife's son. We know from the inscription that his mother was of the same caste as her husband. The earliest of the historians is Orme. He speaks in 1861Exhibit G-211, p. 108 or Pratapa bingh as the son ot Serbogee born by one of his inferior wives. Mill's History of India Exhibit G-212 is to the same effect. Grant Doff plainly says that he was the son of a concubine. Aitchison's Treatise Exhibit B-172, P. 67 speaks of Pratapa Singh as of illegitimate birth. Ranade in his "Rise of the Mahratta Power" at page 248 says the Same Mill in hi8 History of Indla Exhibit G-212 in his later edition speaks of Pratapa Singh as the son of a concubine. Mr. Kincaid in his History of the Mahratta People, Vol. II, page 273, says that Tukkoji left two legitimate sons and a natural son Pratapa Singh, Mr. Venkasami Rao, who wrote the Tanjore District Manual, observes "that Pratapa Singh was illegitimate is nowhere denied." These historians probably extracted the fact that Pratapa Singh was the son of a sword wife from the Tanjore temple inscription and drew their own conclusion as to the meaning of sword marriage, or the later writers may have accepted the verdict of the earlier. Dr. Swartz, the tutor of Serfoji, addressed the Governor-General on behalf of his ward and pupil. He attached to his letter a genealogy. Exhibit B-81 (a). This shows three sons Nana Sahib, Anna Sahib and Pratapa Singh born to Tukkoji by a concubine mother, and Pratapa Singh is shown as having left one son by his wife and two by a concubine, viz., Amar Singh and Krishnaswami. Mr. Swartz in his letter to Lord Hobart Exhibit A-455 states that he made careful inquiries as to the correctness of this pedigree. During the course of the hearing we directed that the Government of India and the Government of Madras should be addressed, for the production of the original genealogy from which Exhibit B-81 (a) is a copy in order to see whether the description "born to a concubine" is in Swartz's own handwriting, but as the original is not now forthcoming, the statement must be taken for what it is worth. At this distance of time no evidence is forthcoming as to the ceremonies performed when Tukkoji married Annapurni. It may be presumed that the ordinary ceremonies attached to the institution of sword marriage were performed on that occasion. But, if, as I am inclined to hold, sword marriage is an institution peculiar to Kshatriyas and if it is proved that Tukkoji was only a Sudra in caste, there can be no presumption as to the legitimacy of the offspring of such a marriage.
40. As sword marriage is an institution peculiar to Kshatriyas the sword being one of the characteristic insignia of the Kshatriya caste, the performance of ceremonies, if any, which fell short of a valid marriage by a Sudra ruler in a form of marriage recognized among Sudras, did not give rise to any higher status than permanent concubinage. There are indications that the members of the family were conscious that this was so.
41. Mr. Justice Ranade in his "Rise of the Mahratta Power," page 271, mentions the celebration of a marriage between the daughter of the Nizam of Hyderabad, who was a Muhammadan, and the Peshwa, Balaji Rao, who was a Brahman, and the form of the marriage was in that case a sword marriage. This is another indication that the presence of the sword indicates a difference in caste between the bridegroom and the bride.
42. There is evidence that a Tonk was put up to Mukta Bai. A Tonk is an image of a deceased person put in a temple. It is a very unconvincing piece of evidence to prove the status of sword wives. In my judgment no importance should be attached to the suggestion that the memory of sword wives was kept alive by Tonks, as it does not appear certain that Mukta Bai was a sword wife and not a mistress of Serfoji. Moreover, we find that Tonks were put up even to a servant put to death by Pratapa Singh and to a minister, to propitiate their ghosts.
43. On the question of caste the Subordinate Judge has come to the conclusion that the late Raja Sivaji was a Sudra, and I see no reason to doubt the correctness of this finding. The difficulty in arriving at a correct decision on this point is chiefly caused by the fact that Mahratta is the name of a nation, not of a caste. Certainly not all Mahrattas are of Kshatriya caste. Kunbis, who belong to the cultivating caste, are also Mahrattas. Mr. Enthoven, I.C.S., in his "Tribes and Castes of Bombay," Volume III, page 9, states :
The common belief in Maharastra regarding the origin of Mahrathas is that there is little or no difference, so far as caste is concerned between Mahrathas and Kunbis."...."The Kunbis do not lay any pretensions to Kshatriya origin.
44. The author in another place says:
The line of demarcation between Mahrattas and Kunbis is not a hard and fast one ;" but "they are differentiated rather by wealth and social status than by any hard and fast caste distinction. The claim of the Mahrathas to belong to the ancient 96 families of the Kshatriya race has no foundation in fact, but must have been advanced after they rose to power.
45. Compare also the Satara Gazetteer, pages 75 to 79, and the Kolhapur Gazetteer, pages 71 and 72. The tradition that Mahrattas have a Rajput origin and that they are Kshatriyas may have received credit in Rajputana owing to a natural desire of Rajputs to connect themselves with a personality so famous as that of Sivaji the Great. There is no evidence that Kshatriyaship was claimed before the time of Sivaji the Great. It is a matter of history that Sivaji paid four lakhs of rupees to Gaga Bhat, a Brahmin of Benares, in order to have his upanayanam (thread marriage) performed when he was 47 years of age, and to be raised to the rank of a Kshatriya at the time of his coronation. In the Kolhapur Gazetteer, page 72, it is stated that the descendants of Sivaji claim to belong to the Kshatriya caste and say that their ceremonies are the same as those of Brahmins. The author proceeds :
Brahmins admit this claim in the case of the ruling family and perform their ceremonies with Vedic texts. The ceremonies of other Kolhapur Mahratta families are performed according to the Sudra Kamalakara, a classical Sanskrit version of the Vedic passages. The well-to-do among the Kolhapur Mahrattas claim to perform the sixteen Brahmin sacraments or Sanskars, but the bulk of the people perform no ceremonies except at birth, thread girding, marriage, coming of age, and death.
46. Sivaji from dynastic reasons had a necessity to put forward a claim to the highest rank in order to found a Hindu Kingdom and to arouse Hindu national sentiments capable of withstanding the encroaching spread of the Moghul Empire. It is natural for that reason that no Hindu should wish to challenge his claim to Kshatriya rank at the time of his coronation. There is, however, no evidence of any coronation ceremony with Brahminical rites having been performed, when any of the rulers in the Tanjore branch ascended the musnad. It is unnecessary for the purpose of this case that we should make any pronouncement as to the right of Sivaji and his descendants to claim that they belong to the Kshatriya caste, though it is a matter of great, moment to the direct descendants from Sivaji such as the Maharaja of Kolhapur, who is the fifteenth defendant, and to the fourteenth and twenty-fourth defendants, who represent the Satara and Jinti branches, that they should not be degraded by a judicial decision to which they are parties. Whether it is more correct to adopt the view of Mr. Justice TelANg in his essay called "Gleanings from Mahratha chronicles" embodied in Mr. Justice Ranade's "Rise of the Mahratha Power" at page 288 where he says:
Taking the whole evidence together, it looks like a case of a more or less deliberate manipulation of facts and religious rules, in aid of a foregone conclusion adopted for a purely political purpose
whether we believe the story given in J. Sarkar's "Shivaji," pages 240-246, that Sivaji underwent a public purification for having omitted to observe Kshatriya rites so long and that there was a meeting among the assembled Brahmins who asserted that there was no true Kshatriya in the Kali age when Gaga Bhat attempted to initiate Sivaji with Vedic mantrams and that he finally yielded to opposition and initiated him in a modified form of the life of the twice-born, or whether we should rather adopt the view of Mr. Sen in his recent book called Siva Chhatrapati, published while these appeals were awaiting a hearing, that the argument that there were many Sudra kings without any knowledge of Kshatriya rites, though urged for the space of a year and a half, had no effect on Gaga Bhat but that he was finally prevailed upon to crown Sivaji by the plea that he was kind to his subjects and maintained the true religion (pages 241-242), or whether the version given in Subasat's Bakar, page 114, that Gaga Bhat was satisfied by means of an emissary sent to Rajputana that Sivaji's ancestors came from Kshatriya families and that he was a Suddha (proper) Kshatriya is correct, it is unnecessary to express any opinion on this much vexed question whether Sivaji represented a fallen Kshatriya restored after penance or a good Sudra king elevated to Kshatriya rank by bribing the Brahmins, upon which historians have been at controversy, for two reasons--firstly because, assuming that Sivaji and his descendants are Kshatriyas, it does not follow that Ekoji, his half-brother, who did not go through the ceremonies of purification and coronation, as Sivaji did, and his descendants are anything more than Sudras, seeing that the two brothers separated before the date of Sivaji's coronation ; and secondly because, if my finding is correct that Pratapa Singh was illegitimate owing to his mother not having been married to Tukkoji in any authorized form of marriage, the agnates in the Kolhapur, Satara and Jinti branches can have no claim to succeed to the property of the late Baja of Tanjore.
47. Now, turning to the evidence available in the Tanjore branch, and accepting the principle that the consciousness of a community is a good test of Varna, we may see if this branch's claim to Kshatriya origin has satisfied the test. Maloji was a Mahratta of the Bhonsle family ; Ekoji's mother was a Mohitai. Mr. Bartle Frere, who was the Resident of Satara in 1848, in his narrative of the early history of the Bhonsles of Satara, Exhibit F-39 says:
The Bhonsles, like most of the old Mahratta families, had pretensions to a Rajput origin.
48. He adds:
the Bhonsles of Deoor near Satara who are said originally to have come from Hingunburdee near Poona and from whom the Rajas of Nagpur are descended, are generally supposed to have been connected with the Satara House but the relationship has never been established.
49. There is no evidence that the Bhonsles had a Kshatriya origin beyond the temple inscription Exhibit B-140 which mentions Bhonsle, Mohitai, Nimbalkar, Ghantake and Jadav and other names familiar in the history of Shahji's parents among the 96 Sannavaguli branches descended from Rama, and the similarity of the names'--Yadava, Rajput, Jadav (N.B.--Shahji's wife was the daughter of Jadava Rao--vide Kincaid, Vol. I, page 116) and between Bhonsle, Bhosle, Sissode, and Bhosavat a village in Udaipur (vide Kincaid, page 113, footnote, and Sen's Siva Chhatrapati, Notes and Appendices, page 260, as to the three possible derivations of the word Bhonsle).
50. Again the Mahratta family name of Powar has been attempted to be identified with Puar---vide Malcolm's Memoir of Central India, Vol. I, page 99, in his chapter on the Puars of Dhar and Vol. II, pages 125 and
126. Such conjectural evidence may satisfy the historian, the ethnologist, or the philologist, but will not do for a Court of law which looks for strict proof of the pedigree of an individual or the lineage of a particular family. An individual in England who laid claim to be descended from royalty would not advance his case far by merely showing that his mother's maiden name happened to be King. Mr. Ketkar in his History of Caste in India, Vol. I, at page 65, speaks of Yavanas or Greeks, which were mentioned by Manu as a warrior tribe, which became Sudras by not consulting the Brahmanas.
51. Kamakshi Bai made two very significant admissions during her lifetime. The first was when she brought her Bill in Equity for the recovery of the Tanjore estate-and she said that her husband was a Mahratta of the Sudra caste and the fact was accepted by Rawlinson, C.J., who observed in his judgment in The Secretary of State in Council of India v. Kamachee Baye Sahaba (1859) 7 M.I.A., 476 at 495 that the Raja was "a Hindoo of the Soodra caste." Although the other widows who were parties to the suit may not have been, interested in opposing Kamakshi Bai's statement of fact that the Raja was a Sudra, it is likely that the East India Company as defendant would have raised the defence that the Plaintiffs were dwijas if they had thought that the Bill could be defeated on that ground. There is nothing to indicate that such an objection to Kamakshi Bai's Bill was ever thought of then. In those days pleadings were drawn up with much preciseness, and, in claiming the property of a deceased man, it may have been thought necessary that the widow should describe him very fully, name, age, caste, etc. Interrogatories were served on every point asserted in the plaint, as it was not a statutory rule in those days as it is now under Order VIII, rule 5, Civil Procedure Code, that every allegation of fact not specifically denied in the written statement was to be taken as admitted. The explanation now offered that Kamakshi Bai, being the sister's daughter of her husband, was in danger of having her marriage declared void if she claimed to be a twice born is not a convincing explanation. The natural tendency of human beings is to claim a higher caste or status rather than a lower one, so that the statement of Kamakshi Bai that Sivaji was a Sudra is all the more remarkable, if he was really a Kshatriya. It appears to be an honest statement of the truth. Then, in reporting the adoption of Rajaram, Kamakshi Bai Exhibit A-74 stated
although there are no mere formalities such as Datta Homam required to be performed for common classes under the prescribed rules of Hindu Law, yet, as from the days of the late Serfoji Maharaja, we do observe the same rules as are prescribed for higher classes.
52. This is a remarkable admission that, though they belonged to a family of Sudras, they had been aping Kshatriyas by performing the ceremonies prescribed for higher classes since the days of Serfoji. The motive for this incorrect statement, assuming it to be incorrect, is suggested to be that Kamakshi Bai wished to get over the objection of the other widows that Datta Homam had not been done for the adopted son at the death-bed of his adoptive father. Mr. Norton may have thought that if the claim of the adopted son was put forward when Datta Homam had not been done and if he styled himself as a Kshatriya, the claim might fail. I think that this explanation is too far fetched.
53. Then, in a suit Exhibit D-93 to establish an adoption, the Civil Judge, Mr. Davidson, recorded a judicial finding that the Tanjore Royal family belonged to the Sudra caste "beyond all shadow of doubt." The parties were relations to the Tanjore royal family and the Court that tried the case had not, the evidence before it which we have in the present case. The decision is relevant as an instance in which the caste of the family received judicial notice, though it is not binding on the present parties as res judicata.
54. In the Bombay Presidency a suit Exhibit. A-170 and 171 was tried in which the parties were Nimbalkars and soorves connected by marriage with the Tanjore branch. The Subordinate Judge found the parties to be Sudras: the Assistant Judge reversed his finding and found that they were Kshatriyas. The case came up in Second Appeal to the High Court of Bombay. The suit was in the end dismissed. The judgment in which it was found that the parties were Sudras has not been produced. The finding that Mahrattas were Kshatriyas was arrived at without any active contention. The plaintiff was not willing to succeed on a finding that he was a Sudra. As pieces of evidence these judgments are inconclusive.
55. The description of the relations of the Tanjore Raja's family of themselves as Kshatriyas, in sales, mortgages and other documents of title does not carry much weight. There seems to have been a division of opinion among the community; probably those who asserted that they were Sudras and those who claimed to be Kshatriyas each acted from personal motives in order to get some advantage for themselves. One of these instances is a suit Exhibit E-100 by a reversioner belonging to the Tiruvadamarudur branch to recover property in which the plaintiff admitted that he did not belong to the Kshatriya caste. The judgment is useful in another connexion as containing a finding on the validity of the form of sword marriage, by which Radha Bai was united to Pratapa Singh.
56. As regards the inclusion of Bhonsle and other Mahratta family names, with which the Tanjore family was connected, among the 96 Sannavagulis mentioned in the inscription, it is conceded that these names are borne also by families who are admittedly Kunbis. Mr. Risley in his "People of India" pages 87 and 88, observes
The highest class of Mahrattas is supposed to consist of ninety-six families, who profess to be of Rajput descent and to represent the Kshatriyas of the traditional system. Bat their claim to kinship with the Rajput is effectually refuted by the anthropometric data now published and by the survival among them of Kuldevaks or totems.... A wealthy Kunbi, however, occasionally gains promotion to and marries into the higher grade and claims brevet rank as a Kshatriya. The fact seems to be that the ninety-six superior families represent Kunbis who came to the front during the decline of the Moghul Empire, won for themselves princedoms or estates, claimed the rank of landed gentry, and asserted their dignity by refusing their daughters to their less distinguished brethren.
57. In fact, the case of those who maintain that this family is a Kshatriya family has not been consistent throughout. They began by claiming that all Mahrattas were Kshatriyas. This was obviously untenable as it is noborious that there are Mahratta Brahmins and Mahratta Sudras. Then some witnesses said that all the Sannavagulis were Kshatriyas. This also failed because it is impossible to ascertain who the Sannavagulis are. There are among them Kunbis, who are admittedly Sudras with house names auch as those borne by Mahrattas, who emulate Kshatriyas. Some belonging to this inferior class of Sannavagulis were found to be living in Tanjore. Lastly, some witnesses said that only Vajaratmas (or relations of the Raja) were Kshatriyas. But for this final position the rigidity of a casfe is wanting and the evidence is insufficient. Russell in his "Tribes and Castes of the Central Provinces of India, Volume IV, page 200, says:
In Satara the Kuubis have the same division into 96 clans as the Mahrattas have, and many of the same surnames.
58. He identifies the Mahrattas with Mahars from which he thinks the country came to be called Maharashtra--vide page 199--and the Rashtrakutas he conjectures to be Rathor Rajputs. In A.D. 600 a Chinese traveller called Hiuen Tsang found a Kshatriya king called Pulakesi reigning in Maharashtra--vide Kincaid, Vol. I, page 21. But this Pulakesi was a Chalukya who conquered the country from its native rulers, the Rashtrakutas. Mahrattas are not proved to be descendants of Chalukyas. It has been suggested that they were descendants of Rashtrakutas, but all Rashtrakutas have not been proved to have been Kshatriyas. The Chalukyas were in their turn conquered by the Yadavas, whose chief Billama was crowned at Devagiri. Devagiri is another name for Daulatabad, which is far remote from Deo near Poona which is said to be, the home of the Bhonsles.
59. If we examine the claim of the Tanjore family to be Kshatriyas from the point of view of the ceremonial performances which they followed, their claim equally fails. The chief distinguishing mark of the twice born is the upanayanam or thread-wearing ceremony. There is evidence that some of the members of this family put on poonul or thread, but there is very little evidence that before doing so they went through the ceremony of upanayanam 105th defence witness, a purohit from Tiruvadamarudur, was only able to mention two upanayanam ceremonies and he admitted that some of the Mahrattaa have married without upanayanam being performed. He wished to have it believed that when marriages of the royal kinsmen were performed, they were accompanied with vedic rites, but that only puranic rites were observed when other Mahrattas were married. The Subordinate Judge has found that there is no uniformity of practice as regards the wearing of the poonul but that one thing is certain and that is that it was not worn as ordained. Again in the matter of pindams the Subordinate Judge has shown conclusively from the evidence that flour pindams were used for funerals in this family, and it appears from the evidence of the forty-sixth defence witness that homam was not done in this family at shradhs. There is no satisfactory evidence as to the gayatri mantram being recited. It appears from paragraph 21 of Mr. DAVIDSON'S judgment Exhibit D-93 that Serfoji after his return from Benares when he was over fifty years of age introduced the innovation of thread wearing into this family and that he compelled certain important persons, priests and others, to sign a statement such as the one signed by Balambat Bhat Groswami Exhibit B-147 that he was a Kshatriya, and that he had the homam done and vedic mantrams chanted. The omission to go through the ceremony of upanayanam cannot be explained by citing the instance of Rajputs who are not always careful to have it performed when their sons are between ten and twelve. It is not the lateness of the age when the ceremony is performed that is so striking as the dearth of evidence that it is performed at all. Although Sivaji did penance and was allowed to undergo upanayanam when he was 47 years old, we do not hear of his brothers Sambaji or Ekoji performing it at any time. Nor is there any record of Sahu his grandson, who was a prisoner at Delhi, having gone through the ceremony. At Tanjore we do not hear of it before Serfoji's time.
60. Then there is proof that Sudra cooks were employed at the Tanjore palace. Two of the cooks, defence seventy-eighth witness who is a Kallar and defence eighty-second witness, a Brahmin, have proved this fact. It is true that there were Brahmin cooks also, but if the family was really a Kshatriya one, there would have been no need of Sudra cooks at all. One of the widows of the late Raja, Rani Ramakumaramba Bai Saheba, was examined as a witness in Original Suit No. 400 of 1907 in the Tanjore District Munsif's Court and she described herself then as a Mahratta Sudra. The deposition Exhibit D-78 was recorded on commission in 1908 by Vamana Rao who was the Sirkele of the Palace department of the Collector's office and it is in the handwriting of Vamana Rao who, according to defence 102nd witness, was the person who made the blue ink entries in the pedigree Exhibit D-1 (a), which shows Pratapa Singh and Jaya Singh as sons of sword wives. As the description sword wives occurs in the original, there is no reason to suspect Vamana Rao's conduct. In describing the Rani as a Mahratta Sudra, he may have formed his own opinion that all the Tanjore Ranis were Sudras or he may have adopted the description given by the Rani herself. The ninety-fourth defence witness says that he was present at the time and that the deposition was read over to the Rani and that she signed it. He also adds in cross-examination that she was questioned about her husband's caste and that she mentioned it first as Mahratta and then as Mahratta Sudra. In the settlement deed Exhibit A-204 executed in 1907 both this Rani Ramakumaramba Bai and this witness before the Registration officer described themselves as Kshatriyas and the Rani is so described in the body of the document. Thus the probative effect of the description as to caste in the deposition is inconsiderable.
61. As regards the genealogy of this family, Tod in "Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan," page 288, has given the genealogy of Sivaji. His ancestors are stated in the note to be Sambaji, Suttoji, Junkoji, Khailooji, Mahoolji, Oogursen, Deoraj, Bhoraji, Seoji, Duleepji, Sujunsi and Ajeysi. Ajeysi was a Rana of Mewar. According to Tod, Sujunsi was expelled from the country and became the founder of the Satara throne, Waring's History of the Mahrattas written in 1810 contains a statement at page 56 that
Shajee, the father of Sevajee, was an illegitimate descendant from the Rana of Oodaipoor, a prince of the highest rank among the Hindus.
but he adds at page 57 that Jadoo Rao considered Shajee to be a wretched Kunbi. Kincaid in Volume I, page 112, says that Devrajji, one of the family of Udaipur, after a quarrel with the Rana of Udaipur, fled to the Deccan. His other name was Kakaji. Mr. Kincaid mentions another story that two brothers Khelkarnaji or Kheloji and Malkarnaji or Maloji came together from Udaipur'to offer their services as free lances to the king of Ahmednugger, and that one of them died in battle and the other one was drowned. The latter left a son Babaji who purchased the patilki or headship of the village of Verul near Daulatabad and one of Babaji's sons waa Maloji, the grandfather of Sivaji. These various versions do not agree with the pedigree prefixed to the lower Court's judgment nor with the inscription in the Tanjore temple. They are mutually destructive, the names differ and can only be reconciled on the hypothesis that some of them were aliases, and there is no proper explanation how a scion of a Rajput house came to found a dynasty so far south. On the whole it must be said that historically, genealogically, geographically, socially and ceremonially, the claim of this family to be classed as Kshatriyas has failed and the lower Court's finding on this point must, be confirmed.
62. In Ghuoturya Run Murdun Syn v. Sahub Purhulad Syn (1857) 7 M.I.A., 18 at 46, it has been established by the judgment of the Privy Council that Kshatriyas still exist in India. The theory put forward in the Sudra Kamalakaram Exhibit G-215 mentioned by Steele in his "Law and Customs of Hindu Caste" (1868), page 89, that Parasurama destroyed all the Kshatriyas and that they no longer exist, a theory said to have been started by a Brahmin conspiracy which Sir Thomas Strange in his Hindu Law, Vol. II, Appendix to Chapter IV, refers to, cannot be maintained in the face of the above decision : but in Muthusami Mudaliar v. Masilamani (1910) I.L.R., 33 Mad., 342, Sankaran Nayar, J., observed that there was a presumption that all castes who were not proved to be twice born and who were not admitted to be untouchables were Sudras. This judgment, which treats of the evolution of Hindu castes by occupation, migration and intermarriage, considers the criteria according to which new castes which have been evolved among the descendants of Hindus are to be considered as having retained the Hindu religion, and observes that the formation of new castes is a process which is constantly going on, has received the approval of the Privy Council in Ma Yait v. Maung Chti Maung (1922) I.L.R., 49 Calc., 310 at 321 (P.C.), and it has been followed in Soundararajan v. Arunachalam Chetty (1916) I.L.R., 39 Mad., 136 at 158 by Sadasiva Aytae, J. The onus being on those who assert that they are Kshatriyas to establish their claim, when they fail, the only course open to the Court is to treat them as Sudras.
63. The next question I shall deal with is the adoption of the father of defendants Nos. 1 and 2 and its validity. The adoption of Rajaram Ingle by Kamakshi Bai on 1st July 1863 was reported to the Government of Madras in a letter Exhibit A-74 dated July 2nd addressed to Sir William Thomas Denison, Governor of Fort Saint George. The factum of adoption is not now denied. Objections are raised to its validity on behalf of the fifteenth defendant on three grounds: (1) that the Raja did not authorize the adoption, (2) that it was made from an improper motive and (3) that the widow lost her power to adopt owing to the escheat of the property to Government. On behalf of defendants Nos. 4 to 11 further objections have been advanced:
(1) that the Tanjore family is governed by Mitakshara Law which they adopted after they settled in Tanjore ;
(2) that the existence of inferior sons is a bar to the adoption ; and
(3) that the adopted son's rights, if any, are barred by limitation.
64. It is settled on the authority of the Privy Council in Yadao v. Namdeo (1922) I.L.R., 49 Calc., 1, that a widow in Bombay Presidency may adopt a son even without the authority of her husband or kinsmen provided that her husband has not prohibited it and provided that she does the act from spiritual motives. Again it is settled by another Privy Council decision in Balwant Rao v. Baji Rao (1921) I.L.R., 48 Calc., 30 (P.C.), that the personal law of a migrating family will govern them in their new domicile if it was the personal law at the time of migration and provided that they have not renounced the law of the province from which they have migrated. Their Lordships approved of the decision in Vasudevan v. The Secretary of State for India (1888) I.L.R., 11 Mad., 157 at 162, to the same effect. But jt is contended in the present case that at the time of the migration of this family to Tanjore about 1674 the law that a widow can adopt without the authority of her husband was not the law as expounded in Bombay. It is also contended that Kamakshi Bai acted from the bad motive of spiting the co-widows and depriving them of their shares. As to the first contention, the Mayukha was written by Nilakanta who was born about 1600 A.D. and lived in the first part of the 17th century. His work came into use by about 1700. In 1866 it was decided by the Bombay High Court in Bayabai v. Bala Venkatesfi Ramakant (1866) 7 Bom, H.C.R., App., 1 that a.Hindu widow in the Mahratta country could not adopt if her husband in his lifetime had forbidden it. This case has come in for much criticism by the Judicial Committee in Yadao v. Namdeo (1922) I.L.R., 49 Calc., 1, and the judgment of WESTrOPP, J., has been critically examined. There was a later case decided in 1868 but reported earlier in Rakhmabai v. Radhabai (1868) 5 Bom. H.C.R., App. Civ., 181. In this the learned Judges , accept the opinion of certain Pundits and Shastris to the effect that a woman can adopt in Bombay without the injunction of her husband ; and in summing up at page 191 they do not make the consent of the kindred a sine qua non. At page 187, line. 14, the learned Judges say that a widow ought to obtain the consent of the caste (gnatis) and that this corresponds with the custom of the country. In Yadao v. Namdeo (1922) I.L.R., 49 Calc., 1 at 20, the Privy Council point out that this decision was based not merely on the custom of the country but also on the authorities prevailing in the Bombay Presidency. Ramji v. Ghamau (1882) I.L.R., 6 Bom., 498 (F.B.) is only an authority for the proposition that a widow of a co-parcener has no power to adopt in an undivided family without the authority of her husband or the consent of the other undivided co-parceners. Yadao v. Namdeo (1922) I.L.R., 49 Calc., 1 at 20, which was decided in 1921, has carried the widow's power to adopt in Bombay farther than it was carried by the same learned tribunal in the Collector of Madura v. Moottoo Ramalinga Sathupathy (1868) 12 M.I.A., 397 at 432, where it was only decided that the adoption with the assent of the kindred (gnati) was the law of the Mayukha. The law of adoption as it prevails in Bombay is not, however, dependent only on the authority of the Mayukha. There is also the Samskara Kaustubha and the Nirnaya Sindu which came into use about 1611. In Collector of Madura v. Moottoo Ramalinga Sathupathy (1868) 12 M.I.A., 397 at 432, the Mayukha and the Kaustubha are referred to as peculiarly Mahratta treatises, and a Full Bench of the Bombay High Court have also referred to the Kaustubha in Bhagirthibai v. Kahnujirav (1887) I.L.R., 11 Bom., 285 at 293 (F.B.). In Second Appeal No. 404 of 1885 Exhibit A-170 the Bombay High Court observed that, though adoption in the Bombay Presidency is in a great measure governed by the Vyavahara Mayukha, yet the Kaustubha has great authority on this particular subject. In Rakhmabai v. Radhabai (1868) 5 Bom. H.C.R., App, Civ., 181 at 186, the Vyavahara Kaustubha is referred to for the purpose of understanding the Mayukha. The Nirnaya Sindu Exhitib A-469 is also an authority to be considered, and also Kamalakara Bhatta's Dharma Sindhu. Exhitib A-471.
65. The established law of Bombay as expounded by the Privy Council on the strength of all these authorities is that in that Presidency a widow can adopt even without being authorized by her husband or his kinsmen provided that he has not prohibited it. These law books only reproduce the pre-existing custom of the country. They do not enact a new law. It has not been shown that the law was in any way different before the time when this family migrated to Tanjore than it was held to be in later decisions of the Bombay High Court and the Privy Council. The Vyavahara Mayukha did not introduce a new law of its own but only declared the law prevailing even before it was written.
66. As to the next objection, there is no doubt that Kamakshi Bai acted in opposition to the other widows in the matter of the adoption and in some other instances, but the objection that she was actuated by improper motives, may be answered in the manner that a similar objection was answered by a Full Bench in Ramchandra v. Mulji Nanabhai (1898) I.L.R., 22 Bom., 558, viz., by the observation that if the act can be referred to proper religious motives, the Court ought to presume that she was influenced by religious motives and not by mere caprice. There is no doubt that the Raja had expressed a desire for the continuance of his lineage.
67. As for the third objection, it has been laid down by the Privy Council in Pratapsingh Shivsingh v. Agarsingji Rajasangji (1919) I.L.R., 43 Bom., 778 (P.C.) that a widow may exercise the power of adoption so long as it is not extinguished or exhausted eyen though the property is not vested in her unless there is some time limit fixed by the power which is given to her to adopt. So even if there was an escheat, she may adopt for spiritual purposes ; but the Privy Council has stated in The Secretary of State in Council of India v. Kamachee Boye Sahaba (1859) 7 M.I.A., 476 that there was no escheat. The annexation of the Raja's property was not on the date of the Raja's death and there was nothing to prevent the Government, in dealing with the property as absolute owners by sovereign right, from either making an original grant or restoring the property to those entitled to it by right of succession. If the widow had adopted after the Raja died and before the Bast India Company intervened, the adoption would not have been invalidated by the subsequent act of usurpation. The act of usurpation did not cause a legal title to vest in the Government. This was made clear in the Privy Council decision. The suit was dismissed simply because the Municipal Courts could not question the act of the State. The Government when they restored the property put a restriction on the power of the widows to divest the estate, and the widows and the daughter were designated as persons who should take the estate first. Government had power to impose any kind of conditions as they pleased. They could have imposed a condition that the widow should not adopt, but they did not do so. The , effect of the grant was only to postpone the rights of all heirs other than the widows and the daughter. The cases which have been cited to us Mussumat, Bhoobun Moyee Debia v. Ram Kishore Acharj Chowdhry (1885) 10 M.I.A., 279, Padmakumari Debi Choudhrani v. Court of Wards (1882) I.L.R., 8 Calc., 302, Thayammal v. Venkatarama (1887) I.L.R., 10 Mad., 205, Tarachurn Chatterji v. Sureshchunder Mukerji (1890) I.L.R., 17 Calo., 122, Krishnarav Trimbak Hasabnis v. Shamkarrav Vinayak Hasabnis (1893) I.L.R., 17 Born., 164, Ramkrishna v. Shamrao (1902) I.L.R., 26 Bom., 526, Vasudeo v. Ramachandra (1898) I.L.R., 22 Bom., 551, Annammah v. Mabbu Bali Reddy (1875) 8 M.H.C.R,., 108, Datto Govind v. Pandurang Vinayak (1908) I.L.R., 32 Bom., 499, Dattatraya Bhimrao v. Gangabai (1922) I.L.R., 46 Bom., 541, Yeknath Narayan v. Laxmibai (1923) I.L.R., 47 Bom., 37 and Shri Dharnidhar v. Chinto (1896) I.L.R., 20 Bom., 250 are all cases in which the widow's power of adopting came to an end owing to the estate vesting in some other full owner. See also Tripuramba v. Venkataratnam (1923) I.L.R., 46 Mad., 423, which distinguishes Madana Mohana Deo v. Purushotthama Deo (1918) I.L.R., 41 Mad. 855 (P.C.). The legal title never vested in Government after the annexation. Though previously the ownership was vested in a person who was not a subject of the Government, by the declaration of Government he became a subject with retrospective effect. The allegation that the family adopted the Mitakshara Law after they settled in Tanjore has not been substantiated. In several legal proceedings Exhibits A-456, D-114, D-159, A-300, A-34, A-35, A-46, A-100, A-115, A-121, B-37 and B-47 they quoted the Mayukha law as being that applicable to the family. In 1904, Jijamba Bai who and was the senior widow after the death of the adopted son brought a suit Exhibits A-217 and 218 to establish her right to the properties and it was then held that she and the remaining widows carried their personal Mayukha law with them. In Rama Boi Ammani v. Rajah Sahib (1920) 12 L.W., 171 this Court noted the circumstance that the Mayukha law was that which the Subordinate Judge had found to be the personal law of this family which migrated from Poona. Although the family appear to have employed Telugu purohits at funerals and to have adopted some practices of South India, and they appear to have worshipped Man Amman, and other South Indian deities, they preserved many of their own habits, like Sunmuk, which are peculiar to the Mahrattas. There is evidence that the Telugu purohit was acting under the supervision of the western purohit named Bhat Goswami (see the evidence of D.W. 91). The mere employment of local priests under the supervision of family priests is not sufficient to show that the local law is applicable to a migrating family ; Huro Pershad Roy Chowdhry v. Shibo Shunkurao Chowdhrani (1870) 13 W.R., 47 and Murle Dos v. Manicka Chetti (1897) 5 M.L.T., 181. Even if it be held that this family was governed by the Mitakshara Law I should be prepared to find that the authority given by the Raja's mother, Avu Saheba, amounted to the consent of a kinsman which the Mitakshara Law requires ; vide the Collector of Madura v. Moottoo Ramalinga Sathupathy (1868) 12 M.I.A., 397 at 444.
68. The Subordinate Judge has rightly held that the adoption in the present case; was not barred by the existence of the children of sword wives. The right of the sword wives' sons to take the shares of legitimate sons in the property and their power to invalidate the adoption stand on the same footing. If sword marriage is a valid form of marriage for one purpose, it is good for the other purpose also. But not so, if they are only entitled to take the shares of illegitimate sons of a Sudra. The existence of illegitimate sons is not a bar to the spiritual benefit which is attained by the adoption of a legal son. There is no decided case which may serve as an authority for the view that an adoption is illegal when the adoptive father has sons by a sword wife.
69. The last objection is that of limitation. It is argued that by Act IX of 1871, which provided a 12 years' period of limitation to establish an adoption, the adopted son's rights became barred in 1875 and that it was obligatory to establish his rights within the period prescribed by article 129 of that Act, which gives 12 years from the date of the adoption after the death of the adoptive father. If the right became barred under the Act of 1871, it could not be revived by the later Act of 1877 which split article 129 "to establish or set aside an adoption" into two articles, 118 "to obtain a declaration that an adoption is invalid when the alleged adoption becomes known to the plaintiff," and 119 "to obtain a declaration when the rights are interfered with." In all the cases cited to us, viz., Jagadamba Chaodhrani v. Dakhina Mohun Roy Chaodhri (1886) I.L.R., 13 Calc., 308 (P.C.), Mohesh Narain Munshi v. Taruck Nath Moitra (1893) I.L.R., 20 Calc., 487 (P.C.), Harnabh Pershad v. Mandil Dass (1900) I.L.R., 27 Calc., 379, Ratnamasari v. Aleilandammal (1903) I.L.R., 26 Mad., 291, Venkoba Row v. Nataraja Chettiar (1914) M.W.W., 903 and Somasundaram Chettiar v. Vaithilinga Mudaliar (1917) I.L.R., 40 Mad., 846 the adoption was followed by possession. The father of Defendants 1 and 2 might have brought a suit for a bare declaration under section 15 of Act VIII of 1859 which was in force till 1871 ; but it was not obligatory for him to do so. It was a contingency whether his right would materialise or not. If the daughter had survived all the widows, the adopted son would not have succeeded in preference to her. The case of Bright v. Tyndall (1876) 4 Ch. D. 189 at 199 may be referred to. A distinction is there drawn between an interest that has arisen and is represented and an interest that has not arisen and may never arise.
In an interpleader suit like the present not only the adopted son but also other claimants are in the position of plaintiffs and a suit to establish the adoption by the former is not more barred under Article 129 of Act IX of 1871 than the suit of the latter to declare it invalid. The possession of the Receiver was not adverse to the adopted son nor to any of the other claimants and so time did not begin to run from the date of the adoption. So far as possession was concerned, the adopted son by bringing a suit to establish his adoption during the lifetime of the widows could not have been given the further relief of possession against the Receiver, for the grant had secured the enjoyment of the widows till the death of the last. As for the other parties the cause of action to set aside the adoption will only arise when possession is taken under colour of adoption--vide Jagadamba Chaodhrani v. Dakhina Mohun Roy Chaodhri (1886) I.L.R., 13 Calc., 308 at 319 and Tirbhuwan Bahadur Singh v. Rameshar Bakhsh Singh (1906) I.L.R., 28 All., 727 at 739 ; and the adopted son and his heirs have never obtained possession except for a brief period between Kamakshi Bai's transfer and the appointment of a Receiver in execution of the decree in Jijoyiamba Bayi Saiba v. Kamakshi Bayi Saiba (1868) 3 M.H.C.R., 424. The adopted son was bound by the decision in that case, to which he was a party, to the effect that he had no present right as lineal heir of the Raja to divest the widows. He could not have got a bare declaration that his title as adopted son was valid, as the Court will not try questions of title as to future interests when neither claimant has a right to present possession, especially questions of title which may never arise--see Kathama Natchiar v. Domsinga Tevar (1876) 15 B.L.R., 83 at 109 ; S.C. 2 I.A,,169. The obligation of suing only arises when the possession is with an adverse claimant. As the Receiver was in possession, the adopted son could wait till the last female died and sue for possession of the property as his heirs have done. See Muhammad Umar Khan v. Muhammad Niaz-ud-Din Khan (1912) 39 Calc., 418 at 432. In 1881, the adopted son presented a petition for a succession certificate which was dismissed by Mr. Parker (afterwards Mr. Justice Parker) as there was no valid authority to adopt and no valid taking in adoption. Exhibit B-37. The District J udge s decision was confirmed by the High Court in Surfoji v. Kamakshiamba (1884) I.L.R., 7 Mad., 452 on the ground that no inquiry need be held in miscellaneous petitions into intricate questions of law and fact. As there was no final adjudication on the validity of the adoption, that decision will not estop defendants Nos. 1 and 2 from putting forward their claim in the present case.
70. In the abovementioned aspect of the widow's power to adopt of her own free will, it becomes unnecessary to find as a fact whether the late Raja authorized the adoption of Rajaram ; but, if a finding is necessary on this point, I should hold on the evidence that nothing more than a designation of this boy as a suitable boy to be adopted, if an adoption were to be made, took place, and that no express authority was given by the Raja on his deathbed to his widows to adopt. His death was sudden. There are conflicting versions as to whether he actually adopted Rajaram or whether he authorized his adoption or whether he merely wished him to perform his funeral ceremonies. If he had actually adopted the boy, there would have been no occasion for the senior widow to go through the ceremony a second time eight years afterwards. It is not likely that he formed a definite decision to adopt so long as he had hopes of a son being born to one of his lawfully wedded wives. In 1846, the Government issued a notification Exhibit A-11 to say that adoptions would be recognized only if they were reported to "the Collector within six months before the death of the parties making them. The Raja married 17 wives on one day in 1852. Therefore the idea of adopting is not likely to have originated from the Government notification six years previously. The Raja must have intended to see if he could not beget a son by one of these wives before he had recourse to the remedy of the heirless, viz., adoption. in the petition Exhibit A-34 prepared for twelve widows and the mother of the Raja by Mr. Norton for presentation to the House of Lords in 1861, it is alleged that the Raja was "cut off by death before he could either himself perform the ceremony of adoption or give express authority to widows to adopt." There is a strange contradiction between this statement and the statement in Kamakshi Bai's memorial Exhibit, A-134 dated 11th October 1865 that the Raja "closed his eyes with the satisfaction of having after the first alarm of fainting, expressly authorized his surrounding wives, his old mother M. Avu Saheba, and other relatives on the subject of adopting the very boy he had selected." Again the statement in Mr. Norton's journal Exhibit A-286 under date August 24th, 1856, to the effect that the mother of the Raja and Kamakshi Bai's brother Soorve Rao and another, "one and all declared that the Raja took the boy from his father on his deathbed and empowered his widows to perform the ceremonies" may be contrasted with the assertion of the Resident, Mr. Cherry, in his letter Exhibit A-293 to Mr. Norton that the widows one and all asserted" that the adoption took place during the Raja's lifetime. In a letter Exhibit A-298 to Mr. Norton, Avu Saheba referred to the sanction that Bai Sahebas had obtained from the Maharaja and the recognition of the adoption by the Commissioner who allowed him to perform the obsequies of the Raja. It is not denied that he did in fact perform the obsequies of the Raja and those of the Raja's widows. In several documents Exhibit A-59 Exhibit A-205 Exhibit A-207 Exhibit A-229 prepared for legal purposes, there is an unaccountable omission to mention the fact that the Raja had expressly authorized Kamakshi Bai to adopt when a mention of that fact would have been most material to the subject of those documents. The nearest approach to mention of an express authorization is in the last of the documents, Jijamba Bai's will, executed. 48 years after the adoption took place. The statement Exhibit A-7 of the maid servant that she overheard the Raja in his dying words authorize an adoption of Raja-ram to be made is incredible. The truth came out in the course of her examination when she admitted that the Raja had an affection for Rajaram because he was a fair and intelligent child and took him with him when he went in processions and arranged for his education. On such materials, especially the statement of the widows in their petition to the House of Lords, the only conclusion that I can come to is that there was no express authority to adopt.
71. The lower Court has found that the fourteenth defendant has not proved his descent from a common ancestor, Shahji. We have no firsthand information in this age to arrive at a conclusion on this much disputed question of the paternity of Ramraja. The story is that in 1747 or 1748, Sahu, the grandson of Sivaji, was troubled about the succession to the throne of Satara, his only son having died. His wife Sakwar Bai, who afterwards committed sati, wanted to adopt a son of Raghuji Bhonsle from Nagpur. Another proposal was to adopt Sambu who belonged to the Kolhapur branch. Tara Bai, the wife of Rajaram, brought in her grandson Ramraja with a wonderful tale that this boy had been posthumously born to her son Sivaji the Second by Bavani Bai during her captivity in the camp of Sahu and that as he was of the elder branch of the family and Sambu would have been jealous of his existence, he was hidden and after a mock fuueral and a report that he was dead, he was secretly conveyed from Panhala to Bavade where he was kept with a Rajput woman and a Brahmin named Bhagavantrao and afterwards hidden in the Konkan jungles and taken from there to Pangoon to the care of Bavani's sister. Now of the historians, Elphinstone changed his of opinion whether Ramraja was an imposter or not. Of Exhibit F-39 and the foot-note to p. 728 of 5th edition of Elphinstone's History of India. Kincaid does not refer to Tara Bai's taunting Ramraja as baseborn, mentioned by Duff at page 48, Volume II. He says at page 314, Volume II, that the old Queen grew very angry and let her grandson go without further conversation. Grant Duff in his History of the Mahrattas takes a different view from Elphinstone. See Volume II, page 39. To sum up. Grant Duff, Frere Exhibit F-39, Kincaid and the Kolhapur and Satara Gazetteerg Exhibits F-5, P. 288-291 and F-6, p.229 are in fayour of Ramraja being the genuine son of Sivaji and Bavani Bai. If Tara Bai and Sahu, were both satisfied as to Ramraja's parentage, I do not see any reason why we should question it in this case. Tara Bai and Sahu had no motive to put a stranger or an upstart on the throne of the Maharashtra. Government have recognized the claim and have given a pension to the present representative of the line. Raghuji Bhonsle, whose son was to be adopted, was satisfied as to Ramraja's parentage (cf. Duff, Volume II, page 39: Kincaid, Volume II, page 308). He was also eventually acknowledged by the Maharattas as the successor of Sahu. We are not told by historians what were the proofs which satisfied Tara Bai of her grandson's identity. It may have been Bhagavantrao's oath on holy water Kincaid, vol. II p. 299, or some mark of identification which she covered on Ramraja's body. But we do know that she did acknowledge his parentage at first and later only in anger taunted him with his want of spirit which was unworthy of his noble birth. The Subordinate Judge has acted merely on suspicion arising out of Tara Bai's equivocal conduct and on Mr. Elphinstone s change ot mind and on Frere's Exhibit F-39, p. 112 and Grant Duff's description of Sambhaji as the last of the lineal descendants of Sivaji, a statement true enough so far as Kolhapur dynasty was concerned, as Sambaji's widow adopted a remote collateral named Siva,ji, son of Shaji Bhonsle, Patel of Kanwat--vide page 387 of Volume II of Grant Duff. Lastly, the Subordinate Judge was influenced by a mistake as to the date of Sivaji's death. He thinks that Sivaji Raja died in 1711 and that the posthumous son must have been born a few months afterwards, but that he was not heard of till 1749. It was discovered by Sardesai that Sivaji died in 1723. Mr. Kincaid, I.C.S., has accepted this fact Vol. II P. 151 foot-note Grant Duff was mistaken in supposing that Sivaji died in 1713. In 1750 Ramraja must have been 27 and not 38. Sivaji's wife, Bavani Bai, was imprisoned with him and there is nothing impossible in the fact of a posthumous son being born. There is no reason why we should disinherit the present representative on the strength of certain obscure references in contemporary documents to some person unknown being an imposter or because of the ironical words of an angry old woman. The documents Exhibits G-86 to G-89 produced are not only unsigned and unauthenticated but their meaning is far from clear. It is unnecessary to find whether Ramraja was adopted by Sahu. The genealogical tree in the .Kolhapur Gazetteer shows him as adopted by Sahu and as a son of Sivaji, and several documents Exhibits F-38, F-84, F-8, and F-39 speak of him as adopted. Even it he was not adopted, he was the nearest male relation of Sahu and must be taken to have legally succeeded him.
72. The next question is what shares the children of the sword wives take. All the parties are agreed that they take per stirpes. The doctrine of representation applies to the illegitimate sons as well as to the legitimate sons. See Gopalasami Ghetti v. Arunachellam Ghetti (1904) I.L.R., 27 Mad. 32 and Ramalinga Muppan v. Pavada Goundan (1902) I.L.R., 25 Mad., 519 According to the latest Privy Council decision in Kamulammal v. Visvanathaswami Naicker (1923) I.L.R.,46 Mad., 167 (P.C.), an illegitimate son of a Sudra takes half of what he would have taken had he been legitimate. As the Raja left six illegitimate sons and one son has been since adopted, the estate must be divided into seven shares. The sword wives' sons will get three sevenths and the adopted son will get four sevenths of the whole. In Kamulammal v. Visvanathaswami Naicker (1923) I.L.R.,46 Mad., 167 (P.C.) there was a widow in existence who took along with the illegitimate sons. At the date of the present suit there was no widow alive, and therefore there is no difficulty in making the apportionment.
73. In paragraph 2117. of the lower Court's judgment, the Subordinate Judge states that the seventeenth defendant is the nearest bandhu, because all the other bandhus are at least one degree more remote. This is incorrect. The seventeenth defendant is the sister's grandson. The third defendant, being a daughter's grandson, is nearerto the propositus, the last Raja Sivaji; and the authorities, Mayne, Trevelyan, Ghose and Sarvadhikari are all agreed upon this. They put the daughter's son's son at No. 2 before the sister's grandson at No. 10, giving the descendants preference over ascendants.
74. The Subordinate Judge has found the adoption of Sambu Singh by Sakharam Saheb who married the Princess Muktamba Bai and also the adoption of the third defendant by Sambu Singh to be proved. The adoption of Sambu Singh by Sakharam is not now seriously challenged. But the adoption of the third defendant by Sambu Singh is attacked on the ground that Sambu Singh was not in a state of mind capable of making an adoption at the time when it took place. He died at 5 a.m., on 4tn March 1891 of fever Exhibit B-113 Exhibit B-114 Exhibit B-115 Exhibit B-22(a). The adoption is alleged to have taken place in haste that night between 12 and 3 in the morning. The Subordinate Judge has found in favour of the adoption on the strength of the evidence of the fifty-fourth witness. He says that it is rather difficult to refuse credence to such a witness. The other witnesses were more or less interested and contradict each other, but fifty-fourth witness is well-to-do and has been credited on that account, as if wealth were a guarantee of veracity. The patient was suffering from janni which has been translated in the deposition as coma. The dictionary meaning of the word is "affection of the brain, convulsions, apoplexy, paralysis, delirium." The same word is translated in the previous deposition taken, on commission as "delirium" In his judgment the Judge has translated it as "failure of pulse," for which meaning there is no authority. The fifty-fourth witness' previous deposition Exhibit C-71 in which he says that whenever the patient had consciousness he was able to speak, indicates that there were times when the patient was unconscious. The statement that Sakharam and Veeraraghava Ayyangar consulted with each other as to which boy might be adopted suggests that the dying man was not consulted as he was too far gone to have a voice in the matter and that the whole adoption was the doing of Sakharam. Veeraraghava Ayyangar demanded Rs. 25,000 for his part in the transaction (vide evidence of D.W. 61) and he attested Sakharam Sahib's will Exhibit A-451 The adoptive mother, Jamna Bai, was alive at the time of the suit, but was not examined. Sakharam made a will in 1895 leaving his property to Sethuram, a younger brother of Samba Singh's widow, and directing him to perform his funerals. His funerals were actually performed by Jamna Bai, his daughter-in-law (vide statement of D.W. 52). There was a suit against the widow of Sambu Singh and the legatee under Sakharam's will to establish the adoption (O.S. No. 36 of 1895 on the file of the Tanjore Sub-Court) and the matter was compromised. Exhibit B-94 There was another suit (O.S. No. 41 of 1903) brought by Sakharam's reversioner contesting the will and the adoption in which the adoption was found to be true but the judgment Exhibit B-47 is not res judicata in the present suit among different claimants. Again in a suit upon a mortgage (O.S. No. 8 of 1910) Exhibit B-27 the adoPtion was again put in issue and found to be true but this judgment also for the same reason will not operate to make the matter res judicata. The mortgagor only wanted a proper discharge and for that purpose put Plaintiff to proof of the adoption. The 54th witness' statement that the patient was delirious and had stertorous breathing and that at 6 p.m. he knew that he would not recover and his condition was hopeless makes it extremely doubtful if Sambu Singh was conscious when the adoption was performed Considering this witness's dependence on Sakharam, who was interested in supporting the alleged adoption, and his contradictory statements as to whether the other doctor Ramaswami Nayudu gave medicine to the patient and his description of the illness, which was accompanied by delirium, stertorous breathing and coldness of the extremities, it is not difficult to conclude that the dying man was, after 6 p.m., not in a state of mind capable of taking any initiative in the matter or of understanding the nature of the act of adoption attributed to him. When he says in his statement at the trial that Sambu Singh had no delirium nor unconciousness nor lapses of memory, I think that the Court should decline to believe his statement. One of the witnesses who was present deposed that he (Sambu) was three-fourths in his senses and that life was not extinct. Exhibit A-2, It is evident that the patient was in extremis, and when we know that he was delirious and not in full possession of his faculties, the onus lies on those who propound the adoption of proving that he was in a fit state of mind to perform the act of taking the child in adoption with a proper consciousness of the nature of the act that he was performing (vide Tayammaul v. Sashachalla Naicker (1865) 10 M.I.A., 429. The conduct of Sakharam in contemplating the adoption of a son to himself in 1895 as shown by his letter to the Collector and the Collector's reply Exhibit B-142 betrays a consciousness on his part that the adoption of March 4th, 1891, was not a good adoption. After the Collector reminded him of his telegram Exhibit B-113 he executed a will in favour of another boy. As the daughter's grandson can only take as a bandhu after the agnates, the question of the third defendant's adoption has now only an academic interest. If it is necessary to record a finding on the point, I should reverse the finding of the Subordinate Judge and find that the third defendant's adoption is not proved. If there was no evidence available beyond the fact that he was recognized as an adopted son, I should be prepared to accept the adoption as proved but when the. adoption is challenged by the other parties and there is an attempt to prove by direct evidence how and when the adoption was made, the onus being on him, and he fails to prove the fact, he must abide by the consequences.
75. The last question relates to the claim of the 24th defendant, whom the lower Court has found to be nearer than the 15th defendant in propinquity to the deceased. This defendant claims to be decended from Sambhaji the elder brother of Sivaji who was killed at Kanakgiri (vide Kincaid, Vol. I, p. 147 and F-39). If the genealogy Exhibit N.-14 given in Rama Bai's written statement is correct, there can be no doubt about the claims of the 24th defendant, but this depends on the question whether one Umaji shown as son of Sambhaji married Maku Bai and had a son called Persoji, and whether this Maku Bai is the same as Saku Bai mentioned in the Tanjore inscription, Exhibit B-140. The letter "S" (sic) in Sanskrit or Devanagari characters is the same as "M" (sic) with a tail and it is possible that an error was made in transcribing the rough mural inscription. The manuscript (Exhibit B-141) has Maku Bai. If Maku Bai mentioned in the Exhibits Exhibits N-1 to N-6 produced by this defendant is the same person as Maku Bai or Saku Bai of the inscription, the pedigree may be accepted. The inscription shows that Umaji and Saku Bai had a son named Persoji (paragraph 2122 of the lower Court's judgment). In the Sanad, dated 1709 Exhibit N-3 Persoji is mentioned as having requested the Raja to exempt a new market place from taxes. If this Persoji is the son of Maku Bai to whom the grant Exhibit N-1 was given, and the temple inscription shows that Umaji had a son named Persoji by his wife Maku Bai, the correctness of the pedigree is further proved. Doubts have been principally caused by the fact that in Rama Bai's genealogical tree Exhibit N-14 the grandfather of Maloji is shown as Vyankaji, not Persoji as in the inscription, and by certain branches being shown as extinct or issueless when we know that such is not the case, and by the statement of Rama Bai, widow of Hanumanta Rao, to the Inam Commissioner in 1855 Exkihit C-16 that she had no documents to prove the correctness of her statement that the original sanad was granted to Maloji, an ancestor removed by eight generations from the then holders, and her husband's statement to the same effect in 1831. Exkihit N-18 The title Raja Bhonsle affixed to the inamdar's names in N series indicates that the claim of this family to a royal origin is not a novel one. In the absence of any other claimants to be descended directly from Sambhaji, I think we should not act on an unverified statement in the genealogy in Hickey's book Exhibit C-69 opposite to page 82 that Sambhaji died without issue, but we should accept the claim of the present 24th defendant to be a representative of Sambhaji's branch. Some links in the chain of this defendant's ancestry are very weak but for the purpose of the present case his title to be descended from Sambhaji, elder brother of Sivaji the Great, has only an academic interest, seeing that so long as the findings in favour of the adopted and illegitimate sons hold good, the distant agnates such as 14th, 15th and 24th defendants can take no share of the property. Under these circumstances there is no sufficient reason made out for reversing the lower Court's decision on the first part of the 72nd issue.
76. The net result of these appeals will be that the lower Court's decree will be modified by directing that the suit properties be divided into 7 instead of 8 shares of which defendants Nos. 1 and 2 will take 4 shares and defendants Nos. 4 to 11 will take the remaining three shares per stirpes, and by confirming the decree of the lower Court in other respects, dismissing the Appeals Nos. 199, 200, 201 and 248 and modifying the decree in consequence of Appeals Nos. 333 and 334 Costs of the appellants in all the appeals to come out of the estate, as was ordered in the lower Court seeing that this is an interpleader suit and the contentions of the appellants have been reasonable and fairly argued, and they adopted each other's arguments so far as they suited their particular cases. The memoranda of objections, except those of second defendant, which follow the result of Appeals Nos. 383 and 334, are dismissed.
77. We are much indebted to all the practitioners, counsel, and vakils, who have appeared in these appeals for the infinite pains they have taken in scrutinizing and analysing the masses of evidence on the record and the keen legal acumen and rare learning they have displayed in presenting the various questions of law that have had to be decided and in dealing with the interesting historical records of this famous family. I am fully conscious that much more might be said upon some of the questions at issue, especially that of the caste of the parties, but I have endeavoured to avoid prolixity and to make my judgment as succinct as possible, on the principle that if there are sound reasons for deciding a particular point in a particular way, those reasons rather gain than lose clearness by not being obscured by references to matters of minor importance.
Kumakaswami Sastri, J.
78. These appeals rise out of the judgment of the Subordinate Judge of Tanjore in Original Suit No. 26 of 1912 filed by the Receiver of the Tanjore Palace Estate for the purpose of obtaining an adjudication as to the person or persons legally entitled to succeed to the properties mentioned in the plaint on the death of Jijamba Bai Saheba, the last surviving widow of Maharaja Sivaji who was the last king of Tanjore.
79. The first and second defendants claim the estate as the sons of Rajaram Ingle, who, it is alleged, was the adopted son of Maharaja Sivaji. The third defendant claims the estate as the grandson by adoption to Vijaya Mohana Mukta Bai, the second daughter of Maharaja Sivaji. It is alleged that she adopted Sambu Singh who in turn adopted the third defendant. Defendants Nos. 4 to 11 claim descent from the Raja through what are called the sword wives. Fourth and fifth defendants claim the estate as the sons of the Maharaja. Defendants Nos. 6 to 11 claim as the grandsons of the Maharaja. Defendants Nos. 12 to 24 claim the estate as the nearest reversionary heirs on the death of the widows.
80. The Tanjore Raj was founded about the year 1674 or 1675 by Yenkaji otherwise known as Ekoji who was the half-brother of Sivaji, the founder of the Mahratta kingdom. As I shall have to refer to more than one person of that name, I shall refer to him as Sivaji the Great to avoid confusion. Shahaji, their father, married two wives. By his first wife Jeja Bai, he had two sons Sambaji and Sivaji the Great, and by his second wife Thuka Bai, he had a son Venkaji also known as Bkoji. Venkaji had three sons who succeeded to the Raj one after the other. The last son Thukaji had a son called Bkoji. He (Thukaji) had a son called Pratap Singh who is said to have been born to his sword wife Annapurni Bai. Pratap Singh reigned from 1740 to 1763 and had two sons Tulasaji and Amar Singh. Tulasaji died leaving an adopted son Serfoji and Serfoji, who reigned from 1799 to 1832, had a son Sivaji who was the last Raja of the Tanjore Dynasty, as the Bast India Company on his death in 1855 declared the Raj to be extinct and took possession of all the properties alleging an escheat. On Tulasaji's death, his brother Amar Singh disputed the adoption of Serfoji and claimed the estate. His claim was at first recognized by the East India Company and he ruled from 1787 to 1798. Subsequently the claims of Serfoji, the adopted son of Tulasaji, were recdgnized and Amar Singh was deposed. He resided in a place called Tiruvadamarudur on a pension which was assigned to him. He died leaving a son Pratap Singh. Pratap Singh adopted a son and the twelfth defendant Bhavani Bai is the widow of the adopted son, who died leaving no male issue. She claimed the estate as the nearest heir to Sivaji Maharaja on the ground that under the Mayukha which applies to the parties she was a Gotraja Sapinda entitled to succeed in preference to other collaterals. A few years after the death of Sivaji Maharaja, his eldest surviving widow Kamakshi Bai Saheba adopted Rajaram Ingle, the sister's grandson of the late Sivaji Maharaja. The first and second defendants are the sons of Rajaram Ingle. Sivaji Maharaja had two daughters Rajes Bai and Mukta Bai. Rajes Bai, the elder daughter, died without issue on the 26th of December 1856 Mukta Bai, the younger daughter, who was unmarried at the date of the Raja's death, married Sakharam Saheb. She had two sons who predeceased her. She and her husband adopted one Sambu Singh and the third defendant is the adopted son of Sambu Singh. He claims as the daughter's grandson by adoption of the late Maharaja. Sivaji Maharaja had three sisters. The first Bayamma Bai had a son Ramachandra Soorve. The seventeenth defendant is the son of Ramachandra Soorve. The twenty-third defendant is the son of the seventeenth defendant. They claim as the sister's grandsons. Sulakshana Bai, another sister of Sivaji, had a son Manoji, who died leaving a son Eswant Mohitai. Defendants Nos. 21 and 22 are the sons of Eswant Mohitai. Sakwar Bai, another sister of Sivaji, had a son Pratap Rudra Ingle. Pratap Rudra Ingle had throe sons Ramachandra, Eswant and Rajaram. As already stated, Rajaram, the youngest son, was adopted to Sivaji. Ramachandra left a son, who is the twentieth defendant. Sivaji Maharaja is alleged to have married a number of ladies referred to in the case as the Mangala Vilas ladies by a rite which is stated in the evidence to be "a sword marriage," and defendants Nos. 4 to 11 are, as already stated, either the sons or grandsons of Sivaji by six of the sword wives. Sambaji, the eldest brother of Sivaji the Great, died during the lifetime of his father Shahaji and his descendants played no part in the events that succeeded Shahaji's death. The twenty-fourth defendant claims as the descendant of Sambaji and the nearest agnatic reversioner to Sambaji. Sivaji the Great had two sons Sambaji and Rajaram. When disputes arose between Sambaji and Rajaram, the kingdom left by Sivaji was carved into two principalities, Sambaji and his descendants ruling a principality with the capital at Satara and Eajaram and his descendants ruling another principality with the capital at Kolhapur. The thirteenth and fourteenth defendants claim as the direct descendants of Sambaji to be the next heirs. The principality of Satara was declared extinct by the East India Company in 1838 and the thirteenth and fourteeth defendants are political pensioners residing in Satara and they claim to be the nearest reversionary heirs. The fifteenth defendant, who is a descendant of Rajaram, is the ruling Prince of Kolhapur and he claims as the person entitled to the Tanjore Raj. Shahaji, the father of Sivaji the Great, had an uncle Vittoji and the sixteenth defendant is the widow of one Somanath, who is said to be a direct descendant of Vittoji. Her claim is similar to that made by the twelfth defendant. Defendants Nos. 18 and 19 claim to be the grandsons of the Step-sister of the late Sivaji Maharaja.
81. The East India Company which had, on the death of Sivaji in 1855, taken possession of the Raj and the private properties of the Raja restored the Raja's personal estate in 1862. The circumstances tending to the restoration and the terms of the Government Order will be referred to later on.
82. Written statements and additional written statements were filed and each claimant wanted to cut out the rest by raising every possible ground of exclusion. As many as 73 issues were settled. It is, however, necessary to refer only to the contentions raised before us in appeal by the appellants in the various appeals. I shall not refer to the contentions of such of the parties as have filed neither an appeal nor a memorandum of objections.
83. The contention of all the defendants except defendants Nos. 1 to 11 is that under the terms of the grant all the heirs under Hindu Law who would have taken the estate before the daughters are excluded and that even assuming that defendants Nos. 1 and 2 have been validly adopted and defendants Nos. 4 to 11 are the legitimate children of the late Raja, they would be excluded by the terms of the grant from claiming the property. The contention of the first and second defendants is that succession on the death of the last widow is to be traced among those who would be the next heirs to the Raja and that they, as the sons of the validly adopted son of the Raja, would exclude all the other claimants. Their case is that defendants Nos. 4 to 11 have no title as a sword marriage does not confer the status of a wife and that defendants Nos. 4 to 11 are at best the illegitimate children of the Raja. They also state that the parties are Kshatriyas and that as they belong to one of the twice-born classes, the illegitimate children have no right to succession. They also contend that as Pratap Singh who reigned from 1740 to 1763 was not the son of the legally married wife of Ekoji but only the son of a sword wife, he is only an illegitimate son and that therefore in tracing succession back, the collateral descendants of the founder Ekoji claiming descent from those above Pratap Singh would be excluded as they would not be sapindas, there being under Hindu Law no right of collateral succession between the legitimate and the illegitimate branches of a family. They state that in any event they will be entitled to four-sevenths share and defendants Nos. 4 to 11 to three-sevenths share. The contention of the third defendant who claims to be the adopted son of one Sambu Singh who was himself adopted by the surviving daughter of the last Raja of Tanjore is that under the terms of the grant the daughter of the last Raja took a vested interest in the estate re-granted by the Government which she was capable of transmitting to her heirs, that the adoption of the first and second defendants is invalid, that in any event they would be excluded by the terms of the grant, that a sword marriage is not a legitimate form of marriage, that defendants Nos. 4 to 11 are illegitimate children who by reason of the parties being Kshatriyas would have no right of inheritance, that defendants Nos. 12 to 24 cannot succeed to the estate as Pratap Singh, the ancestor of Serfoji, was illegitimate, being a sword wife's son, and there can be no succession between Pratap Singh's heirs and the collateral branches who are descended from the legitimate stock. All the other defendants dispute the factum and validity of the third defendant's adoption. The contention of defendants Nos. 4 to 11 is that sword marriage is a legal form of marriage conferring upon the issue a full legitimate status, that they are not excluded by the terms of the grant, that there was no adoption of the father of defendants Nos. 1 and 2 and that, even if the adoption was made, the existence of defendants Nos. 4, 5 and 6 (the legitimate sons of the Raja) at the time of the adoption would render the adoption invalid. The contention of defendants Nos. 12 to 24, the other contesting defendants, is that the adoption of defendants Nos. 1 and 2 is invalid, that the sword marriage is a legal form of marriage, that the sons by such a marriage are legitimate. They, however, contend that the mothers of defendants Nos. 4, and 5 and the grandmothers of defend ants Nos. 6 to 11 were not married according to the sword marriage ritual to Sivaji the last ruler, but were only permanently kept concubines. As between themselves, each disputes the claim of the other to be the nearest heir on questions of facts which will be referred to more fully in dealing with their respective claims.
84. The question is also raised as to whether the parties are governed by the Mayukha, which is in force in the territories from which the founder of the dynasty migrated to Tanjore or the Mitakshara.
85. The Subordinate Judge in an able and exhaustive judgment covering 817 printed pages dealing minutely with every contention raised and with the voluminous oral and documentary evidence adduced, has held that the parties are Sudras, that the first and second defendants were validly adopted and that sword marriage is a legal, though an inferior form of, marriage conferring on the issues a legitimate status but giving them only the shares of illegitimate children. On a construction of the grant he held that it did not exclude the first and second defendants, the sons of the adopted son, or defendants Nos. 4 to 11 who are the descendants of what are called the Mangala Vilas ladies. As regards the propinquity of the various contesting defendants, he held that the fourteenth defendant, the representative of the Satara Branch, did not prove that he was a descendant of Sivaji the Great, that the third defendant, owing to the death of the daughter of Sivaji, before the widows, acquired no interest, and that the twenty-fourth defendant has proved his descent but that he is not entitled on the other findings to succeed. As regards the fifteenth and twenty-fourth defendants, the Subordinate Judge held that they have proved their relationship and would be bandhus, the twenty-fourth defendant being nearer than the fifteenth defendant, but that both of them are excluded on the other findings of the Subordinate Judge on the construction of the grant, the validity of adoption of defendants Nos. 1 and 2 and the legitimacy of defendants Nos. 4 to 11. In the result, he passed a decree declaring that the properties in dispute are divisible between defendants Nos. 1 and 2 and 4 to 11 into eight shares of which defendants Nos. 1 and 2 are entitled to two shares, defendants Nos. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 together and defendants Nos. 10 and 11 together are entitled to six shares. As regards the Tanjore Palace Library which is one of the items in the suit, the parties consented to a decree being passed excluding it from the suit and creating a fund of a lakh of rupees for its maintenance and upkeep. It is, therefore, unnecessary to consider this portion of the claim.
86. Appeal No. 199 of 1919 is filed by the fifteenth defendant. Appeal No. 200 of 1919 is filed by the third defendant. Appeal No. 201 of 1919 is filed by the fourteenth defendant. Appeal No. 248 of 1919 is filed by the twenty-fourth defendant. Appeal No. 333 of 1919 is filed by the first defendant. Appeal No. 334 of 1919 is filed by defendants Nos. 4 to 11. In appeals Nos. 333 and 334 of 1919 memoranda of objections have been filed by the second defendant and the twenty-third defendant relating to such findings of the Subordinate Judge as are opposed to the contentions raised by the parties.
87. It will thus be seen that the main questions to be decided in these appeals are--
(1) What is the construction to be placed upon the re-grant by the Government of the private properties of the late Maharaja Sivaji ?
(2) Whether the issues by a wife married in sword marriage form are legitimate or illegitimate ?
(3) Whether there was in fact sword marriage contracted between the. late Sivaji Maharaja and the mothers or grandmothers of defendants Nos. 4 to 11 ?
(4) Whether the parties are Sudras or Kshatri-yas ?
(5) Whether the Mayukha or Mitakshara applies to the parties ?
(6) Whether the adoption of defendants Nos. 1 and 2 is valid ?
(7) If defendants Nos. 1 and 2 and 4 to 11 are to be excluded, which of the other parties have proved that they are the next descendants of Sivaji ? and
(8) If defendants Nos. 1 and 2 and 4 to 11 are entitled to succeed, what are their respective shares in the estate ?
88. Before dealing with the grant by the Government it is necessary to consider the circumstances under which the private estate of the late Raja was granted by the Government by its order, dated the 21st of August 1862, which has been filed as Exhibit A-46 in the case. Sivaji, the last king of Tanjore, died on the 29th of October 1855. Prior to 1852 Sivaji Maharaja had married three wives according to the rthodox ritual. One of them Padma Bai died in 1842 leaving no issue. The next Sydamba Bai died in 1840 leaving two daughters, and Kamakshi Bai was the only wife alive in 1852. On the 18th of July 1852 he married 17 wives. Of these ladies two died before Sivaji. He left his adoptive mother Avu Bai Saheba, 16 wives who were married according to the ordinary Hindu ritual and 40 sword wives so called because they were alleged to have been married according to a ritual called "sword marriage." They were accommodated in a building called Mangala Vilas and have been referred to in the evidence and judgment as the Mangala Vilas ladies. Of these 40 ladies it is only necessary to refer to six ladies who had male issue. The Raja had by Lakshmi Bai a son who is the fourth defendant in the suit. By Meena Bai he had a son the fifth defendant. By Kasi Bai he had a son Sadanandaji who died leaving a son, the sixth defendant. By Bagi Bai he had a son Katnanandaji who died leaving a son, the seventh defendant. By Kama Bai he had a son called Bavani who died leaving the eighth and ninth defendants, and by Guna Bai he had a son Bagyanandaji who died leaving the tenth and eleventh defendants. Sivaji had two daughters by his predeceased wife Sydamba Bai. Rajes Bai, the elder daughter, was given in marriage to Sakharam Saheb. She died without leaving any issue on the 26th of December 1856. The younger daughter Mukta Bai was born in 1846 and was nine years old at the date of the death of the Raja and was then unmarried. She was subsequently given in marriage to Sakharam Saheb, her deceased sister's husband. She died in 1885 without male issue but leaving Sambu Singh her adopted son who died without male issue and who in turn is alleged to have adopted the third defendant.
89. It will thus be seen that at the date of the Raja's death he had 16 wives married according to orthodox Hindu ritual and 40 sword wives and six sons by six of them whose names I have already given and two daughters by a predeceased Rani. On the 29th of October 1855 Mr. Forbes, who was then the Resident at the Court of Tanjore, reported the Raja's death to the Government and Exhibit B-32 is the report. It merely states that the Raja was seized with a slight illness two days previously, that the danger was apparent only on the 29th and that the Raja died before the Resident arrived at the Fort. He sent a detailed report, Exhibit G-208, dated the 6th November 1855. He treated the sword wives as mere permanent concubines and reported that the Raja left no male issue and suggested the continuance of the line by making the younger daughter the ruler of the State, as the elder daughter who was very ill was not expected to survive long. Mr. Forbes pointed out that there was no bar to female succession, that the officers of the Raja's darbar met the day after his death and decided to urge the claims of the younger daughter to succeed, that on a previous occasion when the ruler died without issue, his widow succeeded him and that he was informed that similar successions took place in Satara and Kolhapur. The Madras Government did not acquiesce in the view taken by Mr. Forbes or adopt his suggestion and they addressed a letter to the Court of Directors which is published in the appendix to Exhibit C-69 (Hickey on the Tanjore Mahratta Principality). The view taken by the Madras Government was that there was no male heir or any legitimate claimant to the Raj : that the Raj consequently became extinct and should be so declared : and that the family of the Raja should be treated with liberality and consideration. The. Court of Directors in their despatch, dated the 16th of April 1856, were of opinion that
as the Raja died without leaving a son by birth or adoption or any brother him surviving, there cannot be a male claimant to the dignity, that the Tanjore Raj was therefore extinct and that it lapsed to the British Government.
90. The Government of Madras immediately on the death of Sivaji took possession of all the properties belonging to the State and the personal properties of the Raja. Arrangements were then made for the maintenance of the family and dependants of the Raja. The widows secured the services of Mr. John Bruce Norton, one of the leading Barristers in Madras, and sent up a memorial to the Government, wherein they alleged, among other things, that the deceased Maharaja had intended to adopt his sister's grandson, and that the sister's grandson performed the funerals with the consent of Mr. Forbes. A petition was also sent by numerous residents of Tanjore praying that Rajaram Rao may be elevated to the vacant throne as he was adopted by the widows and performed the funeral rites with the approval of the Resident. These petitions were referred to the Resident, and he sent the letter, Exhibit B-91, dated 18th February 1856, to the Government denying that Rajaram Rao was adopted by the Raja or performed his funerals with his sanction and stating that it is improbable that the late Raja would have had any intention of adopting the boy or given any instructions regarding the adoption, having regard to the fact that the death of the Raja was sudden. He also stated that any adoption by the widows would be illegal. As the Government had taken possession of the properties of the late Raja and sold some of the movable properties including livestock and did not pay any attention to the requests of the members of the late Raja's family, Mr. Norton advised the ladies to file a Bill in the Supreme Court at Madras restraining the Government from disposing of the private properties of the late Raja, and a Bill was filed in the Supreme Court on the 18th November 1856. Exhibit D-159 is the Bill filed in the Supreme Court by Kamakshi Bai Saheba against the East India Company. It prayed that Kamakshi Bai Saheba, as the eldest widow of the late Sivaji Maharaja and the first married among his surviving widows, may be declared by a decree of the Court entitled to inherit and possess the private and particular estate, movable and immovable, left at the time of his death subject to the payment of any debts and demands against the private estate, that the East India Company may be declared to be trustees for the plaintiff in respect of such, estate taken possession of by them, that an account be taken of such estate and possession be decreed to be given of the properties so found and for an injunction restraining the Bast India Company from selling or interfering with the private and particular estate and effects, real and personal, left by Sivaji. After the filing of this Bill, 15 of the other widows were added as supplemental defendants. The Supreme Court of Madras granted a decree in plaintiff's favour. An appeal was filed to the Privy Council, and the judgment of the Supreme Court was reversed on the ground that the act of the East India Company in seizing the properties of the Tanjore Raja being an act of State, the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction to interfere. The judgment of the Supreme Court, dated 11th December 1857, as well as that of the Privy Council, dated 27th July 1859, is reported in The Secretary of State in Council of India v. Kamachee Boye Sahaba (1859) 7 M.I.A., 476. Though their Lordships of the Privy Council disposed of the appeal on the ground that Municipal Courts had no jurisdiction, their Lordships made strong observations on the confiscation of the private estate of the Raja. Lord Kingsdown who delivered the judgment observed:
It is extremely difficult to discover in these papers any ground of legal right on the part of the East India Company, or of the Crown of Great Britain, to the possession of this Raj, or of any part of the property of the Raja on his death ; and, indeed, the seizure was denounced by the Attorney-General (who, from circumstances explained to us at the hearing, appeared as counsel for the respondent, and not in his official character for the appellant) as a most violent and unjustifiable measure. The Raja was an independent sovereign of territories undoubtedly small, and bound by treaties to a powerful neighbour, which left him, practically, little power of free action ; but he did not hold his territory, such as it was, as a fief of the British Crown or of the East India Company; nor does there appear to have been any pretence for claiming it, on the death of the Raja without a son, by any legal title either as an escheat, or as bona vacantia. It should seem, therefore, that the possession could hardly have been taken upon any such grounds.
91. On the receipt of the decision of the Privy Council the Government of Madras passed proceedings as regards provision to be made for the relatives and dependants of the Raja. These proceedings appear at pages 540 to 547 of The Secretary of State in Council of India v. Kamachee Boye Sahaba (1869) 7 M.I.A., 476. It was resolved that a pension should be granted to the immediate members of the Raja's family, to his relations and to the servants and pensioners, and a list of persons who would be entitled to pension was drawn up and proposals were made for the granting of pensions. Exhibit K-12, dated the 5th of December 1859, is the proceedings of the Madras Government considering the claims of the individual members of the Raja's family and fixing their pensions. Kamakshi Bai Saheba and several of the Ranis, however, refused to receive the pensions granted.
92. After the judgment of" the Privy Council went against the Rani, Mr. John Bruce Norton wrote Exhibit A-297, dated the 6th of September 1859, to the Rani stating that between the seizure of the Raj in 1855 and the disposal of the case by the Privy Council, there was a complete revulsion of feeling owing to the intervention of the mutiny and the assumption of the Government of India by the Queen and the issue of the Proclamation of 1858. He suggested a public agitation and stated that he was prepared to go to England and advocate her cause. On the 1st of March 1860, the mother and the widows of the late Raja submitted a memorial, Exhibit A-22, to the Secretary of State through Mr. Norton praying for the restitution of the private property of the Raja, and the restoration of the Raj. Mr. Norton proceeded to England to interview the authorities and obtain orders favourable to the petitioners. Mr. Norton also submitted a memorial to the House of Lords. The memorial has not been filed, but Exhibit A-84, which is a letter written by Mr. Norton to the Rani, refers to the petition signed by 12 out of the 15 Ranis. Mr. Norton's efforts in England appear to have been crowned with a measure of success so far as the private property of the Raja was concerned. He returned to India and submitted a memorial, Exhibit A-35, dated the 20th of May 1861, to the Governor-General on hehalf of Kamakshi Bai Saheba praying that the Raj may be restored as a permanent provision for herself and the family. In paragraph 9 of the memorial, it was alleged that the late Raja was desirous of adopting, and fully intended to adopt one Rajaram Saheb, a youth in every way fitted for affiliation, but that death cut him off too suddenly for the performance of the necessary ceremonies, that the youth with the consent of the whole of the royal family performed the Raja's funeral ceremonies with the knowledge of the Resident Mr. Forbes, that by the Mahratta custom no express authority from the husband to the widow is required to render an adoption valid, that Kamakshi Bai Saheba has always expressed and now expresses her willingness to forego her own legal claim in favour of the boy designated by the Raja for his successor and that she has only refrained hitherto from adopting the boy from a desire not to embarrass the action of the British Government while her case was under consideration. The result of the memorial sent up and the efforts in England of Mr. Norton were that the Government of India resolved to relinquish the whole of the private properties of the Raja in favour of his heirs. Exhibit A-37, dated 23rd of June 1862, is a letter from the Secretary to the Government of India, Foreign Department, to the Chief Secretary to the Government of Fort St. George, and it runs as follows:
I am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, dated 17th ultimo, No. 194, soliciting further instructions regarding the disposal of the landed property of the Tanjore Raj, and in reply to state that since it is doubtful whether the lands in question can be legally dealt with as State property and since the plea in equity and policy for treating them as the private property of the Raja is so strong that it commands the unanimous support of the members of the Madras Government, the Governor General in Council sanctions the relinquishment of the whole of the lands in favour of the heirs of the late Raja.
93. Before dealing with the grant by the Government (Exhibit A-46, dated the 21st of August 1862), it is necessary to see what the state of affairs then was. It will be seen from the report of Mr. Forbes that immediately after the Raja's death there were three parties. The Queen mother Avu Bai Saheba and those who supported her wanted that the Raj should continue in favour of Rajaram Ingle, the grandson of Sakwar Bai, sister of the deceased Raja, and whom the Raja was bringing up probably with the intention of being ultimately adopted, should he have no issue, but who was not actually adopted at the time of the Raja's death. Sakharam Saheb, the husband of the elder daughter of the late Raja, and those who supported him were anxious that he should be recognized as heir and if that was not possible, the second Princess should be declared heiress as the first Princess was suffering from an incurable malady and was not expected to live long (she in fact died in 1856). There can be little doubt that Sakharam Saheb who put forward in his petitions to Government, Exhibits B-50, B-51 and B-52, the claim that he was married to the elder daughter on the understanding that he was to succeed in case there was no issue, hoped to marry the second Princess on the death of her elder sister and was intriguing for the purpose. He ultimately married her shortly afterwards. Mr. Forbes was in favour of the Raj being continued in favour of the second daughter of the Raja. The third party consisted of Kamakshi Bai Saheba and her adherents. She was the eldest of the Ranis and Mr. Norton strongly urged that as the senior Rani she was the person entitled to succeed in the absence of any male issue.
94. So far as the alleged adoption is concerned, although attempts were made soon after the death of the Raja to make out that the circumstance that Rajaram Ingle was brought up by the la.te Raja coupled with the performance of the funeral ceremonies on his death created a valid title as the adopted son in the boy, this claim was negatived almost in its inception by Mr. Forbes, the Resident, and the Government completely ignored any such claim. Though Kamakshi Bai Saheba was at one time willing that the estate should be conferred on the boy and was prepared to waive her own claim, she was advised by Mr. Norton that she should file a Bill in equity in her own name and that any formal adoption by her of Rajaram Ingle should be postponed till she recovered the estate. This advice prevailed and no adoption was made at the date of the grant Exhibit A-46.
95. It is clear from the proceedings of the Government which I shall refer to that the only claims which the Government had before it at the time of the re-grant and which it considered, were the claims of Kamakshi Bai Saheba and the widows on the one hand and those of Mukta Bai, the second and only surviving daughter of the Raja at that time on the other. During the course of these proceedings it seems to have been assumed by all parties that the Mangala Vilas ladies were only the permanent concubines and that their children by the Raja were only illegitimate children. They were then young and nobody thought of advancing any claims in their favour to succession. The Government observed in paragraph 2 of Exhibit A-46 that it having been resolved that the whole of the lands are to be relinquished in favour of the heirs of the late Raja,
it had to be determined on what principle the distribution of the property both real and personal should be made or in other words what are the respective rights of the Raja's widows and of his daughter.
96. The question before the Government being only whether the estate should be delivered over to the widows or the daughter, the question was referred to the Pundits. The answer by the Senior Pundit was that where a person separated from his co-parceners, dies leaving no male issue, all his widows remaining chaste are entitled to participate equally in his personal property, that as regards the real property it goes solely to the widow who has a daughter but that if there be no such widow, all the widows are entitled to participate equally in it, that the widows are competent to dispose of their respective shares of the personalty, at will, but that they cannot alienate the real property without the consent of their dayadis except for most indispensable purposes, that the law is the same in this respect for Mahrattas as for other Dravida Hindus and that Mayukha is an acknowledged authority for the Mahrattas being in accordance with the Dharma Sastras governing the other Dravidas. The Junior Pundit was of opinion that where a man, either with the consent of his eldest wife, or from a belief that she is incapable of bearing male issue, marries other females, the latter would become his lawful wives but that if he marries them notwithstanding the knowledge of his eldest wife's capability of bearing issue, the other wires cannot be regarded as lawful wives but only such as were intended for purposes of sensual gratification, that according to Mayukha all the widows may of their own accord enjoy the property in common, but that in doing so they should take the property each in turn according to seniority, that the party in possession should support the rest, that, so long as the property was undivided, it cannot be used for any but legal purposes but that when divided, each of the widows can dispose of their respective shares of the personal property as they please, that they can also dispose of the real property under the special circumstances noticed in the Sastras, that in respect of inheritance the Mahrattas as well as the other Hindus are governed by Mitakshara and that the Mayukha is particularly applicable to the Mahratta country but that if there was any special custom among Mahrattas in respect of inheritance, such custom must be acted upon. The Junior Pundit was asked a specific question as to what are the rights of the widows if they are of unexceptional character ? He replied that if the widows are of unexceptional character, they should enjoy the property according to the seniority, the party in possession being bound to afford the rest full protection. The Government agreed with the opinion of the Junior Pundit.
97. Having regard to the above facts and the circumstances which existed at the date of Exhibit A-46, the question is what are the rights of the parties ? The material portions of Exhibit A-46 run as follows:
4. The Governor in Council concurs in the opinion of the Junior Pundit which, he observes, is in accordance with the provisions of the Hindu Law as sanctioned by several decisions of. the Sudder Court. In the decree passed by that Court in Appeal Suit No. 5 of 1824 printed at page 454 of the 1st Volume of "Selected Decrees" and in that passed in Appeal Suit No. 1 of 1835 printed at page 40 of the second volume, the principle that where there are no male heirs, the senior widow is entitled to succeed to the management of the Estate, both real and personal, is distinctly recognized. The Senior Pundit admits that the rights of the widows, according to his construction of the law, whereby they are severally declared to be entitled to an equal share of the real and personal property, are limited to the use of it during their lifetime, that they cannot alienate it, and that on the death of the widows it goes to the next heir of the husband. It is obvious that such a distribution of the property, as the Senior Pundit contends for, would greatly endanger its security and the rights of those next in succession. On the other hand, the recognition by the law of a senior widow who during her lifetime manages the property providing for the due participation in its proceeds by the other widows--her co-heirs, prevents much confusion and endless disputes, and by limiting the responsibility to a single individual gives greater security to the property itself.
5. The Senior Pandit refers to an opinion given by himself and by the Junior Pundit in reply to a question put to them on the 22nd October 1855 which, it appears to the Governor in Council, exactly meets the case now under consideration. The opinion in question is referred to by the Senior Pundit with the view of showing that the Junior Pundit did not always hold the opinion for which he now contends, but it appears to the Government to tell just the other way. In the opinion referred to it is not suggested that the property should be divided, but it declared (and no distinction is made between real and personal property) that it vests first in the widows and after their deaths is to be inherited by the daughter. This, the Governor in Council conceives, is strictly in accordance with the principles of Hindu Law as expounded by the Court of Sudder Adawlut in the decrees already referred to, and with the evidence adduced in, and decision given by, the Supreme Court in the suit instituted against the Government by Kamakshi Bai ; and by this principle the Government must be guided in dealing with the Estate of the late Raja of Tanjore. The Estate will, therefore, be made over to the senior widow who will have the management and control of the property, and it will be her duty to provide in a suitable manner for the participative enjoyment of the Estate in question by the other widows--hero-heirs. On the death of the last surviving widow, the daughter of the late Raja, or failing her the next heirs of the late Raja, if any, will inherit the property.
6. The Governor in Council directs that the Government Agent at Tanjore will communicate this decision to the widows and daughter of the late Raja, and will take steps to place the senior widow in possession of the property, both real and personal, impressing upon her the responsibility which will attach to her both in regard to her conduct towards her co-heirs and for the security of the property. She will, of course, be required to give a receipt for the whole of the personal property on being placed in possession of it.
98. In pursuance of the proceeding mentioned above, Kamakshi Bai Saheba as the eldest of the widows of the Raja was put in possession of the properties. As already pointed out, Avu Bai Saheba, the mother, and several of the Ranis that were siding with her including Kamakshi Bai Saheba were keen on adopting Rajaram Ingle. Mr. Norton advised the postponement of the adoption till the Raj or at least the private property of the Raja was recovered and was of opinion that any adoption made when the claims made for the restoration of the Raj and the properties were not disposed of by the Government would be extremely inconvenient. After the properties were delivered over to Kamakshi Bai Saheba in pursuance of the Government Order, the ceremony of adoption was gone through on the 1st of July 1863. I shall refer to the events which preceded and followed the adoption in dealing with the issue as to its validity. After the adoption, Kamakshi Bai Saheba desired to put the adopted son in possession of the properties which she took possession of and took steps for the purpose. She maintained that her co-widows had no interest in the property or any right to control its management and she did not make provision for their maintenance. Owing to disputes between the parties, two out of the 15 Ranis then surviving filed O.S. No. 16 of 1866 on the file of the District Court of Tanjore praying for a declaration that the adoption was invalid, that all the widows were entitled to share equally and that the Estate should be divided between them. Kamakshi Bai and 13 of the widows were defendants Nos. 1 to 13 in that suit and the adopted son was the 14th defendant. Neither the daughter of the Raja nor the issues by the Mangala Vilas. ladies were parties to that suit. The District Judge, without taking evidence, upheld the contention of the plaintiffs that the widows were entitled to equal enjoyment of the property but that they had no right to have the estate partitioned and he appointed a Receiver. He expressed an opinion that the adoption was not binding on plaintiffs. An appeal was filed in the High Court and the case is reported in Jijoyiamba Bayi Saiba v. KamaJcshi Bayi Saiba (1868) 3 M.H.C.R., 424. As the judgment of the High Court deals with the effect of this grant on the rights of the parties before it, it is necessary to refer in some detail to the view taken by the High Court. As neither the daughter of the Raja nor the Mangala Vilas sons were parties to the suit or appeal, it would of course not be binding on them ; but the judgment will be valuable as an expression of opinion by two of the eminent Judges of this Court.
99. In dealing with the question whether the grant was an original grant from the Government of their mere grace and favour, or a restoration of the property to those entitled to it by right of succession, or an abandonment by the Government of all claim of right by virtue of their State act of seizure, the learned Judges after referring to the proceedings of the Government observe:
There is nothing in those proceedings indicative of an abandonment of proprietary right from the time of seizure, and it would have been strange to have found it otherwise after the firmness shown by the Government in the maintenance of their unfettered sovereign ownership. They evidence, we think, the retention throughout of the absolute State right to the property, and the intention that the more liberal restoration resolved on should take effect as a beneficent grant of the proprietary right by the Government from the date of the transfer. No doubt the transfer was for the benefit of those who were then the legal representatives of the Raja, and put them (as the Advocate-General argued, and we were about to hold) in the position to enjoy the rights, which the law gave to such representatives : but not therefore, as was further argued, in the same legal position as if the Government had never taken the property. It might have been otherwise made, and there is the further circumstance against the intention to recognize the right of inheritance from the Raja's death, that provision was not made at the time of the transfer for the restoration of the income of the lands during the interval that possession was withheld, as we find was the case on the restoration to the Raja's daughter of three villages the mirasi rights of which were recognized by the Government to have been vested in her mother. The net profits, it appears, were afterwards disbursed to the senior widow ; but the Court cannot regard that disbursement otherwise than as a still more liberal State donation, induced by the memorial appealing to the further exercise of the benevolence of the Government and stating that unless the senior widow was provided with funds, the benevolent object of providing for the comfort and respectability of the family would be defeated, owing to the load of debt with which they were burthened. For these reasons we are of opinion that this Court is bound to consider the transfers under the order as a grant of grace and favour by the Government in right of their absolute sovereign ownership, just as if it had been thought proper to make the disposition in favour of persons who were not the nearest representatives, and consequently that the widows' and daughter's proprietary rights are derivative from the Government, and have not relation back to inheritance on the death of the Raja. It is only on the ground that the Government had confessed themselves completely in the wrong in regard to the possession of the property and passed the order as a reparation that the Court could hold differently, and we think the contrary of that inconsistent and most unlikely position appears.
100. In dealing with the rights of the adopted son who was the 14th Defendant in the suit they observe:
This decision renders it unnecessary to send to the lower Court an issue raising the question of the validity or invalidity of the alleged adoption of the 14th defendant. For if found to be valid (a result at present very problematic) his present claim by right of adoption being as lineal heir of the Raja in preference to the widows would not be maintainable. To that claim, the absolute ownership of the Government in the interval from the death of the Raja until the act of State by which the transfer was made to the widows and daughter is, we think, fatal. As heir inheriting by descent he appears to us to be in no better position before the Municipal law of the country than he would be if the property in dispute still remained with the Government, and he were claiming it or the entire former territory of the Raja. Whether as adopted son he may become entitled to claim under and by virtue of the transfer, is not a question on which we need or can properly say anything in this suit.
101. Dealing with the interest which the grant gave to the widows the learned Judges held that the order was intended to pass and did pass the property to the widows to be held and enjoyed with the same rights as the law of succession gives widows on the devolution of property by inheritance. After reviewing the authorities the learned Judges held that the widows took a joint estate for life in their husband's property with the rights of survivorship and equal beneficial enjoyment. The case was sent down to the Civil Judge to return findings as to the nature and value and income of the properties handed over by the Government to Kamakshi Bai Saheba. Findings were returned and the High Court pronounced judgment on the findings which has been marked as Exhibit D-61. A final decree was passed by the High Court on the 8th of May 1868 which has been filed as Exhibit B-179. The material portion of the decree runs as follows:
This Court doth adjudge and declare that the plaintiffs and the defendants who are the surviving widows of the late Raja of Tanjore derive their title to the property in the plaint mentioned from the Government under the order of the 21st August 1862 and are possessed of a joint estate for their respective lives with rights of survivorship and severally entitled to an equal share of the rents, produce and profits of the said property and the beneficial use and enjoyment of the movable portion thereof in common.
102. The grant Exhibit A-46 was considered by the Madras High Court in two later decisions. Kaliana Sundaram Ayyar v. Umamba Bayi Saheba (1897 ) I.L.R., 20 Mad., 421 arose out of a suit filed by Umamba Bayi Saheba, the then Senior Rani, to recover possession of the Devasthanam and endowments which were in charge of the late Kamakshi Bai Saheba, the senior widow, at the date of the death of the Raja of Tanjore in 1855 and which after her death were transferred to the Devasthanam Committee by the Government. In dealing with the grant, dated the 21st of August 1862, the learned Judges observe:
On the 21st August 1862 an order was made by Government to the effect that the private property of the late Raja should be handed over to the Senior Rani, the late Kamakshi Bayi, on the terms mentioned therein [see Jijoyiamba Bayi Saiba v. Kamakshi Bayi Saiba (1868) 3 M.H.C.R., 424]. The nature of these terms was such that the Senior Rani and the other Ranis and the Raja's daughter were practically placed as between themselves in the position in which they would have been under Hindu law, had no confiscation of the property taken place.
103. In dealing with the estate which the Senior Rani took, their Lordships observe at page 431:
The question still remains what was the precise nature of the estate intended to be taken by the Senior Rani. It must be taken that the estate was in the nature of self-acquired property in the Rani's hands, in this sense, that her rights were derivative from Government and had no relation back to inheritance on the death of the Raja.
104. That was the view taken with regard to the private property restored by the order of 21st August 1862
[see Jijoyiamba Bayi Saiba v. Kamakshi Bayi Saiba (1868) 3 M.H.C.R., 424]. In Sundaram Ayyar v. Ramachandra Ayyar (1917) 32 M.L.J., 333, where the question arose as to the rights of tenants in a Mokhasa in the Tanjore Palace Estate, there is a passing reference to the grant Exhibit A-46 and the Chief Justice observes:
It was expressly decided in The Secretary of State in Council of India v. Kamachee Boye Sahaba (1859) 7 M.I.A., 476 that the villages forming the so-called private estate of the Raja then became the property of the Government, and some years later they were granted as a matter of grace and favour to the widows of the late Raja and after them to his daughter or failing her his next heirs as held by the Court in Jijoyiamba Bayi Saiba v. Kamakshi Bayi Saiba (1868) 3 M.H.C.R., 424 at p. 444.
105. The contentions of the parties as regards the meaning and legal effect of the words
on the death of the last surviving widow, the daughter of the late Raja, or, failing her, the next heirs of the late Raja, if any, will inherit the property,
raise questions of some difficulty. It is contended by Mr. Grant who argued this part of the case for the 15th defendant who is the appellant in Appeal No. 199 of 1919 that the effect of the grant by the Government was to confer on the widows what in law would be a pure Hindu widow's estate with all its legal incidents, thus vesting the whole of the inheritance in them, that the daughter had only a spes successionis as would be the case if the property devolved on the widows by right of inheritance and that the words "or failing her, the next heirs of the Raja will inherit the property" mean that if the daughter should predecease the widows, the persons who under Hindu Law would be the heirs of the Raja next after the widows and the daughter will be entitled to inherit the property. He argues that as under the Hindu Law a natural (Aurasa) Son or an adopted son would take before and not after the daughter, the terms of the grant necessarily excluded the adopted son and the Mangala Vilas sons, even assuming that the findings of the Subordinate Judge as to the validity of the adoption and the legitimacy of the Mangala Vilas sons are right. This contention has been adopted by the vakil for the 14th defendant who is the appellant in Appeal No. 201 of 1919 and the vakil for the 24th defendant who is the appellant in Appeal No. 248 of 1919. The contention for the third defendant is that under the terms of the grant successive estates were conferred on the widows and daughter, that the daughter's rights were not merely those of an expectant heir but that the daughter took an absolute vested remainder on the death of the widows which was capable of transmission to her heirs, that the words "failing her" meant "failing her and her heirs," that the next heirs would be the heirs of the Eaja on the date of her death and not heirs on the date of the death of the last of the Ranis. It is contended that the Hindu Law makes no distinction between natural and adopted sons who are both equally entitled to succeed collaterally and that the third defendant or the adopted son of the son adopted by the daughter will be in the same position as he was the natural grandson of the daughter and that as she left an heir, namely, the third defendant, he is entitled to the property. He, however, accepts the contention of Mr. Grant that under the Government order, Exhibit A-46, the adopted son and the Mangala Vilas sons are excluded as they would not be heirs next after the daughter but heirs who under Hindu Law would take precedence over her. The contention of defendants Nos. 1, 2 and 4 to 11 is that under the terms of the grant the widows had a life-estate, that the daughter, if she survived, would have succeeded, that on her death, succession has to be traced back to the heirs of the Raja and that the heirs of the Raja would undoubtedly be the first and second defendants who are the sons of the adopted son and defendants Nos. 4 to 11 who represent the issue of the Raja by the Mangala Vilas. They contend that the grant discloses no intention to exclude anybody, that, as the adoption of the father of the first and second defendants was made in 1863 after the date of the grant, there could have been no intention to exclude anybody, and that the next heirs of the Raja simply means the nearest heirs of the Raja and that in fixing that class, the rule of Hindu Law will apply, namely, that in seeking for reversioners to the estate of a sonless Hindu the selection will be made from such of the heirs as would be the heirs of the Raja if he had died on the date of the death of the widow. It is further contended for defendants Nos. 4 to 11, that assuming that they were treated as illegitimate sons and grandsons of the late Raja, under the Hindu Law as it then stood, illegitimate sons were treated as coming after the widow and the daughter and that in any event they cannot be cut out under the terms of the grant, assuming that it excluded persons who would in the ordinary course have inherited prior to the widows and the daughter. It was argued that in construing the terms of a grant the state of the law as then current should be kept in view and reference was made to Abdul Aziz Khan v. Appayasami Naiker (1904) I.L.R., 27 Mad., 131.
106. I do not think that there are any grounds for holding that the Government in re-granting the property wanted to exclude anybody. It should be remembered that while the annexation of the Raj and the taking possession of the private properties of the Raja took place in 1855, the restoration was in 1862 and during the interval, the Great Indian Mutiny had completely changed the attitude of the G overnment in the matter of recognizing adoptions or annexing Native States. The avowed policy of Lord Dalhousie who was the Governor-General of India between 1848 and 1856 was to annex Native States and principalities in all cases where the Raja died without leaving legitimate male issue. Adoptions were not recognized. His policy in his words was that "of getting rid of those petty intervening principalities which may be made a means of annoyance but which can never be a source of strength to the British.'' The States of Kolaba, Satara, Nagpore and Jhansi were annexed on the ground that the Rajas left no male heirs and that the Government would not recognize any adoption made by the Rajas. Exhibit A-11 is a notification, dated 16th March 1846, extending the rule to shrotriyams and mokhasas and the protest of the Raja is filed as Exhibit A-12, dated the 20th of July 1846. No heed was paid by the Government to the representations made by the Raja and the other Ruling Chiefs and State after State was being annexed. It was to prevsent such a fate overtaking Tanjore that on the 18th of July 1852 the Raja of Tanjore married 17 wives with the hope that one at least of them may bear male issue to succeed to the Raj. The Great Indian Mutiny which began in 1857 opened the eyes of the British Government to the unwisdom of the policy and one result of the assumption by the Crown of the Government of India was a complete reversal of the policy. Lord Canning's Proclamation in 1860, after the Mutiny was quelled and the Government was transferred to the Crown, recognized the full and unfettered power of adoption and the Queen's Proclamation was a public assurance that private rights of Native rulers including the right of adoption would be fully recognized. There was therefore no possible ground on which the Government in 1862 would have objected to the adopted son succeeding to the private property of the Eaja if there was at that time a validly adopted son in existence, more especially as the restoration was not of the Raj but only of the private property which belonged to the Eaja, There was also no reason why the Government should forbid a future adoption if it could have been validly made under Hindu Law. In fact the attitude of the Government when the adoption was brought to its notice by Kamakshi Bai Saheba and the other Ranis and when the contemplated adoption was objected to by the daughter was one of complete indifference so far as the private properties of the Raja which were restored by the order, Exhibit A-46, was concerned. It should also be borne in mind that in addition to the complete change of policy which was publicly announced and faithfully carried out after the assumption of the Government of India by the Crown in the year 1858, the seizure by the East India Company of the private property of the Raja was condemned in emphatic terms by the Supreme Court and the Privy Council as an act for which there was not even a shadow of legal justification. Petitions were submitted by Kamakshi Bai Saheba and the other Ranis and the effect of the memorials submitted and the able and persistent advocacy of Mr. Norton both in India and in England was to convince the Government of India and the Home authorities of the injustice done . to the heirs of the Raja by the seizure of his private property.
107. It is unfortunate that we have not got all the correspondence which passed between the Madras Government and the Government of India and the Home authorities. Exhibit A-37, dated the 23rd of June 1862, which, is a letter from the Secretary to the Government of India, Foreign Department (Political), to the Chief Secretary to the Government of Fort St. George, throws considerable light on the reasons which prompted the restoration of the private property. It runs as follows:
I am directed to acknowledge the receipt of your letter, dated 17th ultimo, No. 194, soliciting further instructions regarding the disposal of the landed property of the Tanjore raj and in reply to state that, since it is doubtful whether the lands in question can be legally dealt with as State property, and since the plea in equity and policy for treating them as the private property of the Raja is so strong that it commands the unanimous support of the members of the Madras Government; the Governor-General in Council sanctions the relinquishment of the whole of the lands in favour of the heirs of the late Raja.
108. This letter shows that the Government recognized the doubtful nature of the seizure of the private property and that it wanted to relinquish that property in favour of the persons who would have been rightly entitled to it as the heirs of the Eaja but for the seizure. Exhibit A-46 which evidences the re-grant begins by referring to Colonel Durand's letter and paragraph 2 states that the question of the relinquishment in favour of the heirs of the Raja having been settled,
It has to be determined on what principles the distribution of the property both real and personal shall be made, or in other words what are the respective rights of the Raja's widows and of his daughter. The Government have now before them the opinion of the Hindu Law officers of the Sadder Court on a question put with the view of ascertaining the Hindu Law as applicable to the case,
109. The words "relinquishment of the whole of the lauds , in favour of the heirs of the late Raja" show clearly that no person who would be the heir at the time or subsequently was to be excluded and that, though technically the relinquishment may by virtue of the anterior seizure in the professed exercise of sovereign rights have the effect of a fresh, grant, there was as far as possible to be no break with the past and no change for the future,--things being put in the same position as if there had been no seizure. The position therefore was that it was resolved to relinquish the property which had been seized and the Government was anxious to give it back to the heirs of the Raja, i.e., to the persons who would have taken the property on the death of the Raja, had there been no seizure. The adoption of Rajaram Ingle, the father of the first and second defendants, by Kamakshi Bai Saheba was on the 1st July 1863, so that on the date of the Government Order of the 21st of August 1862 there was no adopted son in existence to claim the property. It is no doubt true that attempts were made to set up the claims of Rajaram Ingle to the raj soon after the Eaja's death on the ground that he had been brought up by the Raja with the intention of adopting him and that he had performed the funeral ceremonies with the knowledge and consent of the Resident; but it was admitted that no ceremony of adoption had been performed by the Raja. Mr. Forbes had at the earliest opportunity denied that Rajaram Ingle was adopted by the Raja or had any claims as such. The plaint in the suit by Kamakshi Bai Saheba against the East India Company to which the Secretary of State for India and the other Ranis were parties specifically stated that the Raja had died leaving neither a natural son or a son by adoption and that consequently Kamakshi Bai Saheba was the sole heir under Hindu Law. None of the parties to that litigation which was the chief cause of the restoration of the private property in 1862 ever set up the rights of the adopted son and legal proceedings went on on the footing that the only parsons entitled to the estate were the widows. Between the disposal of the suit by the Privy Council and there-grant nobody ever set up the rights of the adopted son and all the petitions and memorials which were submitted and which led to the restoration of the property were submitted by Kamakshi Bai Saheba and the other widows. There is nothing in the memorials to the Government which states that an adoption was going to be made before the date of the re-grant.
110. Under these circumstances it is difficult to hold that the Government had in view the rights of Rajaram Ingle, the father of the first and second defendants or that, it would have, if the adoption had been made before ] 862 and was otherwise valid under Hindu Law, excluded him from succession.
111. So far as the Mangala Vilas sons are concerned, it had been assumed from the very commencement by all parties that the Mangala Vilas ladies, though called sword wives, were in effect only in the position of permanently kept concubines of the late Raja and that the sons by them of the Raja were illegitimate. It was stated by Kamakshi Bai Saheba in the suit she filed against the Secretary of State and which has been already referred to that the deceased Raja was a Sudra by caste. This fact was admitted by the East India Company in the answer to plaintiff's interrogatories and the judgment of the Supreme Court affirmed this. Under the law as then understood the illegitimate sons were postponed to the widows and the daughters and there was no question of any immediate rights of the Mangala Vilas children or any motives for excluding them if there were no preferable heirs in existence when the last of the widows died.
112. Exhibit D-240 is a judgment of this Court in 1865 where it was held that an illegitimate son of a Sudra is postponed to his widow. Though it was reversed by the Privy Council on the facts of the case, the law wag not dissented from. Sir Thomas Strange in his Hindu Law, page 69, published long before 1862, states that the illegitimate son takes after the daughter. I may also refer to Parvathi v. Thirumalai (1887) I.L.R., 10 Mad., 334. It was only so late as the year 1909 that it was finally decided in Meenakshi Anni v. Appalcutti (1910) I.L.R., 33 Mad., 226 that the illegitimate son takes with the widow and is not excluded. Mr. Norton who was at one stage of the proceedings authorized to act for the Mangala Vilas ladies never set up any independent claim of the Mangala Vilas ladies or their sons to the private property of the Raja but contented himself with claiming and getting the restoration of the properties which belonged to the Mangala Vilas. Nobody at the date of grant thought of setting up the claims of the Mangala Vilas sons who were then little boys. Pensions had been granted to them by the Madras Government which were being received by the Mangala Vilas ladies. There is no ground for thinking that the Government had in view the rights of the Mangala Vilas sons when it made the grant and wanted to exclude them from succeeding. The only persons before the Government who had any present right according to the state of facts which were then before the Government were the only surviving daughter of the Raja and the widows who were married according to the orthodox ritual. Of these ladies Kamakshi Bai Saheba was the eldest and questions arose as to the rights of the daughter and of the widows inter se. It is these questions that the Government wanted to solve by reference to the Pundits and they wanted to solve them with reference to the rights of the parties under Hindu Law. Of the Raja's two daughters, the elder died on the 26th September 1856 and the younger who was nine years old at the date of his death married Sakharam Saheb, the husband of her deceased elder sister in 1860. They adopted one Sambu Singh on the 3rd July 1884. The junior Princess died on the 3lst January 1885 Her husband died on the 28th January 1895. Sambu Singh died in March 1891 after adopting the third defendant on 4th March 1891.
113. It is abundantly clear that the Government wanted to wash its hands of the private properties of the late Raja and did not reserve to itself any interest when it made the grant in 1862. While on the one hand it wanted to safeguard the property from waste and the consequent prejudice to the reversionary heirs, it did not want to prefer one heir to the other or to exclude persons who would be the heirs of the Raja when according to the Hindu Law succession to the Raja who was the last male holder, opened on the death of the widows. It should be remembered that there were 17 widows at the date of the Raja's death, some of whom were girls who had not even attained puberty. In the ordinary course of things it would have taken several years for the last of them to die and I find it difficult to believe that the intention of the Government was to cut out the nearer branches in favour of branches more remote, if such nearer branches should exist, when succession opened in the distant future.
114. Various contentions were raised by the parties as to what estate each of the persons specified in the Government grant took, and as to whether the interest taken was vested or contingent. So far as the widows, daughter and the other heirs of the Raja are concerned, it was contended by Mr. Grant for the fifteenth defendant that the widows took what under the Hindu Law would be a widow's estate, that they represented the whole inheritance leaving nothing but a spes successionis to those who come after them and that the Government having exhausted the whole estate by conferring it on the widows left no remainder to anybody else. He contends that the reference to the daughter and the next heirs of the Raja are descriptive of the nature of the estate granted to the widows arid that the widows are the only donees, the other words in the grant being words of limitation appropriate to the character of a widow's estate. Mr. Raja Ayyar for the third defendant contended that what was given to the widows was only a life estate, that the daughter got a vested remainder capable of transmission to her heirs and that any estate which the next heirs of the Raja may take was contingent on the death of the daughter and on there being no heirs of her own to succeed her under Hindu Law. Mr. Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar for defendants Nos. 4 to 11 contended that the widows took a life estate, that the estate taken by the daughter was contingent on her surviving the widows and that, if she predeceased the widows, the estate went to the next heirs of the Raja who, were to be ascertained at the date of the death of the last Rani. He adds that so far as his clients are concerned, it does not matter whether the estate taken by the daughter was vested or contingent, as, even if it was vested, it was defeasible on her predeceasing the widows and that there is nothing in law to prevent a vested estate from being defeasible.
115. In dealing with the estate which the widows took, the actual words of the grant do not throw much light. The important words of the grant are
the estate will therefore be made over to the senior widow who will have the management and control of the property, and it will be her duty to provide in a suitable manner for the participative enjoyment of the estate in question by the other widows--her co heirs.
116. There are no powers of alienation in terms given to the widows; but reading the document as a whole and having regard to the intention of the Government to dispose of the property in a manner that would least conflict with the Hindu Law as then understood, I thick the Government intended bo confer an estate in several respects analogous to that taken by a Hindu widow by inheritance.
117. The question whether it is open to a stranger to create what would strictly be a Hindu widow's estate in property by a grant or devise is not free from doubt. In Vengamma v. Chelamayya (1918) I.L.R. 36 Mad., 484 the learned Judges doubted if a Hindu widow's estate can be conferred by a stranger by grant or devise, but in Ram Bahadur v. Jager Nath Prasad (1918) 3 Pat. L.J., 199 (F.B.) it was held that such an estate can be conferred. The grant being a Crown grant, Act XXV of 1895 (Crown Grants Act) which is made retrospective applies and the grant must take effect according to its tenor irrespective of the Hindu Law. There is, however, nothing to prevent a grant imposing many of the limitations which would be imposed by Hindu Law upon a widow succeeding as heir without altering the course of succession. I am unable to agree with the contention of Mr. Grant that because the Government intended to grant an estate to the widows which should be analogous to an estate taken by a Hindu widow, there could be no gift over to anybody. The impossibility of a gift over to somebody would only arise if the action of the Government can be taken to be a mere restoration of the estate wrongfully seized and not a fresh grant; but as pointed out by the Subordinate Judge in paragraph 656 of his judgment all the parties were agreed before him that the properties being vested in the Crown and granted by it again, there was no lineal descent or direct inheritance from the Raja as would have been the case if the act of State had been annulled and succession was therefore governed primarily by the terms of the grant. They take the same ground before us on appeal. It was on this ground that the Jijoyiamba Bayi Saiba v. Kamakshi Bayi Saiba (1868) 3 M.H.C.R., 424 case negatived any present right in the adopted son to divest the widows and it is contended with considerable force by Mr. Raja Ayyar who appears for the third defendant that if the Government really conferred a strict widow's estate with all the incidents attached thereto, the divesting by the adopted son is one of the incidents which is inseparable from the widow's estate, and that it is no answer to say that the confiscation put an end to divesting by the adopted son, as the grant of a pure Hindu widow's estate would carry with it the liability of being divested by an adopted son--the divesting being not because of a claim by inheritance but of a claim by virtue of the terms of the grant conferring a Hindu widow's estate with all its incidents.
118. Much stress was laid on the use of the word "inherit" in the grant, Exhibit A-46. There can be little doubt that if confiscation put an end to all antecedent rights and rights have to be determined on the footing of a fresh grant, the words "inherit" and "next heirs" cannot have their ordinary meaning of taking property by virtue of intestate succession. "Inherit" must only mean "take."
119. It has been argued that the use of the word "inherit" in the grant precluded any idea of a gift in favour of the daughter or next heirs. I do not think that this is so; and I need only refer to Bhagabati Sarmanya v. Kalicharan Singh (1911) I.L.R., 38 Calc., 468. In that case the testator by his will after giving his properties to his mother and wife for life directed that after their death the property should go to his sister's sons who were then in existence and who may be born thereafter in equal shares and that they were "to hold the said properties in possession and enjoyment by right of inheritance." Their Lordships of the Privy Council at page 472 observe as follows:
It will be convenient at the outset to dispose of a point suggested by the words 'by right of inheritance.' It was said that there was really no bequest in favour of the nephews, and that so far as they were concerned, the will only declared the right of inheritance. The High Court had no difficulty in rejecting that contention, and their Lordships are of the same opinion.
120. I think the word "inherit" in the grant simply means "take." In John Lloyd Vaughan Watkcins v. Arthur Frederick (1865) 11 H.L.C., 358 the words used were the elder son "to inherit" before the younger. Lord Chancellor (Westbury) was of opinion that the words "to inherit" were used as simply equivalent to the verb "to take." Under Hindu Law the husband of a woman and his heirs would succeed to the absolute properties of the woman in preference to her father and his heirs and it could not have been the intention of the Government to divert the line of succession to Sakharam Saheb, the daughter's husband and to his heirs, if she died issueless before the widows. I am clearly of opinion that "failing her" does not mean "failing her and her heirs" as contended for by Mr. Raja Ayyar who appears for the third defendant--the adopted son of the adopted son of the daughter. I am also of opinion that the words "the next heirs of the late Raja" mean the nearest heirs of the Raja at the time when succession opened and do not mean the heirs next after the daughter. No authority has been cited for the contention that the words "the next heirs of the late Raja" must necessarily mean the heirs after the daughter. It will lead to strange consequences to hold that when properties are given to two of the relations of a person who are related to the donor, and it is provided that on failure of them or the second of them, the next heirs of the donor should take the property, all the persons who would under the Hindu Law of inheritance, be heirs in preference to the heirs of the second donee should be excluded. Suppose, for example, a man gives or bequeaths property to his wife to be enjoyed for her lifetime and then to his sister's son for whom he has a great affection and provides that, if the sister's son dies before the widow, the property should go to the donor's or testator's next heirs. Can it be said that because the sister's son is only a Bhandu (cognate) and comes much lower down in the table of succession after the list of agnatic heirs, all the agnates of the donor (e.g., his brother's son) would be excluded and the property should go to one further removed in succession than the sister's son P Such a construction would lead to absurd results. I see no reason for holding that the words "next heir" should not be used in the ordinary sense of "nearest heir." Ordinarily the words "next heir" mean the nearest, rightful or true heir. Reference may be made to section 80 of the Succession Act where the words, heirs, right heirs, relations, nearest relations, family, kindred, nearest of kin, next of kin are used and where it is stated that in such cases the nearest heir in the table of succession to the testator takes the property. In Doe v. Chaffey (1847) 16 M. & W., 656 it was held that "next heir" means the true heir when the gift takes effect and not the person next in order to the first son. Numerous cases were cited dealing with vested and contingent remainders and the construction placed by Courts on wills conferring successive estates. I think that several of the cases cited have no application to the facts of the present case. The principles which ought to guide Courts in the construction of wills, many of which apply with equal force to the construction of grants, have been laid down with great clearness by their Lordships of the Privy Council in Narasimha v. Parthasarathy (1914) I.L.R., 37 Mad.,
199. It has been pointed out in more cases than one by their Lordships of the Privy Council that the construction placed on the terms of one document is not a safe guide for construing another and I think the following observations of Lord SHAW in Lucas Tooth v. Lucas Tooth (1921) 1 A.C., 594 at page 613 may well be borne in mind in dealing with the cases cited :
My Lords, there are two things in construction which ought to be avoided: the first is the danger of misplaced analogy and the second is the treatment of a stated category as necessarily exhaustive of the possibilities of signification of a term employed.
121. I think that unless the terms of the grant, Exhibit A-46, clearly render it necessary to do so the nearer heirs of the Raja under Hindu Law ought not to be excluded in favour of remoter heirs. I can see no such intention in the grant, Exhibit A-46, which only dealt with the widows and daughter, the next heirs under Hindu Law then in existence. It has been argued that the mere fact that the adopted son would ordinarily take before the daughter implied that the Government wanted to exclude him. I do not think this result necessarily follows, It is competent to a Hindu having power to deal with his property by will to direct an adoption to be made by his widow and to postpone the rights of the adopted son to posseasion and enjoyment of the properties till after the death of his widow. It is also competent to the widow and the adopted son if he is a major, to agree that the adopted son shall get possession of the properties only after the death of the widow; and the decision in Jijoyiamba Bayi Saiba v. Kamakshi Bayi Saiba (1868) 3 M.H.C.R., 424 above referred to that the adopted son had no present right may be rested on the ground that the Government having given the properties to the widows as persona designata to be enjoyed by them for their lives with rights of survivorship necessarily excluded the adopted son from claiming possession or enjoyment during the lifetime of the widows. There is nothing to prevent estates being granted to take effect on the death of a Hindu and a woman's estate being treated merely as interposition and for succession to be traced to a deceased person on the analogy of the ordinary Hindu Law where the last male owner dies leaving persons who are entitled either simultaneously or in succession to what is known as a woman's estate. In such cases it is well settled that succession is traced to the last male holder on the supposition that he died on the date of the death of the holders of limited estates. Persons might come into existence who are nearer heirs to those existing on the date of his will or grant who may have taken earlier if in existence but who are postponed by the express terms of the grant. In cases of a Hindu widow obtaining estate by adverse possession as against a preferential heir of a deceased person, where circumstances indicate that she prescribed only for a widow's estate, it has been held that the heir of her husband succeeds even though he might have preference to the widow under the ordinary Hindu Law and would have taken before her but for her taking possession. I need only to refer to In re Prattipati Seshayya (1912) M.W.N., 315. In dealing with, the estate taken by the widows under Exhibit A-46, I do not think it makes any difference whether the widows took what in law would be a strict, Hindu widow's estate or whether they took an estate in several respects analogous to it or merely an estate for life, because it seems to me to be clear that whatever view may be taken, it is competent for remainders whether vested or contingent being tacked on to the estate conferred on the widows by the grant. In Mahomed Shumsool v. Shewukram (1874) 2 I.A., 7 property was conveyed by a Hindu to the widow of his deceased son. The document recited that "except her none other is nor shall be my heir and malik." It also recited that his daughter-in-law had two daughters "and that the two daughters named above, together with their children who, after their marriage, may be given in blessing to them by God Almighty, are and shall be heir and malik." The daughter-in-law who was the first donee borrowed moneys and sold the property comprised in the will, A suit was filed by the daughter's son for declaring his right as reversioner and for cancelling the sale. The High Court passed a decree setting aside the sale on payment of Rs. 14,000 which was all they held was binding on the reversioner. An appeal was filed to the Privy Council and their Lordships of the Privy Council confirmed the decree of the High Court. In dealing with the nature of the estate taken by the first donee, their Lordships held that
she did not take an absolute estate but that she took the estate subject to her daughters succeeding her in that estate: whether succeeding her as heirs of herself or succeeding her as heirs of the original testator is immaterial.
122. As regards the use of the word "heir," their Lordships observed:
it would appear that the testator uses the word "heir" as signifying the person who is to take immediately in succession to another, that he applies it to the Rani as the person who is to take in immediate succession to him, and to the two daughters as the persons who are immediately to succeed to the Rani
and their Lordships think that, viewing the will as a whole, when he uses the expression "except Mussumat Rani Dhun Kowur aforesaid, none other is nor shall be my heir and malik," it may be fairly construed as meaning that she shall take a life interest immediately succeeding him, without that interest being shared by her daughters or by any other person. In another portion of the judgment dealing with the power of the widow to confer an absolute estate if there were debts to pay, their Lordships observe
they apprehend the law to be this : that Rani Dhun Kowur, who may be considered as very much in the position of a Hindu widow might have sold the estate absolutely if it could Lave been shown (and the burden of showing this is upon the purchaser) that to convey such, an absolute estate was necessary in order to pay the debts of the testator, and was for the benefit of his estate generally.
123. This decision is important as showing that there is nothing illegal in an estate analogous to a widow's estate being granted to A and to a gift over being made to other persons. There is another case in the same volume Mussumat Bhagbutti Daee v. Ghowdry Bholanath Thakoor (1875) 2 I.A., 256. In this case one Odan Thakoor adopted his brother's son Grirdhari Thakoor. He had at that time a wife called Mussumat Chundarbutti and a daughter Mussumat Suntbutti. Shortly before his death he executed a document, which was construed in this case, in favour of the adopted son, and got a document in similar terms from his adopted son. In the document executed by Odan Thakoor he gave his daughter Mussumat Suntbutti a certain share in the property
for her maintenance in order that she may enjoy possession of the same with her children, as proprietress and thus pass her days.
124. He gave certain other properties to his wife
to be enjoyed during her lifetime, in order that she may hold possession of all the properties and milkiut possessed by me, the declarant, daring her lifetime, and by the payment of the Government revenue, appropriate the profits derived therefrom, but that she should not by any means transfer the milkiut estates and the slaves, that after the death of my aforesaid wife the milkiut and household furniture shall devolve on Girdhari Thakoor, my kurta (adopted son) and that no objection thereto raised by any one shall be ever held valid.
125. The Subordinate Judge construed the document as giving Chundarbutti an estate for life with power to appropriate the profits, and to Girdhari, the adopted son, a vested remainder on her death. On appeal, the High Court differed from the Subordinate Judge and observed as follows:
Shortly, the effect of the two ikrarnamas which have been read to us appears to be this, that by an understanding between Odan Thakoor and his adopted son, carried out in those instruments, it was agreed that notwithstanding the adoption, Chundarbutti should take and enjoy the estate of her husband, whose death was then apprehended and which did shortly afterwards occur, in the same mode as she would have taken and enjoyed it, if no adoption had taken place,
that is, in her character as a Hindu widow. Their Lordships of the Privy Council disagreed with the view of the High Court and stated that there was no evidence to show that there was any understanding as that referred to by the High Court and observed as follows:
If she took the estate only of a Hindu widow, one consequence, no doubt, would be that she would be unable to alienate the profits, or that at all events, whatever she purchased out of them would be an increment to her husband's estate, and the plaintiffs would be entitled to recover possession of all such property, real and personal. But, on the other hand, she would have certain rights as a Hindu widow; for example, she would have the rights under certain circumstances, if the estate were insufficient to defray the funeral expenses or her maintenance, to alienate it altogether. She certainly would have the power of selling her own estate; and it would further follow that Grirdhari would not be possessed in any sense of a vested remainder, but merely of a contingent one. It would also follow that she would completely represent the estate, and under certain circumstances the Statute of Limitations might run against the heirs to the estate, whoever they might be. Their Lordships see no sufficient reason for importing into this document words which would carry with them all these consequences, and they agree with the Subordinate Judge in construing it according to its plain meaning.
126. In Ram Bahadur v. Jager Natli Prasad (1918) 3 Pat. L.J., 199 (F.B.), one Fateh Chand died leaving a widow Mussumat Sheodei Kuer and his brother's daughter Mussumat Bibi Sabodra. He executed a will to the effect that should any son or daughter be born to him during his lifetime such son or daughter should be the owner of the property, that if there be no son or daughter, his niece should take a bequest of a lakh of rupees, that the rest of the moveable and immoveable properties should remain in the possession of his wife till her death and that after her death it should pass to his niece, but that if on the death of his wife and niece there should be living a son and a daughter born to his niece, they should share it in the proportion of two-thirds and one-third. After the death of the widow, Sabodra alienated certain properties and the question was whether the alienation was valid beyond her lifetime. It was held that Sabodra did not take an absolute estate by inheritance giving her unfettered rights of alienation but an estate which the Hindu Law confers on a woman who inherits in case of intestacy, that such an estate is capable of being granted by grant or by will and that the estate of those who took after the niece was a contingent and not a vested remainder. These decisions are authority for holding that even if a widow's estate was granted, there can be a remainder fastened upon it.
127. A question was raised in these appeals as to whether the period when the heirs of the Raja were to be ascertained was the date of the grant or the date of the death of the last Rani. On this point it has been held that no general rule can be laid down but that is a question of construction which will yield to the context. I need only refer to Hutchinson v. National Refuges for Homeless and Destitute Children (1920) A.C., 794 and Lvcas Tooth v. Lucas Tooth (1921) 1 A.C., 594. There is nothing in law to prevent a person taking as heir of the testator or donor by virtue of his satisfying the requirements in an ultimate bequest even though he may be excluded either expressly or by the terms of the grant from taking under a prior clause. Reference was made to the Succession Act and the Transfer of Property Act and though the Acts were long after the date of the grant, the Acts were referred to as affording a safe guidance. If any of the provisions of the Acts afford guidance for the interpretation of this will, I think section 111 and illustration (e) of the Succession Act and section 23 of the Transfer of Property Act are in point. Illustration (e) to section 111 of the Succession Act runs as follows:
A legacy is bequeathed to A for life and after his death to B 'and in case of B's death' to C. The words 'in case of B's death' are to be considered as meaning 'in case B shall die in the lifetime of A'.
128. I think the words in the present grant "or failing her" mean "if she should die before the last surviving widow." Reference was made by Mr. Rajah Ayyar to Brij Lal v. Suraj Bikram Singh (1912) I.L.R., 34 All., 405, where a testator bequeathed property to his wife directing that after his death she should remain in possession and enjoyment of the property with all powers or authority like himself and that after her death his daughter-in-law should remain in possession and enjoyment like himself and his wife. It empowered the daughter-in-law to nominate any one whom she may think fit as "heir" so that the name of the family may continue as formerly and now with honour. Their Lordships of the Privy Council affirming the decision of the Judicial Commissioners held that the daughter-in-law took only an estate for life and observed:
In the first place there is no estate at all given to the lady in terms. The only direction is that she is to remain in possession and occupation of the property, and then she is invested with the power of appointing an heir either in her lifetime or by will. It seems to their Lordships that the word 'heir' in that clause means heir to the testator and that the judgment of the Judicial Commissioners is perfectly right.
129. it is argued that in the present grant no estate is in terms conferred on the widows, that all that is said is that the estate will be made over to the senior widow who will have the management and control of the property, and that it will be her duty to provide in a suitable manner for the participative enjoyment of the estate in question by the other widows--her co-heirs, and that no powers are given of alienation, nor do any of the terms used in the grant denote that the widows had anything more than the right to enjoy the property for their lives as life-tenants. I do not think that the nature of the estate taken by the widows is very material as there is no question of any alienation by the widows or anything done by them which would prejudice the reversion. The property in dispute is almost identical with the property which the Receiver took possession of in 1866 and there are no claims of any alienees to be considered. The authorities which I have referred to show that where the widows took a life estate or an estate analogous to the estate of a Hindu widow, there is nothing to prevent remainders being fastened on to such estate and we are more concerned with, the nature of the remainders than with the powers of the widows, the first donees under the grant. However, having regard to the terms of the grant and, the attending circumstances pointed out by me, I think it was the intention of the Government to grant to the widows an estate corresponding as nearly as possible to the estate which a Hindu widow would take in her husband's property if she succeeded him in the ordinary way.
130. I think that the proper construction of the grant is that the widows were to enjoy an estate for their lives analogous to Hindu widow's estate with rights of survivorship, the management of the estate being in the hands of the senior widow, that the daughter was to succeed to the estate if she survived the last widow, and that if she predeceased her, the estate was to be taken by the person or persons who at the date of the death of the last surviving widow would under Hindu law be the next or nearest heirs of the Raja, he being treated as the stock of descent. I think the words "or failing her" mean "if the daughter should die before the widows" and that they do not mean failing her and her own heirs. The grant does not mean that the daughter is to be treated as a fresh stock of descent and it is clear from the succeeding words "the next heirs of the Raja will, if any, inherit," that the heirs of the daughter were not intended to come in unless they were also the next heirs of the late Raja if she died before the widows.
131. The next question is whether what is called a "sword marriage" is a valid form of marriage and whether the issue of such marriage have all the rights of legitimate issue. Connected with it is the question whether the mothers of defendants Nos. 4 and 5 and the grandmothers of defendants Nos. 6 to 11 were the sword wives of the late Maharaja Sivaji.
132. So far as the pleadings go, none of the defendants except defendants Nos. 4 to 11 allege that sword marriage is a legal or customary form of marriage. In paragraph 10 of the fourth defendant's written statement he states as follows:
This defendant is the legitimate son of His Highness Sivaji by Saubhagya Lakshmi Bai who was brought to the Palace as a virgin when she was about 11 years old and married to His Highness in the presence of sword a form of marriage which is customary and recognized as valid and legal in the family of His Highness and in the Mahratta community to which His Highness belonged.
133. Defendants Nos. 5 and 7 to 11 in paragraph 13 of their written statement allege:
That it was the custom of the Royal family of Tanjore to enter into sword marriages and to take as wives girls married according to that form. Such sword wives were admitted into the family as members thereof, were treated with respect and consideration by the other members including the wives married in the ordinary form.
134. It is clear that this form of marriage is not one of the forms of marriage referred to in any of the Smritis or authoritative ancient works on Hindu law or in any of the commentaries which are accepted as authorities in the various provinces of India. It is not included in one of the eight forms of marriage and it was not disputed before us that there was no reference to such a marriage in Manu, Parasara, Yajnavalkya, or in any of the Dharma Sastras which deal with the subject of marriage. So far as the eight forms of marriage referred to in the Sastras are concerned, it is now accepted law that all except the Brahma and the Asura forms are obsolete (see Mayne on Hindu law, paragraph 88, page 97).
134. The only reference made to the sword marriage in any Sanskrit work is that contained in a work called Jyotirvidabharanam. This is not a book dealing with Hindu law but is a work on Astrology; and though ascribed to the great poet Kalidasa, it is clearly a work of much later origin. Professor Weber in his History of Hindu Literature is of opinion that the book was written about the 16th century. The only reference to the sword marriage is that contained in a verse which has been translated as follows:
In the Kali-age a king should perform the auspicious sword marriage ceremony in the summer solstice on the day having the five auspicious parts (angas) the austeric being fit for the marriage, in the evening.
135. The next stanza gives the horoscope of the sword. The previous slokas refer to the eight kinds of marriages mentioned in the Sastras and divide them into marriages where the Panigrahana ceremony, i.e., the ceremony where the bridegroom takes hold of the hand of the bride before the sacred fire, is necessary and those where it is not necessary. Of the eight forms of marriage the author states that the Brahma, Prajapatya, Dyva and Arsha are the forms which require the Panigrahana ceremony in which the hand of the bride is held by the bridegroom. The other forms of marriage, Gandharva, Paishachi, Rakshasa, and Asura are forms where the Panigrahana ceremony is not necessary. As regards the first four forms of marriages the author states that they should be performed at the time stated by him in the previous portion of the work and as regards the latter four forms where no such ceremony is necessary, they could be performed at any time. Then comes the stanza relating, to the sword marriage which I have set out above.
136. It is argued by the vakil for the first and second defendants that the sword marriage referred to in that stanza does not refer to any marriage between a man and a woman, but to a ceremony whereby the king performs a ceremony by which he becomes wedded to the sword which is the emblem of kingly power, the object being that with the help of the sword he should be victorious in the wars which he undertakes. It is also argued that the word "Dharadhibu" which really means "the Ruler of the Earth" refers only to Kshatriyas or Rajputs who belong to the warrior class and not to Brahmans, Vysias or Sudras. It is also argued that no work, on Hindu law refers to sword marriage as a form of marriage and that it is unlikely that the Jyotirvidabharanam, which really deals with the auspicious hour for performing marriages known to Sastras would in this casual manner refer to a form of marriage unknown and not referred to in any previous works on Hindu law. ft is stated that the casting of the horoscope of the sword in the next sloka would be perfectly unnecessary if the marriage was to a woman, because in such cases the horoscope of the woman would be the horoscope that would guide the union.
137. It is contended on the other side that having regard to its position in the book and having regard to the fact that it comes in Chapter XIII which fixes the Lagna or the auspicious time for performing the marriage and also having regard to the arrangement whereby marriages are divided into two kinds, i.e., where Panigrabana is necessary and where it is not, the sloka relating to the sword marriage really refers to a form of marriage between a man and a woman, the sword playing an important part in the ceremony and not to a marriage with an inanimate object like a sword. I have read the stanza carefully and I think that the stanza refers to a customary form of marriage that probably arose after the Muhammadan conquest. It seems to me, however, that the verse only refers to a union by a Kshatriya. It is clear that a sword marriage is a form of union which by custom has been recognised by Rajputs and some other communities. Mr. Enthoven in his "Castes and Tribes of Bombay," Vol. III, page 218, deals with the custom of sword marriage among the Rajputs who are Kshatriyas. He gives a detailed account of the marriage and it appears from his description that, though a sword was sent to the house of the bride with certain ceremonies, the bride and bridegroom met afterwards and other ceremonies were performed. The case reported in Ramasami Kamaya Naik v. Sundaralingasami Kamaya Naik (1894) I.L.R., 17 Mad., 422, which relates to the Sattur Zamindari where the parties were Sudras also shows that it was the custom in certain families in Southern India to perform what was known as sword or dagger marriage, the wife being known as the sword or dagger wife. It appears from the judgment that all the usual ceremonies in connexion with a marriage were gone through--the dagger being placed as a symbol to show that the status of the wife was inferior. This case does not help us much. Mr. Ganapathi Ayyar in his work on Hindu law refers to a sword marriage and at page 491 observes:
Among the Kshatriya castes there is a form of marriage known as the sword or dagger marriage (kadga vivaha) and this prevails even now among some zamindar families. In the Jyotirvidabharanam which is supposed to be the work of Kalidasa, it is said that in the Kaliynga even a marriage without Panigrahanam is good as in the case of kings who celebrate marriages in the sword or dagger form (kadga vivaha).
138. The issues framed in the suit base the claim on custom and although defendants Nos. 4 to 11 state that it was a custom in the Royal family to which Raja Sivaji belonged and among the Mahrattas generally to have sword wives, there is no evidence that in the Royal families of Kolhapur or Satara which equally with the Royal family of Tanjore descended from the Great Sivaji, there was any. instance of a marriage known as sword marriage having ever been contracted by any of the members of the Royal family. There is no reference to any custom of sword marriage amongst the Mahrattas in the Dekhan or the Bombay Presidency in the Kolhapur, Satara or other Gazetteers published under the authority of the Government. As I said before, the only reference I can find is in Enthoven's "Castes and Tribes" and it refers to the custom amongst the Rajputs. Only one witness Vittal Rao Sahib Mohitai, the eighty-seventh witness for defendants Nos. 4 to 1), speaks to a sword marriage having been contracted by a relation of his in Bhor in the Satara district and describes the ceremonies the parties went through. Mahadeva Rao Nimbalkar, the eighty-third witness of defendants Nos. 4 to 11, speaks to his maternal grandfather having performed a sword marriage but states he can give no details of that ceremony. This evidence is totally insufficient to prove any general custom amongst the Mahrattas generally.
139. The question therefore resolves itself into whether any special customs existed in the royal family of Tanjore and, if so, what were the rights of the issue. So far as the Tanjore Royal family is concerned, there is the evidence of Dharmavalli Bai Amma whose deposition has been marked as Exhibit D-236. She states that she was the brother-in-law's daughter of Sivaji Maharaja, that she was married according to the sword form of marriage, that the marriage was over in a day, that a sword was placed and homam performed, that she went round the homam when the priest chanted the mantrams? that after she did that, she prostrated before the Raja who tied a tirumangaliam or tali round her neck, that there was a dinner afterwards and that the Raja's adoptive mother Avu Bai Saheba performed a ceremony known as summuk, i.e., a ceremony where the mother-in-law for the first time after the marriage looks at the face of the daughter-in-law. It is unfortunate that this witness who would have been an important witness for defendants Nos. 4 to 11 was not examined earlier. She was ill when she was examined-in-chief, and her examination was adjourned after a few sentences in cross-examination were recorded. She died before cross-examination could be resumed. There was considerable argument as to the admissibility of her evidence which it was not possible to test by cross-examination. I do not think that the evidence can be rejected as inadmissible, though it is clear that evidence untested by cross-examination on a question like the present can have little value. I need only refer to Taylor on Evidence, section 1469 : Davies v. Otty (1865) 35 Beav., 208, Elias v. Griffith (1877) 46 L.J. Ch., 806, Man Gobinda Chowdhuri v. Shashindia Chandra Chowdhuri (1908) I.L.R., 35 Calc., 28 and Dhanu Ram Mahto v. Murli Mahto (1909) I.L.R., 36 Calc.,
566. There is nothing in the Evidence Act which renders such evidence inadmissible. In Rosi v. Pillamma (1910) 20 M.L.J., 400 it was pointed out that the evidence was admissible though the learned Judges were of opinion that it should not be acted upon. I think the correct rule is that the evidence is admissible but that the weight to be attached to such evidence should depend upon the circumstances of each case and that, though in some cases the Court may act upon it, if there is other evidence on record, its probative value may be very small and may even be disregarded. I am not disposed to attach any weight to the evidence of this witness. There is no other witness examined in this suit who speaks to any ceremony which was usual in the case of sword marriage in the Tanjore family or among the Mahrattas. Though commission was taken out to examine witnesses in the Bombay Presidency, there was no attempt made to adduce any evidence as to the ceremonies which usually follow or the incidents which attach to a sword marriage or the issue by such a marriage. There was some evidence adduced in previous litigations as to the ceremonies that accompany sword marriage. [After referring to some oral evidence recorded in some previous litigations and discredited by the Judges who recorded them his Lordship proceeded as follows:--] I am of opinion that there is no satisfactory evidence in this case to show what ceremonies were necessary to constitute a sword marriage.
140. No accounts or documents are filed to show that any expenses were incurred in connexion with any of the sword marriages either of Serfoji or Sivaji though Serfoji had no less than 26 sword wives and Sivaji, the father and grandfather of defendants Nos. 4 to 11, had 40 sword wives. [After discreding the reasons for the absence of accounts, his Lordship proceeded as follows :--] There can, however, be little doubt that in the Tanjore Raja's family there were unions by which women were admitted to the seraglio and were known as sword wives.
141. The first recorded instance of a sword marriage is that between Tukkoji, son of Venkoji, the founder of the Tanjore Dynasty, and Annapurni Bai; and Pratapa Singh who reigned from 1740 to 1763 was the issue of such a union. The next instance is that of Amar Singh, son of Pratapa Singh. The third instance is that of Paratapa Singh (son of Amar Singh) and his wife Radha Bai, and it was this marriage that was in question in the suit which I have already referred to and the judgment in which is filed as Exhibit E-100. The next instance is that of Serfoji who had a number of sword wives and who founded an institution called Kalyana Mahal for them and the last instance is that of his son Sivaji the last Raja of Tanjore who had 40 sword wives and who founded an institution known as Mangala Vilas for them.
142. It is significant that none of the records show that the children by sword wives were as regards property or succession treated as legitimate issue entitled to the same rights and privileges as the children by wives married according to orthodox form.
143. So far as Pratapa Singh, the son of Tukkoji by his sword wife Annapurni Bai, is concerned, he was treated as illegitimate not only in early documents and by all historical writers but also by his grandson Serfoji Raja in the inscription, Exhibit B-140, to which I shall refer later on. [After referring to some documents on this last point his Lordship proceeded as follows :--] It is not likely that a Ruling Prince as Serfoji then was would deliberately bastardize his ancestor who on all accounts was the greatest of the Tanjore kings, unless the facts were so well known or strong as to prevent any attempt to distort them.
144. However skeptical one may be as to the statements made regarding the descent of the ancestors of the Rajas from the lunar and solar dynasties of ancient India, especially when it is known that Sivaji the greatgrandfather was a humble Patel and cultivator in an obscure village, I think that there is no reason to discredit the statement against the honour and reputation of the grandfather of the Raja who caused the inscription to be made. There is in Exhibits B-140 and B-141 a clear indication that the women with whom the ceremony of sword marriage was gone through were looked upon as no better than permanently kept concubines.
145. Turning to Mahratta History, Orme in his history, Vol. I, page 108, refers to Pratapa Singh as a person born of an inferior wife of his father Serfoji and states that he was placed on the throne by the general concurrence of the principal men in the kingdom which had suffered much from the weak administration of Shahuji The early writers seem to have treated a permanent concubine as a kind of inferior wife. In Strange's Manual of Hindu Law, Vol. II, published in 1825 he states that kept women are regarded as inferior wives. I may also refer to the decision reported in Datti Parisi Nayudu v. Datti Bangaru Nayudu (1869) 4 M.H.C.R., 204 where it is said that a permanently kept concubine ranks as if she were a secondary wife. Grant Duff in his History of the Mahrattas (a book which has been exhibited as B-177) at page 462 of Vol. I, states that Pratapa Singh is the son of a concubine. Mill in his history of India which has been filed as Exhibit. G-212 at page 62 of Vol. III, refers to Pratapa Singh being the son of one of the inferior wives of Tukkoji, but Mr. H.H. Wilson's note states that Pratapa Singh was the son of a concubine. In Aitchison's Treaties, Vol. X, which has been marked as Exhibit B-172, reference is made to Pratapa Singh as being of illegitimate birth. Justice RANADE in his History of the rise of the Mahrathta Power refers to Pratapa Singh as an illegitimate son of Tukkoji and states that the Mahratta officers in the service of Tanjore finally succeeded in raising him to the throne. In the Tanjore District Manual published under the orders of the Government which has been marked as Exhibit B-173 Pratapa Singh is said to be the illegitimate son of Tukkoji. In the genealogical table given at page 764 of the Manual Tukkoji is said to have had three illegitimate children, Anna Saheb who died before his father issue-less, Nana Saheb who died befor his father leaving an infant son, and at pages 775 and 777 reference is made to Pratapa Singh as the illegitimate son of Tukkoji. So far therefore as Pratapa Singh is concerned, though his father and mother were united according to a form known as sword marriage, the union was not regarded as one which conferred on him the status of a legitimate son.
146. Much stress has been laid on the fact that Pratapa Singh did succeed to the throne and that his illegitimacy was no bar to succession. The succession of an illegitimate son, if he is a capable person, and there were no legitimate issue of proper age or any ability, was an event not unknown in those troubled times. For example, there were cases of illegitimate sons succeeding where the legitimate issues were weak or incompetent. Mahadaji Scindia, though an illegitimate son, succeeded Junkoji and Jeswant Rao Holkar, though illegitimate, was ruler for several years. (Duff's History of the Mahrattas and Sir John Macolm's Central India.) It is also significant that, although Pratapa Singh was a major, he did not succeed at once. On the death of his brother Bava Saheb his widow Siyari Bai was placed on the throne and it was only because there was no competent person to govern the State that Pratapa Singh was installed by the people. According to Exhibit B-141 he was raised to the throne by the army and the chief men in the State. The following passage at page 777 of the Tanjore District Manual which has been filed as Exhibit B-173 is instructive :
That Pratap Sing was illegitimate is nowhere denied and that Saiyaji was a legitimate son, may, it seems, be fairly assumed upon the authority of Duff. Mill, upon the authority apparently of the 'History and Management of the East India Company from an authentic M.S. account of Tanjore' ascribes all the revolutions between the death of Bava Saheb and the elevation of Pratapssing, as well as the latter event, to the Mahornedau commander Saiyid, and considers Orme, who gives a different version, to be 'in some particulars misinformed ;' but Orme's version that Saiyuji was deposed and Pratapsing was placed on the throne 'by the general concurrence of the principal men in the kingdom ' is apparently accepted by the Tanjore Commission (their report 1799, Appendix) and seems more probable.
147. The next instance of sword marriage relied upon is that of Amar Singh, son of Pratapa Singh. The Tanjore District Manual at page 764 refers to Amar Singh as the illegitimate son of Pratapa Singh, and at page 814 it refers to Amar Singh as the son of Pratapa Singh by a sword wife. Amar Singh who succeeded his brother Tulsaji was on the throne between 1787 and 1798. The claims of Serfoji,. the adopted son of Tulsaji, were advanced by Mr. Swartz and others and the East India Company ultimately deposed Amar Singh and put Serfoji on the throne in 1799.
148. [After referring to some documents on the question of Amar Singh's legitimacy, his Lordship continued as follows:--] There is no evidence beyond the statements contained in the Tanjore District Manual that Amar Singh was the son of a sword wife. If the B series of documents that I have referred to are of any value, they rather show that he was the son of a concubine.
149. The next instance referred to is that of Radha Bai. Amar Singh, whom I have already referred to, had a son Pratapa Singh, who adopted one Ekoji. After Amar Singh was deposed, a pension was conferred on him and he was sent to Madhyarjunam, 29 miles from Tanjore. He died in 1802 and his pension was continued to Pratapa. Singh who died in 1849 leaving an adopted son Ekoji. Pratapa Singh is said to have left a sword wife Radha Bai. So far as Radha Bai is concerned, she was called either a sword wife or concubine in the correspondence between her and the Government officials. [After referring to some documentary evidence on the point his Lordship continued as follows :--] I do not think that the instance of Radha Bai can be considered as proof that a sword marriage confers legitimacy on the issue.
150. Coming to the time of Serfoji, the father of Sivaji, we find that he founded a separate establishment known as Kalyana Mahal. The case for defendants Nos. 4 to 11 is that the ladies who were installed by Serfoji in the Kalyana Mahal were his sword wives and the earliest instance of a sword marriage by Serfoji is said to be his marriage with one Mukta Bai. [After referring to some documents on this point his Lordship continued as follows : -- ] So far as Mukta Rai is concerned, Exhibit B-141 refers to her as a concubine and not as a wife and she is nowhere referred to as a wife in any document. [After referring some oral and documentary evidence on the position of ladies in Kalyana Mahal, his Lordship contnued as follows:--] So far as Kalyana Mahal is concerned, I think the evidence is not sufficient to show that the numerous women whom Serfoji gathered together in the Kalyana Mahal had any rights other than those of permanently kept concubines.
151. So far as the Mangala Vilas ladies are concerned, Exhibit B-173, the Tanjore District Manual, at page 828, states that Sivaji had a large seraglio to which he gave the name of Mangala Vilas. It appears from the exhibits that in 1841 there were five ladies in the Man-gala Vilas, that in 1844 the number was increased to 15 and that in 1847 there were about 45. After 1847 two more seem to have been admitted, one of them being Dharma Valli Amma whom I have already referred to. It is unnecessary to consider the names and castes of all the ladies who were alive at the time of Sivaji's death as we are only concerned with six of them who left male issue. The fourth defendant is the son of Lakshmi. The fifth defendant is the son of Meena. The sixth defendant is the son of Sadanandaji who is the deceased son of one Kasi. The seventh defendant is the son of Kamanandaji who is the deceased son of one Bagi. The eighth and ninth defendants are the sons of Bhavani who is the son of one Kama and the tenth arid eleventh defendants are the sons of Bagyanandaji who is the son of one Guna.
152. I think the evidence shows beyond all dispute that these women were described as the sword wives of Raja Sivaji. All the sons by the sword wives were minors at the time of the death of Sivaji, the eldest being about eleven years old. Owing to the time that has elapsed, it is not possible to call any witness who was alive at the time when each of these ladies was married to Sivaji. [After referring to some oral and. documentary evidence on the sword marriages of these six ladies in Mangala Vilas, his Lordship continued as follows :--] I have little doubt from the evidence that the Raja went through the form of what was called sword marriage with the mothers and grandmothers of defendants Nos. 4 to 11. The way they were treated and the ceremonies they took part in before and after the Raja's death which I shall refer to later on show to my mind clearly that they were not merely the sons of dancing girls but they were the sons of women, who were permanently attached to the Raja's seraglio. The evidence which has been set out at great length by the Subordinate Judge shows this. The question, however, is whether, they were only the sons of permanently kept concubines, the sword marriage being a ceremony which merely gave the women the status of permanently kept concubines, or were legitimate children being the offspring of a form of marriage which, though inferior to a regular orthodox form of marriage, still conferred the status of legitimacy. The Subordinate Judge, in paragraph 1772 of his judgment, page 666, states that the institution of sword marriage is true, that the Mangala Vilas sons are the issue of such marriage, that it is an inferior form of marriage wherein the sons are postponed in succession and are not an impediment to adoption, that they are all nevertheless legitimate children and that defendants Nos. 4 to 11 are therefore entitled to succeed as the heirs of the late Raja. In the concluding portion of his judgment, however, he states in paragraph 2169, page 810, that the existence of the sons of the sword wives of the Raja is not an impediment to the adoption and that they are only inferior sons and of lower caste to him, who cannot sit in mess and worship with him on a footing of equality and who were incompetent to do the full duties of sonship under the Hindu ceremonial and family laws and. rules. In paragraph 2175, page 811, he states that the status of sword wives was inferior to those married in the Lagna form and that such sword wives were inferior wives and not the permanent concubines of the Raja, and he continues and states that the sons born to such ladies are illegitimate children within the meaning of Hindu Law so far as the shares are concerned. In. paragraph 2181 he gives reasons for giving shares to illegitimate children and observes:
I took into consideration that their existence is not of any value to the family socially because they are not members of it entitled to sit and eat and intermarry with them ; in religion because they cannot perform the Sradks of the ancestors or take part in religious ceremonies.; in festive vrithams, marriages and so on, due to the inequality of caste; and legally their existence will not bar the succession of the superior widow and daughter or the adoption of a son of superior caste. I am not sure whether such inferior sons can claim right in collateral succession, in competition with relations of superior caste.
153. I am unable to agree with the Subordinate Judge in holding that sword marriage conferred the status of legitimacy. I am of opinion that the documentary evidence distinctly shows that defendants Nos. 4 to 11 were not only treated as illegitimate children both by the Raja during his lifetime and by the Courts and Government after his death, but that they themselves until quite recently considered themselves to be illegitimate and described themselves as such. It is clear that Sivaji during his lifetime did not consider his children by the Mangala Vilas ladies to be entitled to succeed to the raj. In 1846 the policy of the Government was to discourage adoptions. On the 16th of March 1846 the Government communicated a notification to the Eaja which prevented adoptions without the consent of the Government in case of shrotriems, mokhasa and other grants. The Eaja on the 20th of July 1846 through his Secretary protested against the notification. There can be little doubt that the Eaja was considerably alarmed at the policy of the Government and though he had two wives alive and a number of sword wives, he adopted the expedient in 1852 of marrying no less than 17 girls. In his letter, Exhibit A-13, to the Eesidenthe states that the measure was essential to the happiness of his family and his people. In Exhibit A-14, dated the 29th of July 1852, the Raja gives the reason for his marrying so many wives on one day and states that his action will appear justifiable when the importance of the object for the accomplishment of which that measure was adopted is taken into consideration, evidently meaning the birth of an heir to succeed him so as to prevent an escheat. It is therefore fairly clear that the Raja did not consider the Mangala Vilas children as persons who would be the proper persons to succeed him, should he die without issue by the wives married according to orthodox form. Finding he had no issue in spite of the numerous marriages which he performed in 1852, he brought up from about three years before his death in 1855 his sister's grandson Rajaram Ingle with a view to adoption. I shall deal with the adoption later on, but it is sufficient here to state that I agree with the Subordinate Judge in thinking that the Raja took the adopted boy from his father and was bringing him up with a view to eventual adoption, should circumstances compel him to do so. It is significant that the Raja thought none of the Mangala Vilas sons as counting in the matter and though he was treating them with affection and bearing all their expenses, he did not consider that their status was sufficient to enable them to succeed to the raj. On the death of the Raja although there were six Mangala Vilas sons in existence, they were all treated as illegitimate by the Government and by the relations of the Raja and no attempt was made by their mothers or by the other Mangala Vilas ladies to assert their rights as married wives or to bring forward the claims of their children to succeed. None of the Mangala Vilas sons performed the funerals of the deceased Raja or of any of his wives married according to orthodox form. In the report sent by Mr. Forbes immediately after the Raja's death no mention is made of the Mangala Vilas sons as legitimate issue and Mr. Forbes states that the Raja left no legitimate sons. In Exhibit D-35 which is a report by the Resident to the Chief Secretary, dated 9th of September 1856, Mr. Forbes in paragraph 24 states:
There are two kinds of marriage among Mahrattas, one in which the tali is tied round the neck of the bride by the bridegroom whose full wife she then becomes ; the other in which the tali is tied to a sword--a ceremony which constitutes the woman the permanent concubine of the man.
154. I have already referred to the exhibits where the mothers and grandmothers of defendants Nos. 4 to 11 are called sword wives. Mr. Forbes treated these sword wives as permanent concubines in his report and under the orders of Government pensions were allotted to them on that footing ; and the Government order which I have already referred to states that the pensions were not descendable to their heirs. Exhibit D-53 are the proceedings of the Madras Government, dated the 21st of April 1864, providing for the marriages of the fifteen illegitimate children left by the Raja by the Mangala Vilas ladies and granting Rs. 3,000 for the expenses of the marriage of each. In Exhibit D-85, dated the 23rd of September 1865, the Government Agent refers to the Mangala Vilas people as the unfortunate illegitimate brothers and sisters of the Princess. In Exhibit D-65 which is a letter from the Government of Madras to the Secretary of State for India, dated the 26th of June 1874, reference is made to the fifteen illegitimate children for each of whose marriage expenses a sum of Rs. 3,000 was granted in 1864 and the Government requests that provision may be made for the marriage of their children and suggests a sum of Rs. 1,000 for the marriage of each. Exhibit D-68, dated the 6th of September 1880, is the Government order on a petition of one of the Mangala Vilas daughters of the late Raja and it refers to her as illegitimate daughter. Exhibit K-12, a Government order of 1859, contains the persons whose claims for maintenance were forwarded by Mr. Forbes and refers to "the late Raja Sivaji's seraglio, in number 59 persons" including apparently, six natural sons and eleven natural daughters of the Raja. So far therefore as the Resident and the Government were concerned, the Mangala Vilas children were from the date of the Raja's death referred to and treated as illegitimate children of the Raja, the position taken up by the Resident and the Government being that sword marriage created only a permanent form of concubinage. Though claims were set up by the relations of the Raja and the public for the restoration of the raj, nobody thought of the Mangala Vilas children as being legitimate though inferior sons or as having any right to succession. In the suit filed by Kamakshi Bai Saheba against the Secretary of State it is stated that the Raja died issueless and there is no reference made to the Mangala Vilas children as having any rights. It is also clear that the relations of the Raja treated the Mangala Vilas children as illegitimate and objected to their use of the Royal paraphernalia on occasions and I need only refer to Exhibits A-137, A-194, B-71 and B-72. So far as defendants Nos. 4 to 11 are concerned, they have described themselves as illegitimate sons of the Raja and are so termed and described in judicial proceedings. [Then bis Lordship referred to the documentary evidence in which they were so described and continued as follows :) Great reliance is placed by the vakil for defendants Nos. 4 to 11 on the treatment of the Mangala Vilas ladies and their children during the Raja's lifetime and after his death and on the religious ceremonies which they performed. There can be little doubt from the evidence that sradhs and funeral ceremonies were performed for the Mangala Vilas ladies during the Raja's lifetime and various ceremonies were performed to the children borne by the Mangala Vilas ladies. There can also be little doubt that the Mangala Vilas ladies performed a number of ceremonies which are usually performed by married women. [After referring to the documentary evidence relating to the performance of ceremonies on auspicious and inauspicious occasions, his Lordship proceeded as follows:] The evidence also is that the Mangala Vilas ladies were kept in strict gosha just as the married wives were and that even their relations were not given any access to them.
155. [After referring to the oral evidence as to performance of ceremonies by the Mangala Vilas ladies and their children and the treatment accorded to them, his lordship continued :] I do not think that the nature of the treatment accorded to the Mangala Vilas ladies and children as disclosed in the evidence and exhibits shows that sword marriage was a recognized form of union conferring the status of a lawfully married, though inferior, wife or that the children can be said to be legitimate. In estimating the evidence of treatment, it is necessary to bear in mind that the Mangala Vilas ladies were introduced into the seraglio, when they were young and were cut off from the rest of the world and were permanently annexed to the Raja's seraglio. The paternity of the Mangala Vilas children was never doubted by anybody and there can be little doubt that the Raja having no male issue of his own treated these children with considerable affection. The position in the Hindu households of permanently kept concubines is very analogous to the married wife who often resides in the same building. In Yashvantrav v. Kashibai (1888) I.L.R., 12 Bom., 26 Nanabhat Haridas, J., observes:
The position of a deceased co-parcener's permanent concubine in his family is in some respects analogous though necessarily inferior to that of his widow not inheriting. They are both dependent members of the family and, as such, entitled to maintenance, as above stated. (1 Str. 171, 174 ; 1 Norton 48, 51.) During the co-parcener's lifetime, if not even after his death, his concubine is by the Hindu Criminal Law regarded as his wife, for it ordains punishment as for adultery for any sexual intercourse with her by another as if she were his wife, and the ceremouial law also regards her in that light, for it declares the same length of impurity for her when he dies as for the death of a real husband.
156. The learned Judge evidently refers to verse 290 in the Vyavaharadhyaya of Yajnavalkya which is translated by Mandlik as follows:
A man (having intercourse) with an Avarudha (protected female slave) and Bhnjishya (another's mistress) shall be required to pay a fine of fifty panas, even though intercourse with them be (in other respects) permissible.
157. The position of the Mangala Vilas ladies was similar to that of an Avarudha Stree defined in Mitakshara as a woman who is prohibited by her master from intercourse with other men with an injunction to stay at home with the object of avoiding any lapse of service. In Brindavana v. Radhamani (1889) I.L.R., 12 Mad., 72 the question was whether a person who was living with a zamindar for a number of years was his wife or only a permanently kept concubine. The learned Judges Sir Arthur Collins, C.J., and Muttuswami Ayyar, J., observe:
The first of those questions is whether, as alleged by the respondents, Padmamala was the lawful wife of Padmanabha Deo by gandharva marriage. The Judge has recorded no finding in regard to it, but treated the matter as one of little moment, We observe, however, there is no satisfactory evidence in support of the contention. None of the respondents' witnesses deposed to the factum of a gandharva marriage between Padmamala and Padmanabha Deo, and there is no direct evidence at all on the point. It was no doubt in evidence that Padmamala was addressed as Maha Devi, that she wore gold jewels on her legs, that she performed a ceremony called Bandapon which married woman alone ordinarily perform and that she was the brother's daughter of Nila Patta Maha Devi, the senior wife of Padmanabha, admittedly a lady of the Kshatriya caste. But these circumstances are not in themselves conclusive on the question of lawful marriage, and although Padmamala was the niece of the senior wife and taken by Padmanabha under his protection on her recommendation, yet it is by no means unlikely that her status was not higher than that of a concubine if she was only an illegitimate relation.
158. Great reliance was placed on the fact that tails were tied to the sword wives and that they were removed on the Raja's death, but there is nothing to prevent permanently kept women who are brought to the palace when young and kept there as permanent concubines of the Raja from having talis though the tali is no doubt invariably tied to a woman at the time of her marriage.
159. [Then his Lordship referred to some documentary evidence as to tying talis for certain Mangala Vilas ladies and to the observance of satti by some of them and proceeded as follows:--] There is nothing in the ceremonial law or Shastras prohibiting permanently kept women in Hindu households from performing the various vrathams or ceremonies which married women perform ; and, as pointed out in the Brindavana v. Radhamani (1889) I.L.R., 12 Mad., 72 the performance of such ceremonies does not necessarily show that the women must have been married.
160. Some stress was laid on the fact that the women were called sword wives. I do not think the mere designation of sword wife raises any necessary implication of marriage. It is a convenient English expression to use. The original expression in Mahratti is "to the sword united."
161. [After referring to some documentary evidence to show that the Mangala Vilas ladies were treated only as permanently kept concubines, his Lordship proceeded as follows:] One test of the legitimacy is the capacity to perform funeral ceremonies and sradhs. As observed by Sarvadhikari in his "Principles of the Hindu Law of Inheritance'' (page 101), the importance of the Sradha ceremonies from a legal point of view cannot be over-rated. The competence of a person to offer these oblations forms the test of his title to the inheritance. It is admitted in this case that none of the Mangala Vilas sons performed the funeral ceremonies of the late Raja though on the date of his death he left no son by his married wives and had made no adoption and that none of them performed the sradhs of any of the Bai Sahebas who died before the date of the adoption of Rajaram Ingle in 1863. Nobody thought of them in that connexion as being competent.
162. It also appears that both Serfoji and Sivaji not only established the women in two separate houses but also made provision for them by purchasing lands for the maintenance of the inmates of those two institutions. If the Kalyana Mahal and the Mangala Vilas ladies were the legally married wives of the Raja, there would have been no necessity for any such differentiation to make separate provision.
163. Authorities were cited to show that presumption of marriage ought to be raised when two people live together for several years as husband and wife and reference was made to Sastry Velaider Aronegary v. Sembecutty Vaigalie (1881) 6 A.C., 364 in support of the view that the mere fact that concubinage exists should be no ground for not applying the presumption of marriage from long cohabitation. I may state that, though where nothing more is known than that persons have been living together as husband and wife and treated as such by the community for a long series of years, presumption of marriage may, if nothing more appear, be drawn, the presumption will be considerably weakened and it will be altogether rebutted where facts are shown which make it more consistent with continued concubinage than with legal marriage. I may in this connexion refer to Ma Wun Di v. Ma Kin (1908) I.L.R., 35 Calc., 232 where the question was whether there was a valid marriage. Lord ROBERTSON in delivering judgment of their Lordships of the Privy Council observes:
The case, however, deserves attention, for there has been a strong appeal made to the general presumption of marriage arising from cohabitation with habit and repute. It is necessary, before applying this presumption, to make sure that we have got the conditions necessary for its existence. It is not superfluous to suggest that, first of all, there must be some body of neighbours, many or few, or some sort of public, large or small, before repute can arise. Again the habit and repute, which alone is effective, is habit and repute of that particular status which, in the country in question, is lawful marriage. The differences between English and Oriental customs about the relations of the sexes make such caution especially necessary. Among most English people, open cohabitation without marriage is so uncommon that the fact of cohabitation in many classes of society of itself sets up, as a matter of fact, a repute of marriage. But, in countries where customs are different, it is necessary to be more discriminating, more especially owing to the laxity with which the word 'wife' is used by witnesses in regard to connexions not reprobated by opinion, but not constituting marriage.
164. Treating the question merely from the point of view of presumption to be raised from persons living together, I think there is ample material on record to rebut the presumption. I have already referred to the various circumstances which in my view show that the Mangala Vilas ladies were treated as permanently kept concubines of the Raja and the Mangala Vilas children were considered by the Government, the other members of the Royal family and by themselves until almost before the present suit, as illegitimate. Though there can be little doubt that their mothers were brought into the seraglio as unmarried girls and were continuously kept by the Raja in the Mangala Vilas Sadma without any access to the outside world and that defendants Nos. 4 and 5 and the fathers of defendants Nos. 6 to 11 are the sons of the Raja, I think their position is only that of illegitimate children. I agree with the Subordinate Judge that the parties are Sudras and the result of my finding that defendants Nos. 4 to 11 are illegitimate is that they will only be entitled to the shares which illegitimate children of a Sudra would get.
165. The next question is as to the caste of the parties. The case for defendants Nos. 4 to 11 is that the Tanjore Royal family are Sudras by caste, while the case for the other defendants is that they are Kshatriyas. The Subordinate Judge finds on the evidence that the Tanjore Rajas were Sudras by caste. He has dealt with the evidence with great care and minuteness in paragraphs 1292 to 1599 of his judgment and I see no grounds to differ from him.
166. It was conceded before the Subordinate Judge (see paragraph 1556 of the judgment) and also before us that caste is the result of birth and not of choice or volition though a person may lose caste he cannot by any act of his rise to a higher caste.
167. Manu, Yagnavalkya and the other Smriti writers expressly state that there are only four castes, namely, Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra. The first three are called Dvijas or twice-born (from dvi, two, and jayate, is born, the second birth being on the performance of the upanayana or the investing of sacred thread) and all the religious rites enjoined for them are performed with Vedic mantras. Manu says the three twice-born classes are the Brahma, Kshatriya and Vaisya but the fourth or servile (Sudra) is once born, that is, has no second birth from the Gayatri and wears no thread. Nor is there any fifth class--Chapter X, verse 4.
168. Yagnavalkya in verse 10 of the Acharadhyaya says: The castes are the Brahmanas, the Kshatriyas, the Vaisyas and the Sudras. Only the first three of these are twice-born, the performance of the ceremonies beginning with the rite of impregnation and ending with the funeral rites in the cremation ground of these only is prescribed with the sacred formulas.
169. In Balambhatta's Gloss on the Sloka, the commentator says:
The word Dvija (twice-born) is a technical term retaining also its etymological meaning, namely, they are twice-born or regenerate for the investiture with the sacred thread is the second birth. All ceremonies of the higher castes are performed by reciting the sacred formulas, those of the Sudras are performed in silence and without such recitation.
170. It is clear that so far as the Sudra is concerned there is no Upanayana or investiture with the sacred thread and in fact the non-investiture is the main ground of differentiation between the three higher castes and the Sudras.
171. The ceremony whereby the Brahmana, Kshatriya and Vaisya become initiated into the Gayatri or the sacred mantra and become twice-born is called Upanayana, which literally means bringing near, i.e., student near the teacher who instructs him in the sacred Gayatri verse and makes him fit to receive instructions in the Vedas. According to Manu, Chapter II, verse 38, the maximum age for the performance of the Upanayana or the investiture of sacred thread is the sixteenth year for the Brahmanas, 22nd for the Kshatriyas and 24th for the Vaisyas and in verse 39 Manu states that all the youths of these three classes who have not been invested with the sacred thread at the proper time become " Vratyas or out-castes, degraded from the Gayatri, and condemned by the virtuous" and he prohibits a Brahman even when he is in distress for subsistence from having any connexion with such a Vratya or impure man. Yagnavalkya in verse 39 of the Achar-adhyaya also gives the same age and in verse 38 states that after the age is passed the youths of the three classes, namely, the Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, and Vaisyas, for whom no Upanayana has been performed, fall out-castes from religion, degraded from the Gayatri, and become Vratyas, unless the ceremony which is called Yratya-stoma is performed.
172. In the Grihya Sutra of Asvalayana he describes Vratyas as being impure and unfit for Upanayana, for receiving the Vedas, and for intercourse as to food, worship, etc. But he nowhere expressly provides expiation for them (see Mandlik, page 165).
173. All the text-writers and commentators are agreed that in the case of Sudras there is not only no Upanayana or the investiture of sacred thread which is the exclusive privilege of the three higher classes but there is also no recitation of the Vedic mantras in respect of any rites which they are enjoined to perform by the Shastras.
174. As observed by the Subordinate Judge in paragraph 1326 of the judgment three distinct cases appear to have been set up during the trial of this suit. The first is that all Mahrattas are Kshatriyas ; the second is that Sannavagulis or the 96 families among the Mahrattas are Kshatriyas ; and the third is that Sivaji and the relations of the Royal family known as Vajratmas are Kshatriyas.
175. As regards the first point, reference was made to the Histories of the Deccan to show that the Mahrattas were really the descendants of the Rajput clans who, owing to the Muhammadan conquest of Northern India were thrown back on the Deccan. Reference was made to Blphinstone's History of India, Vincent Smith's Ancient History, Duff's History of the Mahrattas and Bandharker. But it is difficult to establish any definite historical connexion between the Mahrattas who sprung into fame during the period of the father of Sivaji the Great and the Rajput clans who were in Northern India during the period of the first Muhammadan invasion and during the time of Ala-ud-din Khilji's invasion of the Deccan.
176. The origin of the term Mahratta has been the subject of speculation and various derivations--some of them entirely fanciful--have been given to the word. On the one side, we have the view that the word Maharashtra is derived from Maha, great and Ratha, Chariot-warrior or from the Rashtrakutas ; and on the other, that word means the country of the Mahars, a low caste tribe (see Russell on Castes and Tribes, Vol. 4, page 199).
177. It has been argued that the Mahrattas are descendants of the Rashtrakutas. Mr. Vincent Smith is of opinion that they were indigenous tribes of the Deccan and not Rajputs. We learn from history that on the fall of the Andhra Kings about 200 A.D. the Rashtrakutas became the rulers of the Deccan and that about the sixth century A.D. they were in turn overthrown by the Chalukyas whose greatest ruler was one Pulakesi II--the rival of Harsha of Kanouj about 750 A.D. Mr. Vincent Smith is of opinion that the Chalukyas though provided by obsequious Brahmans with a first-class Hindu pedigree going back to the hero Rama of Ayodhya really were of foreign origin and belonged to the Huna-Gurjara group of invading tribes (page 200 of Oxford History of India). The Chalukyas were overthrown by a new Rashtrakuta dynasty ; about 900 A.D. the western Chalukyas again came into power and continued in power till the twelfth century. In the closing years of the twelfth century, the Yadavas of Devagiri extended their power, but in 1294 the Afghans under Ala-ud-din Khilji conquered the last of the Yadavas and razed his capital Devagiri to the ground and thereafter the Deccan came under the rule of the Emperors of Delhi. It is suggested that the Mahratta clan of Jadavs are descended from the Yadavs, but beyond similarity of name there is nothing to support this theory. There was a class of shepherds called the Yadavs and there is as much, if not greater, probability in the Jadavs being descended from them. It is also worthy of note that no surname corresponding to Jadav has been pointed out among the ancient Rajput families. It is stated in the Satara Gazetteer that
as far as is known the Devagiri Yadavs passed from the south northwards, and it is possible they were not northerners but southerners, Kurubars or other shepherds, who, under Brahman influence, adopted the great northern shepherd name of Yadav
178. The Bhamani Kingdom which continued from 1347 to 1526 was founded by Hussain Ganga as a result of revolt against the Delhi Emperor. After 1526 the kingdom broke up into five Muhammadan principalities, of which Bijapur and Ahmednugger formed the principal ones. The kingdom of Ahmednugger was ultimately conquered by the Mughal Emperors of Delhi. In 1600 the capital was conquered by the Mughal Emperor and thereafter the kingdom fell on evil days. In this troubled period Maloji, the grandfather of Sivaji the Great, entered the service of Murtuza Nizam Shah, the King of Ahmednugger, and the rise of the Mahrattas as a nation is said to commence from the time of Maloji, son of Sahaji, the father of Sivaji the Great, though it was the genius of Sivaji that organized the Mahrattas into a nation. It is difficult to connect the Mahrattas whom Sivaji welded into a nation with the Rashtrakutas in the Deccan who reigned in that part of India and were overthrown, as we do not hear of the Rashtrakutas from A.D. 973 when they were overthrown to 1600 when the rise of the Mahratta power in the Deccan began. Nor is there any definite historical connexion between the Rashtrakutas and the Rathor tribes of Rajputs and Vincent Smith is of opinion that the Rashtrakutas have nothing to do with the Rajput tribes. Elphinstone states that the Mahrattas were more of the lower orders of Hindustan than the southern neighbours in Kanara and contrasts them with the Rajputs in character and physique. Speaking of the Mahratta Chiefs at a time when the Mahrattas rose into power, Elphinstone observes:
The Chiefs in those days were men of families who had for generations filled the old Hindu offices of Heads of villages or functionaries of districts and had often been employed as partisans under the Government of Ahmednugger and Bijapur. They were all Sudras of the same caste with their people, though some tried to raise their consequence by claiming an infusion of Rajput blood.
179. Later on speaking of Maloji he says:
If any Mahratta had claimed a Rajput descent, it was the family of Jadu. The name is that of one of Rajput tribes, it was borne at the first Muhammadan invasion by the Ruler of Devagiri, the greatest Prince of the Deccan, and it is not improbable that the protector of Maloji (who was the Deshmuk of a district not far from Devagiri) may have been descended from that stock. Whatever was his origin, Lukji Jadu Rao had attained to a command of 10,000 men under Malik Amber and was a person of such consequence, that his desertion to Shah Jahan turned the fate of a war against his former master.
180. I do not think that a reference to the History of the Deccan supports his view that all Mahrattas are Kshatriyas or that there is any strong probability that the Mahrattas are descendants of Rajput clans.
181. The result of the recent researches has been embodied by Mr. Enthoven of the Bombay Civil Service in his work "Tribes and Castes of Bombay" and by Sir Herbert Risley, Director of Ethnography for India, in his work "The people of India." Mr. Enthoven in Vol. III of his book observes at page 8 as follows:
The Word Maratha covers three classes that were probably one in origin but are now distinct. These are--
(1) Marathas proper, the Chiefs, land-owners, and fighting Marathas of the Deccan and Konkan, claiming Kshat-riya rank, eschewing widow-remarriage and socially superior to the cultivating classes, from whom, however, in places, they will take girls in marriage.
(2) Maratha Kunbis or cultivators also known as Kulvadi.
(3) Maratha occupational castes such as the following : Bhandari, Lohar, Mali, Teli,....
182. These would be classed as Marathas when found in other parts of India, and have certain features of special significance in common with the first two groups.
183. It has already been noted that Marathas proper claim to be Kshatriyas, the second of the fourfold divisions of Manu. As proofs in support of this claim they state that they belong to the four ancient Kshatriya royal vamshas or branches, viz., Suryavamsha, Somavamsha, Brahmavamsha and Seshavamsha, that they have the ninety-six mythological Kshatriya families, or kuls, that many of their kul or family names are common clan names of Rajputs (who are supposed to be the modern representatives of the ancient Kshatriya race), that there is historical evidence to show that marriage connexions were formed between royal Rajput houses and the ruling Maratha families, that like the Rajputs they observe purdah, wear the sacred thread and prohibit widow re-marriage, that they have bards or Bhats like Rajputs, and that as among Rajputs, the Nhavi or barber performs the function of serving water at their feasts, although he is considered comparatively unclean by the surrounding population in the Deccan. But against the above it can be said that when a caste or a portion of a caste rises in the social scale on account of worldly prosperity, it adopts a mythological pedigree like the four vamshas from which the Marathas claim descent ; that, as shown later on, there is a great difference of opinion as to the names of the ninety-six kuls claimed by the Marathas (in fact the number far exceeds ninety-six), that the Rajputs have formed marriage connexions even with Koli and Bhil chiefs who have not the least pretensions to Kshatriya blood ; and that it is the universal practice among the lower castes, when they wish to rise in the social scale, to imitate the higher by prohibiting widow marriage, wearing the sacred thread, and adopting other similar customs. Admitting the similarity of clan names, this is by no means necessarily a proof of similarity of descent. The purdah system, the employment of family genealogists or Bhats, etc., can very easily be adopted by a caste ambitious to be classed as Kshatriyas and imitating with that view Rajput manners and customs.
184. The common belief in Maharashtra regarding the origin of Marathas is that there is little or no difference, so far as caste is concerned, between Marathas and Kunbis. Some indeed, among whom are Marathas themselves, are of opinion that the two classes are one and the same. The line of demarcation between the two communities is not a hard and fast one, as intermarriages between well-to-do Kunbi families and the lower sections of Marathas are not infrequent. Such intermarriages usually take the form of a Maratha boy being married to a Kunbi or Kulvadi girl. Such marriages are common in remote parts of the Presidency. On the other hand, Maratha girls would not be given in marriage to Kunbi boys. Thus the Marathas proper assert their social supremacy, and though akin to Kunbis, they must be considered distinct. Kunbis prefer the designation Maratha to that of Kunbi, as more honourable. The Kunbis, however, do not lay any pretensions to Kshatriya origin. They are as a rale connected with field work, while the Marathas though they may be mere cultivators, more often follow other avocations and regard cultivation as a secondary profession on which they may fall back if they are unsuccessful in other lines. Hence it would appear that Kunbis and Marathas are differentiated rather by wealth and social status than by any hard and fast caste distinction. Socially the Maratha is the superior of the Kunbi, and this is evidenced by the facts that while Kunbi widows remarry, Maratha widows do not, that while Maratha ladies of recognized rank observe purdah, Kunbi women do not observe it, and that while Maratha ladies insist on gold in preference to silver ornaments, Kunbi women are content with any that they can get.
185. It is not possible in these pages to deal finally with the controversy that exists regarding the origin of Marathas proper and their relation to the other Maratha divisions in the Presidency. But in the course of the survey some important evidence has been collected dealing with the social structure of Marathas of all three classes, and indicating reasons for assuming that they had a common origin."
186. The author then goes on to refer to Devaks and Balis and gives a list of Devaks found among Marathas proper and Maratha Kunbis with other castes.
Assal Marathas claim to belong to four main branches or vamshas each containing twenty-four kuls or families. They are--
(1) Brahmavamsha or the Brahma branch.
(2) Sheshavamsha or the Serpent branch.
(3) Somavamsha or the Moon branch.
(4) Suryavamsha or the Sun branch.
This classification has evidently been adopted from the mythological divisions of the Kshatriya race in support of their claim to Kshatriya origin. But it has not been found possible to assign definitely to each branch the twenty-four families attributed to it, neither are the names of ninety-six families or kuls the same in all places. In fact, if all the names of the ninety-six kuls are compiled in one list, the total far exceeds ninety-six and many of the names disclose identity with the Kunbis, whom the aristocratic Marathas consider to be distinct from them.
187. He then gives a list of the Kuls, and points out that the list of Kuls given by one author does not agree with that given by another and concludes as follows:
The above remarks are made by way of showing that the claim of the Marathas to belong to the ancient ninety-six families of the Kshatriya race has no foundation in fact, but must have been advanced after they rose to power But similarity of surnames by no means implies similarity of race...as surnames such as Chavans, Cholkes, Mores, Pavars, Shelars and Yadavs among Kolis are adopted by Kolis, Dhangars, Mahars, Malis, Ramoshis, Mongs and several wandering tribes. There are cases where even Brahmans have assumed the surnames of their Maratha patrons, e.g., the Ghorpades of Inchaikaranji, the Dhamdheres of Poona, etc. The majority of the castes do not know to which gotra they belong, their guides in this respect being the caste priests and printed books. And even among these authorities there is great confusion in the matter of assignment of kuls to gotras. Thus, according to one account, the Mores belong to the Gautam gotra, while another account assigns them to the Bharadwaja gotra. Sameness of gotra is not necessarily a bar to intermarriage, the chief restrictions in this respect still being sameness of kul and Devak. This would seem to suggest that the gotras, like the four vanish as and kuls, were adopted by the tribe after they rose in social dignity.
188. Sir Herbert Risley at page 87 of his book observes as follows:
If the Marathas can be described as a caste, their history and tradition certainly stamp them as a caste of the national type.According to Mr. Enthoven (Census Eeport of Bombay, 1901, Vol. I, p. 183 et seq.), the Bombay Marathas may be classified as a tribe with two divisions, Maratha and Maratha Kunbi, of which the former are hypergamous to the latter, but were not originally distinct. It remains to be explained that the Kunbis also consist of two divisions, Desh Kunbis and Konkani Kunbis. Intermarriage between these divisions is not usual. The barrier, however, seems to be purely geographical. It may not withstand the altered conditions due to improvements in communications, and it is not apparently based on any religious prohibition of intermarriages The highest class of Marathas is supposed to consist of ninety-six families who profess to be of Rajput descent and to represent the Kshatriyas of the traditional system. They wear the sacred thread, marry their daughters before puberty and forbid widows to marry again. But their claim to kinship with the Rajput is effectually refuted by the anthropometric data now published, and by the survival among them of Kuldevaks or totems such as the sun-flower, the Kadamba tree (Nauclea Kadamba), the mango, the conch-shell, the peacock's feather, and turmeric, which are worshipped at marriages and at the ceremony of dedicating a new house, while their close connection with the Kunbis is attested by the fact that they take Kunbi girls as wives, though they do not give their own daughters to Kunbi men. A wealthy Kunbi, however, occasionally gains promotion to and marries into the higher grade and claims brevet rank as a Kshatriya. The fact seems to be that the ninety-six superior families represent Kunbis who came to the front during the decline of the Mughal Empire, won for themselves princedoms or estates, claimed the rank of landed gentry, and asserted their dignity by refusing their daughters to their less distinguished brethren.
189. It was admitted in argument that the Kunbis who are a cultivating tribe are Sudras ; and it is also admitted that the Kunbis have got the same division into 96 families. There is therefore not much force in the contention that the adoption of surnames as Bhonsle, Nimbalkar, Jadhav, etc., raises any presumption of Kshatriya origin, even assuming for argument's sake that some of the Mahratta families with those surnames were of Rajput descent.
190. The contention that all Mahrattas are Kshatriyas and that consequently Sivaji and his descendants must be assumed to be Kshatriyas is, in my opinion, devoid of all historical foundation.
191. I shall now deal with the argument that even if all Mahrattas are not Kshatriyas, the Sannavagulis or the members of the 96 clans are Kshatriyas and that the Rajas of Tanjore who belong to the Bhonsle family which is one of the 96 families must necessarily be of Kshatriya descent. The term "Sannavagulis" means 96 Kuls or families. In Exhibit B-140 which is an inscription of the year 1803 it is stated that from the Solar and Lunar races rose up a Kshatriya family which consists of 96 branches. Then the 96 branches are named, the first being the Bhonsle family from which Sivaji is said to have descended. I have already pointed out that the Kunbis who form the agricultural portion of the Mahratta community are Sudras and that they also have the same divisions into 96 clans. This is clear from the extract from Mr. Enthoven's book which I have already set out in extenso and from a reference to the Satara and Kolhapur District Manuals. It is stated at page 76 of the Satara District Manual that almost all the leading tribal surnames such as Cholke, More, Povar, Shelar and Yadav are found besides among Kunbis who do not appreciably differ from Mahrattas. A large body of evidence in this case is to the effect that the Sannavagulis in Tanjore far from being Kshatriyas are Sudras. Vagoji Rao, sixteenth witness for defendants Nos. 1 and 2, who is the brother-in-law of the late Maharaja Sivaji states that there are no intermarriages between the Sahebs of the Royal family and Sannavagulis. He classes the Sannavagulis along with Appa, Akka and other divisions who are admittedly Sudras. As regards funeral ceremonies, he states that the ordinary Mahrattas make the pindam or offerings to ancestors of flour while the higher classes make it of cooked rice. Thirty-first witness for defendants Nos. 1 and 2 Savalairam Saheb Soorve who is also related to the Royal family states that all Mahrattas are not Kshatriyas, that the word "Mahratta" is a general name including Kshatriyas and some minor castes and that the latter are Sannavagulis, Satyavagulis and Mangalavilasam. The twenty-first defendant who is the great-grandson of the sister of Sivaji and who was examined as forty-sixth witness for defendants Nos. 1 and 2, states:
The Mahrattas who were cart-drivers were not of my caste. They are said to be Sannavaguli Mahrattas. We are not Sannavaguli Mahrattas. They are not Kshatriyas or Sudras. I do not know if they are Vaisyas or Sudras. I do not know their caste. They wear Poonool (sacred thread).
192. He expressly disclaims the suggestion that he is a Sannavaguli. Manoba Saheb, twenty-sixth witness for defendants Nos. 1 and 2, who is also related to the Royal family, states:
There is a class called Sannavagulis. They are Mahrattas. I do not know if they are Dvijas (twice-born). We do not intermarry.
193. The Subordinate Judge deals with this part of the case at pages 474 to 479 of his judgment, and I think the evidence is totally insufficient to prove that because the Tanjore Rajas claim to belong to one of the 96 families, they must necessarily be of Kshatriya descent.
194. All the available authorities show that Babaji, the great-grandfather of Sivaji, was a patel or village headman of a village in Poona district. It is not shown, nor was it suggested before us, that Babaji was anything more than a cultivator and village headman. His two sons, Moloji and Vittoji, not satisfied with village life and being ambitious, enlisted themselves in the service of Lukhji Jadhav who held military service in the Ahmednugger kingdom, and entered his service on the modest salary of five hons (pagodas) each. Takakhav, in his "Life of Sivaji Maharaj" which has been referred to during the course of the argument, states that Maloji had two sons Shahaji and Serfoji, and Shahaji who was the father of Sivaji was a handsome and intelligent youth and was ultimately married to the daughter of Jadhavrao. An account is given as to how the statement made by Jadhav in jest that Shahaji and his (Jadhav's) daughter who were then little children would make a handsome couple was seized upon as a promise. Waring in his "History of the Mahrattas," states that that objection was taken by Jadhav's wife who upbraided him with the folly of harbouring even a thought of giving his daughter to a wretched Kunbi, the son of a common horseman, and that Maloji and Vittoji thereupon were discharged from the service and were again under the necessity of resorting to their former occupation of husbandry. Takakhav also states that, owing to Maloji treating the jest of Jadhav seriously, he and his brother were discharged from service and "were forced to return to their paternal homestead at Verul, again to become farm hinds and till the land." Maloji subsequently became wealthy. The Mahratta Chronicle credits this to a divine interposition and to the finding of a secret treasure disclosed in dream by the Goddess Bhavani, while Duff and other historians attribute it to the more probable and prosaic result of Maloji having taken to plunder on his own account and having amassed a fortune. However this be, Maloji got rich and prospered and ultimately his son was given in marriage to Lukhji Jadhav's daughter. The Mahratta Chronicle states that Maloji, after he became rich, enlisted horsemen and infantry and began to give trouble to the Bijapur Sultan, that he defiled a mosque and that the Sultan, to put a stop to this, compelled Jadhav to give his daughter in marriage to Maloji's son Shahaji--see page 280 of Justice RANADE'S " Rise of the Maratha Power." Pressure brought to bear by the Sultan and not the recognition by Jadhav of Maloji's high caste was thus the reason for the alliance which was once rejected with scorn being subsequently entered into. Shahaji, both with the aid of the connexion so formed and by his own powers and genius, rose to considerable eminence in the Courts of Ahmednugger and Bijapur, and Sivaji the Great extended Shahaji's conquests and founded the Mahratta Empire. The humble occupation of Sivaji's grandfather and his ancestors who were village headmen and cultivators of the soil probabilizes the view that they were really of Kunbi origin. Coming to Sivaji the Great, we find that the first time that any Kshatriya origin was claimed for him or any reference was made to his kinship to the Rajput house of Udaipur was at the time of his coronation which took place in 1674. The circumstances attending the coronation, I think, throw a great deal of light upon the origin of the caste of Sivaji.
195. Sivaji, from the outset of his career, set himself forward as a champion of Hinduism against Moslem oppression and during the early years of his career there can be little doubt that the fanaticism of Aurangazeb and his ruthless destruction of Hindu temples and the persecution of the Hindus led to a strong feeling that Hindu forces should be organized under a capable leader and effective resistance offered to Aurangazeb who was attempting to conquer the Deccan. Sivaji's success marked him out as the person who was best capable of leading the Hindus. Professor Jadunath Sarkar, one of the foremost authorities on the period of Aurangazeb and Sivaji, whose works relating to the two monarchs have received very high praise from eminent eastern and western scholars, in Chapter IX of his " Shivaji and His Times," gives with great clearness the reasons that induced Sivaji and his advisers to think of his coronation. Though one would have expected that, if Sivaji was a descendant of the Rajput chief and a Kshatriya, no objection would have been raised to his coronation, it appears from all accounts that Sivaji had to overcome strenuous opposition based on his being a Sudra. Professor Jadunath Sarkar, whose work "Sivaji and His Times" embodies the latest researches, at page 267 (1st Edition), says--
But there was one curious hindrance to the realization of this ideal. According to the ancient Hindu scriptures, only a member of the Kshatriya caste can be legally crowned as king and claim the homage of Hindu subjects. The Bhonslas were popularly known to be neither Kshatriya nor of any other twice-born caste, but mere tillers of the soil, as Shivaji's great-grandfather was still remembered to have been. How could an upstart sprung from such a Shudra (plebeian) stock aspire to the rights and honours due to a Kshatriya ? The Brahmans of all parts of India would attend and bless the coronation of Shivaji, only if he could be authoritatively declared a Kshatriya. It was, therefore, necessary first to secure the support of a pundit, whose reputation for scholarship would silence all opposition to the views he might propound. Such a man was found in Ganga Bhatta of Benares, the greatest Sanskrit theologian and controversialist then alive, a master of the four Vedas, the six philosophies, and all the scriptures of the Hindus, and popularly known as the Brahma-deva and Vyas of the age. After holding out for some time, he became compliant, accepted the Bhonsla pedigree as fabricated by the clever secretary Balaji Avji and other agents of Shiva, and declared that that Rajah was a Kshatriya of the purest breed descended in unbroken line from the Maharanas of Udayapur, the sole representatives of the solar line of the mythical hero Ramachandra (Dig. 410-12). His audacious but conrtierly ethnological theory was rewarded with a huge fee, and he was entreated to visit Maharashtra and officiate as high priest at the coronation of Shiva.
196. At page 271 he states how Sivaji had to be purified and made a Kshatriya. It is admitted that Sivaji till the date of his coronation, i.e., till his 47th year, had not been invested with the sacred thread and his ancestors never seem to have gone through that ceremony. Professor Sarkar, at page 271, observes:
But one great defect had to be removed before his coronation could take place. He had to be publicly purified and 'made a Kshatriya.' On 28th May he performed penance for his ancestors and his own sin of omission in not having observed the Kshatriya rites so long, and was invested by Gaga Bhatta with the sacred thread, the distinctive badge of the twice-born castes like the 'pure' Kshatriyas of Northern India.
197. In this connexion I might refer to an account of the coronation in two Mahratta histories published by Mr. Surendranath Sen under the authority of the Calcutta University. The first is Siva Chhatrapati (life of Sivaji) by Sabhasad Bakhar who was a contemporary of Sivaji and who says he wrote the book at the request of Rajaram, the son of Sivaji the Great. Speaking of the coronation he says at page 113:
The one Vedmurti Rajsri Gaga Bhat drawn by the Raje's fame came to see him. The Bhat Gosavi was a great scholar, well versed in the four Vedas and six Sastras and well practiced in the Yoga, skilled in astrology, mantras, and all (branches of) learning; he was the Brahma Dev of the Kali age;--such a learned man was he ;--the Raje and the Sarkarkuns went forward to receive him, and brought him with (all) honours. He was worshipped with the offerings of jewelled ornaments of many varieties, palanquins, elephants, horses, and immense property. Gaga Bhat was very much pleased. In the opinion of the Bhat Gosavi, (as) the Musulman Badshah reigned (seated) on a throne with an umbrella (over his head), and Sivaji, though he had subdued four Badshahis and possessed seventy-five thousand cavalry, infantry, forts and strongholds, had no throne, the Maratha Raja should (also) be the Lord of the Umbrella (Chhatrapati) ; so he reasoned. And the Raje also approved (of it). All the principal men were summoned and when consulted gave their approval. Then the Bhat Gosavi paid (that the Raje) should be installed on a throne. Then an enquiry being held about the Raje's family, it was found that the Raje was a Saddhakshatriya ; a Sisodia family had come from the north to the Deccan, that was the Raja's ancestral family. Having previously decided that the sacred thread ceremony should be performed as the Kshatriyas of the north assumed the sacred thread, the Bhat Gosavi conferred the sacred thread on the Raje at a holy place. (The Raja) was made a Suddha-kshatriya before (the coronation). Much wealth was distributed in charity. Fifty thousand Brahmans learned in the Vedas were assembled from the home provinces, as well as from foreign territories and holy places of great sanctity. They were all made to stay. Every day they were fed with sweets. Then for the coronation a throne was made . . . jewels of great value were sought from among the nine varieties of priceless jewels that were in the treasury, and set in the throne . Many gold lotuses inlaid with jems of nine varieties and various other gold flowers and clothes were distributed in abundance.... To Gaga Bhat (who had officiated as) the chief priest was given immense wealth. The total expenditure amounted to one Kror and forty-two lakhs of Hons.
198. In Sen's book there are some extracts from Sivadig-vijaya and Chitnis Bakhar and at page 241 an account is given of Sivaji's coronation. According to this account Sivaji was advised that there was a very learned Brahman named Gaga Bhatta in Benares and that he ought to be consulted. The narrative then proceeds as follows:
Thereupon Balaji Baba submitted to the Maharaja that there was a very great Kasi Brahman named Gaga Bhatta, somebody should be sent to him to obtain from him the Sastrik injunctions and that it would be well to get the ceremony performed by him. The Maharaja was highly pleased and commissioned Balaji Baba to despatch a KarKun to Kasi and to pay what money was necessary from the treasury. Ramachandra Babaji was accordingly sent. He went with the Maharaja's letter and explained his mission. Whereupon the Bhatta replied that he would answer after proper deliberation. Several Brah-mans of the place, great and small, were accordingly consulted, and the Bhatta answered that only the Kshatriyas were entitled to Chhatra and sinhason, the Sudras were not ... For a year and a half Ramachandra Babaji pleaded that there were so many Sudra kings without any knowledge of Kshatriya rites, but to no avail. Thereupon Balaji Avji wrote to Ramachandra to enquire on what grounds the Chharta and sinhasan had been conferred on the Udayapur Royal family, with whom the Raja was connected.... The Maharaja, however, remarked, 'How is it that one who does good to the subjects and establishes the religion should have no right (to chhatra and sinhasan). He who has power is really a king. Are not many kings of low origin enjoying sovereignty ? In what respects do they behave like the Kshatriyas?
199. Pausing here, I may observe that it is significant that Sivaji is represented as laying no claims to Kshatriya descent. He rather advances the argument that a low descent is no obstacle to the coronation as many low born kings have been sovereigns and that power is after all the test of kingship. It is also clear that it required a year and a half to persuade the Brahmans to consent and it is probable that the Rajput pedigree was created during that period.
200. These two accounts as to the coronation throw a great deal of light on the claims of Sivaji to the Kshatriya origin. It seems to me to be fairly clear that this claim to Rajput descent from the Udayapur family was made for the first time for the purpose of enabling Sivaji to be crowned in the same manner as the Kshatriya kings were. It is also clear that there was very great difficulty in inducing Brahmans to consent to the claim of Kshatriyaship made on behalf of Sivaji and to crown him with Vedic rites and that it required a lot of persuasion and an immense amount of expenditure before the Brahmans would give their reluctant consent.
201. The late Mr. Justice Telang, a great oriental scholar in an essay by him entitled "Gleanings from Maratha Chronicles," published as an appendix to Justice Ranade's "Rise of the Maratha Power" observes:
But from those which relate to Shivaji himself, it rather appears, if we read between the lines, that the claim set up on his behalf to be of the Kshatriya caste was not universally regarded as really and truly tenable, although from considerations of policy and expediency it might be conceded. From the Biographies of Shivaji by Krisnaji Anant Sabhasad, and by Chitragupta, it seems to follow that the search for the origin of Shivaji's family, which resulted in the discovery that he belonged to the Sisode clan of Rajputs who reigned in Udayapur, was not commenced until after the idea of a formal installation (or Abhiseka) had been started. And Malhar Ramrao Chitnis's narrative, although it proceeds on the assumption of the fact as already established, rather indicates that Gaga Bhatta, the great Pandit of Benares, whose services were put in requisition for the installation ceremonies, had some considerations of policy put to him before he was persuaded to join in those ceremonies. They had also to strain a point, when as a preliminary to the installation, the third ceremony essential for a Kshatriya was performed on Shivaji at a time when he was 'forty-six or fifty years old, and had already had two sons--an irregularity, which also was, we are told, expressly assented to by all the Brahmans and Pandits. How the Brahmans and Pandits worked their way to this decision, none of our authorities states. Further, it is remarkable that none of those authorities anywhere mentions the performance of the thread ceremony upon any of the members of Shivaji's family, except the ones who were installed on the gadi, and then that ceremony is mentioned only in connection with the installation ceremony. In view of these facts, it may be permissible to doubt whether the statements of both Krishnaji Anant Sabhasad and Malhar Ramrao Chitnis, about Shahaji claiming to be a Rajput of the Sisode clan, or about Jayasing Mirza Raja of Jeypore acknowledging Shivaji as a Kshatriya and dining with him before the installation, deserve to be entirely trusted Taking the whole evidence together, it looks like a case of a more or less deliberate manipulation of facts and religious rules, in aid of a foregone conclusion adopted for a purely political purpose.
202. As regards the Rajput ancestry, I do not think there is very much to support it. Lieut.-Col. James Tod in his "Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan," Vol. I, refers to the Odayapur ancestry of Sivaji. According to Tod, Vol. I, page 286, which has been marked as Exhibit B-175, when Ala-ud-din Khilji in 1275 sacked Chitore, Ajeysi is said to have escaped with Hamir, the minor son of his eldest brother. Ajay Singh's son Sajan Singh is said to have left for Deccan to carve his fortune. So that, there must have been an unbroken line of descent between 1270 and Sivaji's birth in 1627. Tod refers to a genealogy of Sivaji which he says was obtained from the Bhats or Troubadours of Mewar. The statements of Bhats can hardly be accepted as of much historical value. It is well known that in India bards and poets will exalt the lineage of a liberal patron. There is, however, very little, historically, to support this genealogy which was for the first time thought of at the time of Sivaji's coronation. Though Tod will go back so far as 1275, Waring in his "History of the Marathas" says that Shahaji, the father of Sivaji, was an illegitimate descendant from the Rana of Odayapur and that Babaji Bhonsle, the grandfather of Sivaji, upon the death of his father, moved from Odayapur into Kandesh. This story does not agree with the account of Tod as the migration from Odayapur is put in by Waring as only three generations from Sivaji. Mr. Justice RANADE in his History observes at page 46 :
It is in the spirit of the same fond superstition that native historians trace for Sivaji a fabled descent from the Royal house of Udayapur.
203. It is significant that in Exhibit B-141 there is no reference made to the descent of Sivaji the Great from the Ranas of Odayapur though, if it were a fact, it is hardly likely that the Rajas of Tanjore would have omitted to mention, among the numerous details which they give of the ancestry, so important a connexion.
204. Though commissions were taken out to examine witnesses in Kolhapur and other places no attempt was made to examine any witness in Odayapur to show that the families of Sivaji and the Rana of Odayapur were related. Reference has been made to a statement by Mr, Enthoven in the Bombay Census Report that a Rana of Odayapur admitted Sivaji's claim to Rajput descent, but no authority is given for this statement and if it is true it could easily have been proved by reference to the genealogies preserved in the State. Colonel Tod gives the statements of Bhats or Troubadours as his authority for the statement of Sivaji's ancestors being descendants of a branch of the Odayapur family. The rhapsodies of bards are not of much historical value. No attempt has been made to get any evidence from Rajputana on the Rajput connexion claimed for the family of Sivaji.
205. I may also point out that there has been no case of intermarriage between the members of the Royal family of Odayapur (however remote they may be connected with the Royal family) and the family of Sivaji or any of his descendants. It seems to me to be extremely unlikely that, if Sivaji was really related to the Ranas of Odayapur, there would have been no alliance considering that the Empire of Sivaji and his descendants was certainly very much more extensive than that of the Ranas of Odayapur. I agree with the Subordinate Judge in his conclusion that no reliance can be placed on the supposed connexion of Sivaji with the Odayapur family.
206. It is argued that the objection to Sivaji's coronation was due to the fact that there was a belief at the time that in the present age (Kaliyuga) there were no Kshatriyas, but only two castes, namely, the Brahman and the Sudra. It is argued that it was this belief that prevented the Brahmans from consenting to Sivaji's coronation. Reference was made to the sloka in the Bhagavathapuranam wherein it is stated that the Nandas were the last of the Kshatriyas. Reference was also made to the legend that Parasurama, the contemporary of the avatar of Vishnu, Sri Rama, destroyed all the Kshatriyas. I may state in passing that the theory as to there being no Kshatriyas was referred to and overruled in Ohuoturya Run Murdun Syn v. Sahub Purhulad Syn (1857) 7 M.I.A., 18. There is no doubt that this extreme theory is, like several other extreme theories, held by some Brahmans who want to exalt themselves denying rights to other castes. For example, reference is made to it in the Sudra Kamalakara, and defendants' eighty-sixth witness Venkatarama Ayyar says that in his opinion whosoever is not a Brahman is a Sudra. But this view has never been adopted by the Brahmans as a working rule or enforced. I may here point out that this theory that there were no Kshatriyas in the Kaliyuga or the fourth cycle which commenced over 4,000 years ago does not find a place in any of the books dealing with Hindu Law. Neither in Mitakshara which was composed in the 11th century A.D. nor Dayabyagha or Mayukha which were written much later is there any reference made to the absence of the Kshatriya caste. On the contrary, all the Smriti writers and commentators state as a fact that the four castes, namely, Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra, exist in the Kali age. There have been coronations of numerous kings and it is nowhere suggested that objection was taken to the coronation of Hindu Emperors because of the supposed non-existence of the Kshatriyas in the Kali age and of the fact that all the kings were Sudras, owing to there being only two castes, the Brahman and the Sudra. History records the crowning of several Emperors like Vikramaditya, Bhoja, Harsha and others. So far as the Puranas are concerned, they are works several of which were written about the 6tb century A.D. and some of them later, and though they are the store-houses of Hindu mythology and several of them are sectarian in character, they have not influenced to a,ny great degree the rules of conduct or the division of castes which are laid down by the Smriti writers and by the numerous commentators thereon.
207. In the case of Sivaji we have the undisputed fact that his great-grandfather was only a village headman and cultivator, that neither Sivaji's father, grandfather or great-grandfather had the Upanayana ceremony, which is the distinctive ceremony conferring the status of twice-born, performed to them, that though Sivaji was 47 or 50 years old at the time of his coronation and had been married and had children, the Upanayana ceremony which under the Sastras had to be performed before he completed his 22nd year if he was a Kshatriya, had not been performed to him till then and that it was only performed at the time of his coronation for. the purpose of enabling him to be crowned.
208. When it is borne in mind how strict and rigid orthodox rules of caste were at that period and how jealously caste privileges were maintained, the non-performance of the chief rite of Upanayana by Sivaji's father, grandfather and great-grandfather which confers the status of Dvija or twice-born and differentiates the three upper classes from the Sudra, is significant. I have already pointed out that one great division of the Mahrat-tas is the Kunbi class or the cultivating classes who are admittedly Sudras and who have no Upanayana ceremony performed to them and that they have surnames like Bhonsle, Nimbalkar, etc. Under these circumstances, it seems to me that the probabilities all point to Sivaji's ancestors being of Kunbi descent. This is the view that eminent authorities whom I have referred to have taken and a view which I consider to be most consonant with the proved facts of history.
209. It was suggested that the coronation of Sivaji with Vedic rites and with the concurrence of eminent Brahmans conferred on Sivaji the status of a Kshatriya or made him a twice-born even assuming that he had not that status before his Upanayanam and coronation. There is no authority in any of the Smrithis or Hindu Law books for holding that the mere performance of those rites would change the caste so as to entail the advantages or disadvantages which the Hindu Law confers upon the members of each caste. But assuming for argument's sake that Sivaji was thus raised to the status of a twice-born and became a Kshatriya, it is not suggested that this act would similarly raise the status of all his collateral relations. It is clear that Sivaji's father Shahaji left for the Carnatic several years before Sivaji's coronation and died there and that Ekoji, the founder of the Tanjore Raj, the half-brother of Sivaji, was separate from Sivaji and pursued his own conquest in the Carnatic. Ekoji had admittedly no coronation ceremony performed like Sivaji, and it is difficult to see how Ekoji can have been raised to the status of a Kshatriya, simply because his step-brother got the Brahmans to crown him king.
210. So far as Sambhaji, the son of Sivaji is concerned, no Upanayanam ceremony was performed till he was installed as Yuvaraj in 1679. He had been married and had children by then. There is no evidence that Sahu, who reigned till 1749, his son, or Rajaram, his brother, had any such ceremony performed at any time, much less any evidence to show that they bad Vedic rites and ceremonials. Exhibit F-86 is an account of the year 1750, showing that Upanayanam ceremony was performed to Ramaraja, Sahu's successor. He was brought up in obscurity by a humble family and was said to have been kept in hiding owing to fear of assassination by Sahu. Doubts were thrown on his being related to the house of Sivaji. I shall refer to him later on when dealing with the claims of the Satara branch to succession to the Tanjore estate. There is no other evidence showing that Upanayana to any other member of the Satara Raj which came to an end on the deposition of the Raja in 1849 was performed. It is pointed out by Mr. Sen in his extracts from documents relating to Mahratta history at page 114 that, an extract from the Peshwas' diaries shows that the descendants of Sivaji had for sometime after the rise of the Peshwas given up the practice of wearing the sacred thread.
211. It is argued that so far as the Satara branch is concerned, the successors of Sahu were virtually prisoners, that the Peshwas were the real rulers and that it was to the interest of the Peshwas to discourage Upa-nayanam. I find it difficult to follow this argument. The Peshwas, though virtually the rulers outwardly, conformed to the theory that they were only ministers of the descendants of Sivaji who ruled at Satara. Every Peshwa sought for investiture from the king in Satara and it is difficult to see what interest the Peshwas had in preventing Upanayanam ceremony from being performed and in thus degrading the rulers, in the eyes of the people.
212. It seems to me that as a matter of policy it would have been to the interests of the Peshwas to show that they were ministers of a Kshatriya prince rather than of a Sudra if as a matter of fact the descendants of Sivaji were Kshatriyas. That the Peshwas did not object to Upanayana being performed is clear from Exhibit F-86 which shows that when they set up Ram Raja in 1750, Upanayanam was performed when he was brought from his place of exile to Satara. The Peshwas claimed to be high class Brahmans; service under a Sudra is condemned by Manu and other Smrithi writers. For example, Manu, Chapter XI, verse 70, makes' attendance by a Brahman on a Sudra, a ground of social degradation. The Peshwas are not likely to have put themselves in this position especially as their power was too deeply rooted to be affected by the caste of the king. The probabilities are that the ceremony of Upauayanam was only gone through as an adjunct to coronation following the example of Sivaji and was given up latterly when that rite had no political necessity or significance during the time of the Peshwas.
213. So far as the Kolhapur branch is concerned, Exhibit G-204 which is dated the 25th of May 1762, shows that a dress of honour was despatched by the Peshwas on the 25th of May 1762 in connexion with the Vritha-bandha ceremony to Sivaji, Raja of Kolhapur. This ceremony, it is argued on one side, is the Upanayana or thread ceremony; but this is not admitted by the other side. The account gives no details except the robes of honour sent and there is nothing to indicate that those articles were articles which were usually presented at the sacred thread ceremony. From 1762 to 1867 we find nothing to show that the rulers of Kolhapur had Upanayana performed to them. Exhibit G-83, which is an account of 1867, shows that Upanayanam or thread ceremony of Rajaram Maharaja, the great-grandf ather K of the present Maharaja, took place in 1867. Exhibit G-79 is an account, dated the 13th of May 1878, showing that Upanayanam was performed to Sivaji, the grandfather of the present' Raja. Exhibit G-75 shows that Upanayanam was performed for Sahu, his father.
214. The evidence regarding the Kolhapur branch suggests that Upanayanam was continued to be regularly performed only from 1867. There was, according to the evidence, a dispute in Kolhapur as to whether the rulers were Kshatriyas or Sudras and whether they were entitled to the performance of ceremonies with Vedic rites like Kshatriyas or with Puranic rites like Sudras.
215. [Then his Lordship referred to the oral evidence on this last point and proceeded as follows:--] On the question of the caste of the Mahrattas, the evidence is by no means clear that they belong to the Dvija or twice-born castes.
216. [After referring to the oral evidence on this point his Lordship proceeded as follows:--] This is all the evidence, oral and documentary, adduced by the fifteenth defendant on the question of caste and I consider it insufficient to prove either that all those who call themselves Mahrattas are Kshatriyas or that the term Mahratta includes the two classes only, the Kshatriyas and the Sudras, the higher class known as the Kshatriyas and the lower known as the Sudras.
217. Coming to Tanjore which was founded about 1675 or 1676 by Ekoji or Yenkoji, we find no reference to any Upanayanam performed to any of the nine kings that preceded Serfoji who reigned from 1790 to 1832 and we hear of Upanayanam for the first time during Serfoji's period. Even as regards Serfoji, there is no documentary evidence to show that any Upanayanam was performed to him except a statement in the judg-merit, Exhibit D-93, where Mr. Davidson, the District Judge, states that Serfoji got Upanayanam performed to him when he was over 50 years and a grandfather and that this was merely a piece of vanity on his part.
218. [After referring to the absence of any accounts relating to any Upanayanam up to 1855 when Sivaji died, his Lordship proceeded as follows:--] As regards Upanayanams performed after the death of Sivaji in 1855, the evidence of the performance of Upanayanam is, as the Subordinate Judge remarks in paragraph 1514 of his judgment, equally unsatisfactory.
219. [After referring to want of pomp or publicity as regards any of the Upanayanams alleged to have been done, his Lordship proceeded as follows:--] It is argued by Mr. Krishnaswami Ayyar for defendants 4 to 11 that no accounts were produced after the death of the Raja to show that Upanayanams were performed though minute accounts have been kept relating to various expenses. Taking the case of the father of defendants 1 and 2, Rajaram, who was adopted by Kamakshi Bai Saheba, the senior widow of the deceased Raja in 1863, one would have expected to find clear evidence of Upanayanam being performed to him as he was performing the Raja's funerals, sradh and other ceremonies, and all the Ranis were contributing handsomely for his maintenance and support.
220. Three different versions are given as to Rajaram's Upanayanam having been performed. One is that it was performed at the time of his adoption in 1863; the other is that it was performed eight years later in 1871 and the third is that it was performed at the time of his marriage in 1883.
221. [After referring to the conflicting versions on this point and the absence of accounts for Rajaram's Upanayanam, his Lordship proceeded as follows:--] As the Upanayanam was the first important ceremony which would be performed to Rajaram after the adoption, one would expect that there would be accounts to prove it. Not only are there no accounts but it does not appear that any invitations were issued for the ceremony. None of the male relations speak to the Upanayanam.
222. [Then his Lordship referred to the absence of oral evidence from important witnesses and proceeded as follows:--] I think it is very doubtful whether any Upanayanam ceremony was performed, to Rajaram who was adopted by Kamakshi Bai Saheba and the other Ranis.
223. So far as the first and second defendants are concerned, there is evidence that Upanayanam was performed but the ceremony was finished in one day although usually it lasts four days. No accounts are produced of the expenses although it is said that large expenses were incurred by Ramakumaramba Bai and Kamakshi Bai Saheba.
224. [After rejecting the reasons for non-production of the accounts as unsatisfactory and after adverting to the want of invitations for the Upanayanams, his Lordship proceeded as follows;--] It is significant that Sethu-ramaswami, the Guru or the spiritual preceptor of the Royal household, whose evidence has been marked as Exhibit A-8, states that he was not invited for nor did he attend any Upanayanam ceremony in the palace and that he has not even heard that any such ceremony took place. This witness was installed as a Guru in 1888 and though he says that he was invited for marriages and performed upadesam, no explanation has been given or suggested as to why he was not invited for such an important ceremony as Upanayanam if it did take place.
225. According to the evidence of the first defendant the Upanayanam for himself and his brother took place in 1904 when the Royal Guru or priest was 34 years old and fully capable of officiating and performing the rites.
226. So far as Sambu Singh, the adopted son of the Princess and the father of the third defendant, is concerned, he was adopted in 1885. It was alleged that his Upanayanam was performed in 1885 shortly after the Princess' death and though it is proved by third defendant's 60th witness Ramachandra Rao that Sakharam Saheb, the adoptive father, kept regular accounts, no accounts are produced to show that any expenses for Upanayanam were incurred.
227. [After referring to the absence of invitations and of publicity for this Upanayanam his Lordship proceeded as follows:--] One would expect that, if Upanayanam was performed, the tutor would have received invitation for so important a ceremony.
228. So far as the third defendant is concerned, it is alleged that his Upanayanam took place in 1891 after the death of his adoptive father Sambu Singh. Although the account books (Exhibit B series) of 1891 are produced to prove his adoption and minute expenses of even lie. 0-1-6 are entered in the accounts there is no entry showing that any Upanayanam was performed in the accounts produced. The oral evidence as to when the Upanayanam took place is contradictory.
229. [After referring to the oral evidence, his Lordship proceeded as follows:--] I have dealt in detail with Upanayanam, because it is admitted on all hands that it is the ceremony which differentiates the three higher classes, namely, the Brahman, the Kshatriya and the Vaisya, from the Sudra. It appears from the evidence, and it is not disputed before us, that several lower orders who, according to Sastras, would, not be entitled to wear sacred thread have been putting on the sacred thread and going through a ceremony like the Upanayanam ceremony of the three higher classes with a view of raising their status. In the District Manual it is stated that all Mahrattas, higher and lower, wear the sacred thread (pages 173 and 175), and the evidence adduced shows that classes who are admittedly Sudras, like blacksmiths and goldsmiths, wear the sacred thread (for example, see the evidence of Sita,rama Dikshadar, D.W. 43). In Jogendro Bhupati v. Nittyanund Man Singh (1885) I.L.R., 11 Calc., 702 which was affirmed on appeal by the Privy Council in Jogendro Bhupati Hurro-chundra Mahapatra v. Nittyanund Man Singh (1891) I.L.R., 18 Calc., 151 (P.C.) it was pointed out that wearing the sacred thread, though worthy of notice, is by no means conclusive on the question of caste. GARTH, C.J., observed:
But it is contended that the fact of Jogendro being invested with the sacred thread tends to show that the Sukanda Rajas as well as Panikota Rajas belonged to the Kshatriya caste. We think this circumstance, although well worthy of notice, is by no means conclusive on the point. No donbt, the Rajas of Sukanda, like other Rajas of Kuttuk, endeavoured to assume the rank of true Kshatriyas, but whether they were so in fact is more than doubtful.
230. The Chief Justice also lays great stress on the fact that the Ranis stated in the written statement that they were Sudras. I shall refer to the statement of the Ranis in this case that they were Sudras, later on.
231. This would not make them twice-born or raise their status from Sudraship to anything higher. There can be little doubt that, so far as the first three twice-born classes are concerned, Upanayanam is regularly performed. It is an important ceremony which is invariably performed with a certain degree of pomp and publicity. Where in cases of controversy as to whether a person belongs to the twice-born class or to the Sudra class, it is shown that Upanayanam ceremony was not performed, it is a very important piece of evidence to show that the person belongs to the Sudra caste and not to the higher caste, though the converse case of the non-performance of Upanayanam by the twice-born would not necessarily show that the person not performing it belongs to the lower class.
232. It was argued that the mere non-performance of Upanayanam would not, in the case of the higher classes, necessarily reduce the person to the level of a Sudra. This may be so only where it is proved that the person giving up the ceremony belonged to the higher class. So far as the ceremonies that are essential to give persons the status of twice-born are concerned, they are fixed by the Smrithis. Where the question is as to the caste of a particular person, the performance of the essential rites required by the Shastras assumes importance in fixing the caste. I have gone through the evidence relating to the Tanjore branch of the family and I do not think the evidence shows that Upanayanam was performed to any of the kings until we come to Serfoji, the adoptive father of the last Raja, and that from that period the evidence is by no means satisfactory as to the performance of the Upanayanam in the case of the adopted son and the near relations of the deceased Raja.
233. In cases of Sudras for whom Upanayanam ceremony is not prescribed, there is the practice of putting on the sacred thread at the time of the marriage or funeral ceremonies. This is called the Alankara Poonool or Loukika, Poonool (or the ornamental sacred thread) and is merely an imitation of the higher classes involving no religious consequences--not being prescribed by any of the Smrithis. The fact that, in the instances of any reference to the Upanayanam in the account, it is part of the marriage ceremony and the fact that a very small sum is spent shows that the ceremony was more in the nature of putting on an Alanlcara Poonool or Loukika Poonool. The whole evidence as to Upanayanam is discussed in paragraphs 1484 to 1526 of the judgment. I do not think the evidence shows that the Mahrattas in Tanjore have the Upanayanam performed with the rites prescribed for the twice-born classes.
234. Closely connected with the Upanayanam ceremony is the Gayatri Upadesa or the teaching of the sacred verse in the Vedas called Gayatri. It is the teaching of the Gayatri mantra at the Upanayanam that really confers on the Brahman, the Kshatriya or the Vaisya the status of a twice-born. The Gayatri mantra is a mantra from the Rig Veda. According to the Asvalayana Grihya Sutra, the Gayatri for the Brahman is also the Gayatri mantra for the Kshatriya. As an alternative, in some of the Grihya Sutras two other Vedic verses are prescribed for Kshatriyas, one beginning with Tarn Savitah and the other with Deva Savithuhu. There is no Gayatri mantra for Sudras. The Brahman Gayatri is one of the most sacred verses of the Rig Veda which, when translated, runs as follows:
Let us meditate on the sacred light of that divine Sun that it may illuminate our minds.
235. I have already referred to the texts wherein Vedic mantras are prescribed only for the three higher or twice-born classes and prohibited for the Budras. In case of Sudras, rituals had to be performed without the recitation of sacred mantras. In course of time it was felt that, so far as the Sudras were concerned, though Vedic mantras were forbidden, there should be some substitute and the Puranas, which, although looked upon, with reverence by the mass of Hindus, ranked below the Vedas in point of sacredness, were resorted to for the purpose of supplying the mantras to be recited for ceremonies among Sudras and Yedic ritual was confined to the three higher classes, while the Puranic ritual was confined to the Sudras. It was thought that, just as the Grayatri mantra was the hall-mark of the three superior classes, the Sudras should have some mantra of their own and the first verse in Devi Bhaghavatham, one of the Puranas, was selected as the mantra which the Sudras ought to use. That sloka begins Sana Cliayi-thanya Roopanam and may be translated thus:
I meditate on the beginningless Vidya which is of the nature of all consciousness. May She stimulate our intelligence to the realization of that (the Supreme Being).
236. The evidence in this case is conflicting both as to the caste of the parties, whether the rituals were Vedic or Puranic and whether the mantra taught was the Grayatri or the sloka from the Devi Bhaghavatham. Each side has adduced evidence. Those called for defendants 4 to 11 want to make out that the parties are Sudras, that the rituals were Puranic and that the Grayatri which was taught to the members of the Royal family was not the Vedic Gfayatri which is imparted to the members of the three higher classes. The other defendants want to make out that the parties are Kshatriyas and that the ritual was the ritual of the twice-born classes. In estimating the value of the evidence given, it has to be borne in mind that during the time of Sivaji, the last Prince, and Sivaji's father, attempts were made to adopt the rituals of the twice-born classes ; but the mere performance of ceremonies which are performed by the twice-born classes would not as is conceded on all hands elevate the Sudras or the fourth class to the status of the twice-born class, though, where the caste of a family is doubtful and its origin cannot be traced, the performance of Vedic or Puranic rituals without any objection for a long series of years will be important evidence as to the caste.
237. [After referring to the oral evidence on this point his Lordship proceeded as follows:--] Their evidence has been referred to in detail by the Subordinate Judge and as I agree with him in his conclusion that the evidence does not prove that the parties belong to the twice-born class, I do not think it necessary to set out the evidence in detail. I agree with the Subordinate Judge in his observation in paragraph 1599 of his judgment that "the evidence merely confirms the idea of a pathetic but vain attempt to elevate themselves in the social scale through caste."
238. [His Lordship here referred to some oral evidence adduced in previous litigations regarding the caste of the Tanjore Rajas and proceeded as follows:--] The Subordinate Judge deals with this part of the case in paragraphs 1518 to 1521 of his judgment and I agree with his remarks.
239. [After referring to the oral evidence of the 67th witness for the third defendant, his Lordship proceeded as follows:--] The evidence is by no means clear that the members of the Tanjore family or the Mahrattas of Tanjore had the Gayatri man tram prescribed in the Grihya Sutras for the three twice-born classes taught to them at such of the Upanayanam ceremonies as have been proved to be performed to the members.
240. It was argued that the Mahrattas have got gotras connecting them with Rishis and that this is one indication of their being one of the twice-born classes. The mere fact of having a gotra would not settle the question as many Sudra families have gotras--some Rishi gotras and some non-Rishi gotras. One important thing connected with gotra is pravara; and gotra and pravara go together. Almost all the witnesses who say that the defendants are Kshatriyas are unable to give their pravara. So far as the Sudras are concerned, though they have gotras, there is no question of any pravara. Defendant's 103rd witness Sankara Rao, who is a Mahratta Sudra, states that he wears a sacred thread and that his gotra is Kapila Rishi gotra. Defendants' 89th witness Kannuswami Ayyar, who is a priest, states that, among Sudras, Nayudus and Chetties have got gotrams.
241. There is one other very important point which shows that the parties are Sudras. It is admitted that, so far as the twice-born classes are concerned, marriages between members of the same gotra and pravara are absolutely forbidden, and, if performed, would be invalid; among Sudras this rule does not apply. (See Mayne's Hindu Law, paragraphs 86 and 87, pages 103 to 105.) The evidence in this case is that, among Mahrattas, marriages are contracted between members of the same gotra. Manoba Saheb, the 26th witness for defendants 1 and 2, who is a close relation of the Ranis, states that Mahrattas marry in the same gotras arid admits that it is a deliberate overriding of the Shastras. The third defendant in his evidence states that his adoptive father belongs to Vasishta gotra and his natural father to Jabalasa gotra. He admits that the gotra of his mother before marriage was also Vasishta; so that his adoptive father would have married a girl of the same gotra. The seventh defendant in his evidence gives instances of marriages between members of the same gotra, namely, Athri gotra and Vasishta gotra. An attempt was made at the examination of the defendants' first witness Mr. Ghautige to explain the sagotra marriages by stating that the girl was given in adoption before the marriage. The question was put to him in re-examination in a leading form and he gave the answer. There is nothing in Hindu Law which sanctions a girl being given in adoption; and the evidence of this witness has not been followed up by the other witnesses by giving instances of adoption. It should be remembered that, as in the case of marriages, the prohibition of sagotra would apply to the gotra of both the natural and adoptive fathers; so that mere adoption would not take away the prohibition even assuming the girl was given in adoption. A man cannot marry his sister's or brother's datighter by resorting to an adoption with another family. The fact that sagotra marriages exist among Mahrattas and among the members of the Royal family strongly probabilizes the view that the parties are Sudras, and that as such prohibition does not apply to Sudras, sagotra marriages have taken place.
242. The next point is about the funeral ceremonies. In regard to sradhs, the offerings to the ancestors called pinda consists in the case of Kshatriyas, of cooked rice balls or pindas, while in the case of Sudras cooked rice is not used but only flour. So far as the accounts relating to sradhs go, they all show that the pindas offered were made of flour and not of cooked rice. No document was referred to in the course of the argument which shows that cooked rice pindas were offered. The Subordinate Judge deals with this portion of the case in paragraphs 1470 to 1475 of his judgment. Having regard to the accounts which give minute details as to the quantity of flour purchased and used, the evidence of the witnesses called to show that at sradhs rice pindas were offered is, in my opinion, not true. Another important point in the ceremony is the performance of the homam or the giving of oblations in the sacred fire that is lighted. According to Smrithis, the Kshatriyas are entitled to have the homam performed at sradhs and if sradhs are performed according to Vedic rites, homam is indispensable. The 21st defendant Hari Saheb Mohitai, who examined himself as the 46th witness for defendants 1 and 2 and who claims to be a Kshatriya, states that no homam was performed at the sradhs performed by him, Yeswant Rao Saheb, 69th witness for defendants, who is related to the Ranis, states that he does not do homam in performing Brahma-yagnyam at sradhs. The witnesses called by defendants 4 to 11, whose case is that the parties are Sudras, state that no homam was performed. As regards intermarriages, there is reliable evidence to show that the descendants of Sivaji contracted alliances with the families of Sindia and Holkar, who are Sudras. (Sir John Malcolm's Central India, pages 116 and 142.) The Subordinate Judge refers to the marriages in paragraph 1382 of his judgment. It is also proved that Sudra cooks were employed in the Tanjore Royal Palace and having regard to the well-known fact that none of the three twice-born classes would take food prepared by Sudra cooks, this circumstance is also a strong piece of evidence as to the caste of the parties.
243. Turning to the judicial proceedings and to statements of parties made therein, we find that in the suit filed by Kamakshi Bai Saheba against the Secretary of State, Kamakshi Bai Saheba alleged that the parties were Sudras and this was admitted by all parties and it is so stated in the judgment of the Supreme Court.
244. [After referring to the circumstances in which the above statement was made and rejecting the reasons adduced for considering it false his Lordship proceeded as follows:--] The next important judicial proceeding is the judgment in Original Suit No. 8 of 1866, on the file of the Civil Court, Tanjore. It was admitted at the hearing that the parties to that litigation were members of the Tanjore Royal family. The plaintiff in that suit claimed to be the adopted son of the last male holder of the properties and the first and second defendants were the widows. One of the pleas raised was that the adoption was illegal and invalid because the plaintiff was the sister's son of the deceased Raja and the family belonged to the Kshatriya caste and the question of caste of the parties therefore became important. Though the adoption of sister's son has subsequently been held to be valid in Southern India, it was contended in 1866 that the adoption was invalid unless the parties were Sudras. The depositions of witnesses are not available as the records have, under the Civil Rules of Practice, been destroyed. But the judgment has been filed as Exhibit D-93. The suit was contested, and all the parties were represented by counsel throughout the trial. In dealing with the caste of a particular family, I think the evidence given in litigations between members of that family which raise the question of caste and decisions of Courts as regards the caste of the family are relevant. If the judgment is evidence, the recital in the judgment of the evidence of the witnesses is also relevant especially when the original depositions have been destroyed under the rules of Court. Mr. DAVIDSON, the learned Judge, in his judgment, Exhibit D-93, deals exhaustively with the evidence adduced in that case and holds that it was proved beyond all shadow of doubt that the parties were Sudras. It is clear from the judgment that evidence was let in by the parties as to the caste of the Royal family of Tanjore as that question was important to determine the caste of the relations of the Royal family, both the plaintiffs and the defendants being related to the Royal family. In paragraph 21 the learned Judge finds on the evidence that Serfoji, the father of Sivaji, the last ruler, got Upanaya-nam performed to him with considerable difficulty when he was upwards of 50 years and a grandfather and that Sivaji got Upanayanam performed to him when he was upwards of 22 years and that Serfoji's act would not raise him to a higher caste. The learned Judge says that all the witnesses for the plaintiff and many for the defendants including two grandsons and other near relatives of Serfoji, one and all distinctly state that Serfoji, Sivaji, they themselves, Kanoji the plaintiff, defendants and all relations were, and are, emphatically of the Sudra caste and that, although Mahratta Sudras, they have their food cooked by Tamil Sudras, eat in the presence of Tamil Sudras, have their water for drinking and ablution purposes brought by Tamil Sudras. This judgment is important as showing that in 3866, i.e., ten years after Kamakshi Bai's suit against the Secretary of State, an attempt made to show that the members of the Royal family were Kshatriyas failed and that the evidence of the close relations of the Royal family referred to by the Civil Judge in his judgment was that the parties were Sudras. In Exhibit A-74, a memorial, dated the 2nd July 1863, from Kamakshi Bai Saheba to the Government of Madras requesting the Government to recognize the father of the first and second defendants as the adopted son of the Raja, she states that no ceremony as Datta Homam was necessary as the parties belonged to the common classes, but that "as from the days of the late Serfoji Maharaja, we do observe the same rules as are prescribed for higher classes," she performed the ceremony of Datta Homam and other ceremonies on the 1st of July 1863. This memorial shows that in 1863 Kamakshi Bai admitted that the parties were Sudras and also stated that her father-in-law Serfoji began to observe the same rites as are prescribed for the twice-born classes, and this accords with the view taken by Mr. Davidson in his judgment. Exhibit D-78 is a deposition by Ramakumaramba Bai Saheba (one of the widows of the late Raja) in Original Suit No. 400 of 1907 on the file of the District Munsif of Tanjore. In the deposition, while giving her religion she has stated "Hindu Sect, Mahratta Sudra." Defendants' ninety-fourth witness, T. Dasarathi Sahib, who speaks to this statement being recorded and whose father was the younger brother of the Rani Ramakumaramba Bai Saheba, states that he was a party to Original Suit No. 400 of 1907 and that he was present when Ramakumaramba Bai Saheba was examined as a witness by Sirkle Vaman Rao who was appointed Commissioner to take her evidence as she was a gosha. He states that the deposition was read out to her and that she signed it. In cross-examination he states that the deposition was read over to her, that the Commissioner swore her in Mahratti and then questioned her about her husband's name and caste and that he remembers well that she said he was a Mahratta Sudra. It is clear from the evidence of this witness whom the Judge believes on this point that the statement of caste was made by Ramakumaramba Bai Saheba herself; and thus there is no force in the contention founded on the decision of their Lordships of the Privy Council in Maqbulan v. Ahmad Husain (1904) I.L.R., 26 All., 108. There is no reason to suppose that the Commissioner who was a Sirkle and disinterested falsely put in the description of caste. It has been pointed out that Ramakumaramba Bai Saheba had in another document Exhibit A-204, a deed of settlement executed by her on the 10th of August 1907, described herself as a Kshatriya. But this only shows that in judicial proceedings, etc., she was on oath, and was not prepared to state that she belonged to the Kshatriya caste just as Kamakshi Bai Saheba when she had to file a duly verified Bill in a Court of Justice described herself as a Sudra. It is stated by Mr. Varadachari that there was no necessity to use the expression "Mahratta Sudra." But as pointed out by defendants' twelfth witness Rowji, a Sudra will say Sudra or Mahratta Sudra and that Sudras will describe themselves also as Mahrattas simply. There is therefore nothing improbable in the Rani having said that she was a Mahratta Sudra when she gave her deposition.
245. [After referring to a litigation in the Bombay High Court in which the caste of some of the parties to this suit was in issue in the Original Court, and rejecting the judgments of the Appellate Courts as inconclusive on the question of caste as it was by the consent of the parties not submitted for their decision, his Lordship proceeded as follows:--] I shall now deal with the question as to how the members of the Tanjore Royal family described themselves.
246. [After referring to the documentary evidence on the point his Lordship proceeded as follows:--] There can be no doubt that in these documents the parties call themselves Kshatriyas, but these documents are all after 1870 and after the Judgment--Exhibit D-93 [see page 193]. It cannot therefore be said that among the Rajas or the members of their family, there has been a uniform or consistent description by themselve as Kshatriyas.
247. It is argued by Mr. Varadachari for the fifteenth defendant that where the caste of a particular family is not clear from the evidence, the assertion made for 200 years by the members of that family that they belong to a particular caste would be valuable evidence and would raise a prima facie presumption that they belong to the caste to which, they allege, they belong. As, however, in the case of the Tanjore Raj there has been no such uniform description of the parties by themselves as Kshatriyas, I do not think any such presumption arises. Again we have the fact that so far as the family of Sivaji is concerned, the claim to Kshatriyaship has been denied. It was denied at the time of the coronation of Sivaji. It was denied when the members of the Kolha-pur Raj wanted to have Vedic rites performed on the footing that they were Kshatriyas and recourse had to be had to dismiss the priests and resume their jaghirs and otherwise coerce them to submission and in the case of the Tanjore Raj, Serfoji, the father of the last Raja, had to exercise considerable pressure upon the priests before they would perform the ceremony of investing him with the sacred thread on his return from Benares and when he was about 50 years old. Under these circumstances, 1 do not think that there is any ground for drawing a presumption from a long course of conduct. The caste of Sivaji must therefore be proved like any other fact without any presumption that, either because he was a Mahratta or because the surname which his family bore was one which is included in one of the 96 clans, he should be a Kshatriya.
248. There was some argument at the bar as to the presumption to be drawn as to the caste of a party when the evidence was unsatisfactory. The Subordinate Judge in his judgment, after a reference to the authorities, was of opinion that the presumption in the absence of evidence that parties are of twice-born classes is that they are Sudras. He deals with the question in paragraphs 1295 to 1302 of the judgment. I do not think it necessary to discuss the question as there is evidence on both sides and there is no question of onus or presumption. If it were necessary, I think that Muthusami Mudaliar v. Masilamani (1910) I.L.R., 33 Mad., 342 approved by the Privy Council in Ma Tait v. Mctung Chit Maung (1922) I.L.R., 49 Calc., 310 at 321 (P.C.) and in Soundararajan v. Arunachalam Chetty (1916) I.L.R., 39 Mad., 136 at 158 support the view that all Hindu castes that are not proved to be twice-born classes must be treated as Sudras.
249. I am of opinion that the evidence establishes that the members of the Tanjore Royal family are Sudras and not Kshatriyas, and I agree with the Subordinate Judge in his conclusion on this point.
250. The next question is as to the validity of the adoption of Rajaram Ingle (called after his adoption Serfoji), the father of first and second defendants. It is contended by the 1st and 2nd Defendants that their father was validly adopted by Kamakshi Bai Saheba in 1863. Their case is that Kamakshi Bai Saheba had, as a matter of fact, authority to adopt conferred upon her by Sivaji, that, even assuming for argument's sake that no express authority was given to her, consent to the adoption was given by Avu Bai Saheba, the mother of her deceased husband, and by the relations of the Raja, and that such consent would validate the adoption made by her and that in any event the parties being Mahrattas and governed by the law in force in Bombay according to which a widow has power to adopt without authority from her husband or his kinsmen, the adoption by Kamakshi Bai Saheba would be perfectly valid. Though the other contesting defendants put the first and second defendants to the proof of the factum of adoption by Kamakshi Bai Saheba and although a very large volume of evidence was let in on this point, the factum of adoption by Kamakshi Bai Saheba has not been disputed before us.
251. Objection is taken to the validity of the adoption on the following grounds:--(1) that Kamakshi Bai Saheba had no authority from her husband to make the adoption; (2) that there was no such consent by the kinsmen or sapindas of the Raja as would validate the adoption; (3) that the extinction of the Raj by the East India Company and the confiscation of the estate on the death of the Raja put an end to any power which Kamakshi Bai Saheba might have had to make the adoption ; and (4) that the parties are governed by the Mitakshara and not the Mayukha.
252. It is also argued that the claims of Rajaram Ingle, the adopted son, are barred by limitation as his rights were denied in the litigation which ended in the decree of this Court (vide Jijoyiamba Bayi Saiba v. Kamakshi Bayi Saiba (1868) 3 M.H.C.R., 424.
253. The Subordinate Judge has held that no express authority from the Raja was proved, but that the consent of Avu Bai Saheba, Kamakshi Bai Saheba's mother-in-law, and the Raja's relations in Tanjore, was sufficient consent to render the adoption valid, that the parties are governed by the law in force in Bombay which empowers a widow to make an adoption in all cases except where the husband has forbidden it, that the act of the Bast India Company in taking possession of the Raj would not invalidate the adoption and that the claims of defendants Nos. 1 and 2 are not barred by limitation.
254. In order to appreciate the evidence and the case of defendants Nos. 1 and 2 that the Raja authorized the adoption, it is necessary to bear in mind certain facts. [After referring to the events and circumstances adduced as probabilizing the Raja's authority to adopt, already noted in the judgment, his Lordship proceeded as follows:--] In 1853 Sivaji took Rajaram Ingle, the youngest of the three grandsons of his sister from the boy's father and brought him up in the palace, evidently with the view of a future adoption in case he had no male issue by the wives he had married.
255. [After referring to the argument that the late Raja was not likely to have thought of the adoption because he had married 17 wives, and referring to the argument that the Raja was in extremis on the alleged date of oral authorization, his Lordship proceeded as follows:--] I think that, if the oral evidence be considered with reference to these facts, there is no inherent improbability'in the Raja having authorized the adoption, should it come to the worst. [After referring to some evidence as to the conduct of and treatment of the Ranis towards Rajaram Ingle, his Lordship proceeded as follows:--] There can be little doubt from the evidence that Kamakshi Bai Saheba and the other Ranis at least from 1874 treated Rajaram Ingle as a validly adopted son. Of the sixteen Ranis, twelve died during Rajaram's life-time and he performed the funeral ceremonies as regards eleven of them. [After referring to the paucity of oral evidence as to the oral authority, at this distance of time his Lordship proceeded as follows:--] I think the evidence of Nagayi Amma and Yogambal (which the Subordinate Judge says he would not discredit but for what he considers to be the non-mention of the adoption on the four occasions which he refers to) when taken with the probabilities shows that the Raja asked Kamaskhi Bai Saheba (who was his senior widow) to adopt Rajaram Ingle if anything should happen to him. I see no reason to hold that so many of the Ranis would have made the false statement that the Raja gave permission to adopt especially as Kamakshi Bai Saheba's case from the commencement was that the parties were governed by the law in force in the Bombay Presidency which required no express authority from the husband for adoption. After disputes arose owing to Kamakshi Bai not acting up to the terms of the agreement, Exhibit A-58(a), some of the Ranis disputed the validity of the adoption in the suit of 1866, but this is not of much value especially as after 1874 they again agreed to the adoption and treated him as an adopted son.
256. It was argued on the strength of the decisions in Chandramala v. Muktamala (1883) I.L.R., 6 Mad., 20, Venkata v. Siibliadra (1884) I.L.R., 7 Mad., 548 and Subbarayar v. Subbamal (1888) I.L.R., 21 Mad., 497 that express authority is unnecessary, if the adoption was in accordance with wishes of the deceased. The first of the above three cases does not touch the question. There is, no doubt, a finding at page 22 that the Raja died without giving any express authority, but that the adoption was in accordance with his wishes. There was no plea of want of authority, and all that the case decided was that the non-performance of Datta Homam and other ceremonies was not fatal to the adoption as the parties were Kshatriyas. The second case decided that the adoption of a son of a maternal aunt's daughter was valid and that the gift of the boy by his elder brother, in pursuance of a promise made by the father, was valid. The facts of the case were that the father of the boy gave him to the appellant who desired to adopt him and that the boy was brought away from his father's house and kept by the appellant under his protection. In the meantime the boy's father died and at the ceremony of adoption the boy was given away by his elder brother. It was held that the adoption was valid. Sir Charles Turner, C.J., and Muttuswami Ayyar, J., observe:
As the boy was actually given by his natural father with the intention that the boy should be adopted subsequently, the death of the boy's natural father made no difference, the gift during Datta Homam by the boy's brother not being an act of his own mere motion as a brother but being only ancillary to perfect by religious rite what the father had done.
257. It is argued on this authority that, as the finding of the Subordinate Judge is that Rajaram Ingle was given by his natural father to Sivaji with a view to future adoption and was brought up by Sivaji with that object, the performance of the religious ceremonies by Kamakshi Bai Saheba was only the completion of an act done by the Raja by the taking of the boy and that even if no special authority was given at the time of his death, the adoption would be valid. The third case is a case where a boy was brought to the house of the deceased about three years prior to his death and treated as the adopted son. The will directed the boy's Upanayanam to be performed by the widow. It was held that the direction in the will that the widow should cause the Upanayanam to be performed implied that Datta Homam and other ceremonies preceding Upanayanam were also authorized, and Venkata v. Subhadra (1884) I.L.R., 7 Mad., 548 was referred to with approval. These cases are, I think, authority for the proposition that where a person takes a boy from his natural father with a view to adoption and brings him up in his own house, there being a giving and taking of the boy with a view to a future adoption, and the actual ceremony is performed by the widow, the adoption may be supported on the ground of implied authority to adopt. Having regard to the finding of the Subordinate Judge as to the late Raja taking the boy from his father and bringing him up with a view to adoption if circumstances required it, there is considerable force in the argument of the vakil for first and second defendants that the Raja's wish often expressed is sufficient authority, even assuming there was no express authority conferred on the day of his death. It is, however, not necessary to rest my decision as to the validity of the adoption on this ground as I think the evidence as to express authority is probable.
258. There was some discussion at the trial as to whether the death of Arunamba Bai Saheba, one of the Ranis, before the actual performance of the ceremony by Kamakshi Bai Saheba in 1863 would affect the adoption. Reference was made to Narasimha v. Parthasarathy (1914) I.L.R., 37 Mad., 199. That was a case where the will of a deceased person, which is printed at page 218 of the report, required the widows to exercise their discretion in more than one respect, namely, as to whether the adoption was to be made at all, and, if so, when it was to be made and who was the boy to be adopted. This discretion on almost every point connected with the adoption was to be exercised by the widows jointly and it was held that the death of one of the widows put an end to the authority. I may point out that, if the widows had exercised a discretion and resolved to adopt a boy, the actual ceremony could only be done by the senior widow. In the present case the evidence and the finding of the Subordinate Judge is that Sivaji selected the boy to be adopted and resolved upon his adoption if necessity arose; and if his authority given to the widows is found, there was no discretion given to them on any matter because the boy had been fixed upon and all that they had to do was to go through the formal ceremony of adoption. In the present case it is also clear that Arunamba Bai Saheba, who died before the actual ceremony of adoption, was a consenting party to Rajaram being adopted and she desired him to perform her funeral ceremonies in her letter Exhibits A-111 and A-113 already referred to by me and he did perform them. This shows beyond all doubt that Arunamba Bai Saheba, the widow who died before the ceremony of adoption took place, consented to Raja-ram's adoption and that she was anxious that be should perform her funeral ceremonies. Assuming that there was any discretion to be exercised by the deceased widow, she had exercised it in favour of the adopted boy and her death would make no difference.
259. I am also of opinion that the consent of Avu Bai Saheba, the Queen mother, was sufficient in Hindu Law to validate the adoption. There can be little doubt, and it is not disputed before us, that she was from the beginning anxious that Rajaram, her grandson, should be adopted and that she not only consented to the adoption but did her best to bring it about. It is not disputed that Avu Bai Saheba was a sapinda. She was the only sapinda of the Raja who was in Tanjore. The Kolhapur, Satara and other branches, in view of my finding that Pratap Singh who was the son by a sword wife was illegitimate, would not be agnates under Hindu Law of the last Raja of Tanjore. They would have no claim to succession, they representing a legitimate branch of Sivaji the Great, and Sivaji the last Raja being descended from Pratap Singh who was illegitimate. It is clear from the decison of their Lordships of the Privy Council in The Collector of Madura v. Moottoo Ramalinga Sathupathy (1868) 12 M.I.A., 397 that the consent of Avu Bai Saheba, the mother of Sivaji, would validate the adoption in the absence of any other Sapindas. In that case it appeared that one Mootoosamy, a male relation, who gave his consent was not a sapinda but only a Sama-nodaka and was the natural brother of the late Raja. Mootoo Veeroyee was the mother-in-law of the adopting widow and there were no nearer relations in the adopting family. Their Lordships of the Privy Council at page 444 state:
Nor is it by any means unusual in a Hindu family to find the mother-in-law occupying a position of considerable power and importance. Moreover, she was unquestionably the heir to the property next in succession to Rani Parvata Nachiar, after the failure of Ramasami's descendants. It, therefore, appears to their Lordships that in this state of the family the assent of Mootoo Veeroyee, of Mootoosamy and of the other persons who are proved beyond all question to have assented was sufficient to legitimate the adoption, even if the evidence failed to prove the consent of the yet remoter kinsman, Ramraj Taver.
260. There were no sapindas except Avu Bai Saheba in existence. The Kolhapur, Satara and other collateral branches, claiming descent from Shaji the common ancestor, would, even if they were entitled to inherit, be only Samanodakas, and, if my finding is correct that Pratap Singh was illegitimate, they would be no relations at all. The Raja's sisters and their husbands and their adult sons consented to the adoption and were present when after the adoption the Raja was installed on the throne and all did homage to him as the adopted son. Under these circumstances it seems to me that the consent of Avu Bai Saheba, the nearest sapinda, would be sufficient to validate the adoption. The Subordinate Judge deals with this question of consent in paragraphs 577 to 605 of his judgment and I agree with him in holding that the consent given by Avu Bai Saheba would, under the circumstances of the case, be sufficient consent to validate the adoption.
261. Even assuming that there was no express authority given by the Raja and the consent of Avu Bai Saheba was insufficient, I think it is clear that the members of the Tanjore Royal family who migrated in 1675 from a place called Verole in the Bombay Presidency (see Tanjore District Manual, page 761, and Duff, Vol. I, page 69) are governed by the law as prevailing in Bombay according to which no authority from the husband is necessary. The law applicable to families migrating from one province to another has been settled by the recent decision of their Lordships of the Privy Council in Balwant Rao v. Baji Rao (1921) I.L.R., 48 Calc., 30 (P.C.). As this decision was pronounced after the suit was disposed of by the Subordinate Judge, it is not referred to in his judgment; and I think it is unnecessary to refer to the various authorities cited, as in my opinion this decision settles the law on this question. It was held by their Lordships of the Privy Council that the law of succession was to be determined according to the personal law of the individual and that where a family migrates from one province to another which is governed by another law, it carries its own personal law with it. That personal law, however, in their Lordships' opinion, must be the family law as it was when they left one province to another.
262. On the question of fact as to whether Ekoji, the founder of the Tanjore Raj, and his descendants gave up their personal law by which they were governed when they were in the Bombay Presidency and adopted Mitakshara, I think the evidence is clear that they continued to be governed by their own personal law and I agree with the Subordinate Judge who, after an exhaustive review of the evidence, has come to the conclusion that the parties continued to retain their personal law. He deals with this question in paragraphs 883 to 1260 of his judgment. Mr. Varadachari who argued the appeal on behalf of the Maharaja of Kolhapur said that he did not canvass the finding of fact arrived at by the Subordinate Judge; and none of the parties before us, excepting the Mangala Vilas defendants, canvassed the finding of the Subordinate Judge. I do not think it necessary to repeat evidence which the Subordinate Judge has referred to with great minuteness and detail.
263. The law as interpreted by Courts in the Bombay Presidency has always been that a widow is competent to make an adoption after the death of her husband in all cases where there has been no prohibition by the husband. Express consent is unnecessary, it being implied from the absence of any prohibition. The whole law on the subject has been discussed and settled by their Lordships of the Privy Council in Yadao v. Namdeo (1922) I.L.R., 49 Calc., 1. I think it is unnecessary for me to go into the earlier authorities. Their Lordships of the Privy Council, after an exhaustive review of all the authorities, held that in the Mahratta country of the Bombay Presidency a Hindu widow whose husband does not expressly forbid her to adopt a son to him, has power to do so without the consent of her husband's kinsmen whether or not her husband's estate is vested in her and whether or not he died separated.
264. There was considerable discussion as to what the law was in 1674 when Veukoji migrated from the Mahratta country and settled down in Tanjore. I am of opinion that in the absence of any evidence to the contrary the law in force when Ekoji migrated in 1674 must be presumed to be the same as it was declared to be by judicial decision. In this connexion the observations of their Lordships of the Privy Council in Balwant Rao v. Baji Rao (1921) I.L.R., 48 Calc., 30 (P.C.) are important. Their Lordships at page 41. observe:
Further it must always be remembered that the commentaries are only commentaries. They do not enact; they explain and are evidence of the congeries of customs which form the law
and at page 48, their Lordships observe:
The law must be the family law as it was when they left. A judgment declaratory of law as having always been would bind; but it would be a different thing if subsequent customs became incorporated into law. The distinction is pointed out in the case of Vasudevan v. The Secretary of State for India (1888) I.L.R., 11 Mad., 157 by Sir Arthur Collins, Q.-T., and Mutttjswami Ayyak, J.
265. In Chandika Balchsh v. Muna Kunwar (1902) I.L.R., 24 All., 273 their Lordships of the Privy Council point out that, although the migration of the family took place before the Mayukha was written, it may well be that the rule was in force in earlier times and that on this point the Mayukha only embodied and defined a pre-existing custom. In Naraya-nasami v. Kuppusami (1888) I.L.R., 11 Mad., 43 Sir Arthur Collins, C.J., and Muttuswami Ayyar, J., observe:
The Mayukha, Kaustubha and other treatises of special authority in Bombay introduced a theory of implied authority (for a widow to adopt) on the ground that an adoption by a widow was a meritorious act which, unless forbidden by the husband, might be taken to have been sanctioned.
266. The law being thus settled so far as the Bombay Presidency is concerned and there being nothing to show that there was a change in the law as regards the widow's power of adoption at any time, it must be presumed that the law in force in 1674 was the same as it is at present. No useful purpose will be served by an examination of the ancient texts. I may point out in this connexion that there is nothing in Manu or Yagnavalkya prohibiting widows from adopting. The divergence between the arious schools has arisen on the interpretation of the texts of Manu and Yagnavalkya which enjoin on women dependence upon their husbands or parents or their relations. Each school, however, interprets the consequence of this dependance in a different way, and the conclusion of the leading commentators of the Bombay school is that, adoption being a meritorious act, express permission is not necessary. I may in this connexion refer to the translations of the passages in Viramitrodaya arid the Kaustubha by Mandlik in pages 463 to 467 of his book on Hindu Law.
267. As regards the objection that the escheat by the East India Company put an end to the power of adoption, I find it difficult to see how an act of State by the East India Company can put an end to the power of the widow to adopt. As pointed out by their Lordships of the Privy Council in Pratapsing Shivsing v. Agarsingji Rajasanffji (1919) I.L.R., 43 Bom., 778 (P.C.). "The right of the widow to make an adoption is not dependent on her inheriting as a Hindu female owner her husband's estate" and "she can exercise the power, so long as it is not exhausted or extinguished, even though the property is not vested in her." The argument of Mr. Raja Ayyar on behalf of the third defendant is based on the decisions of their Lordships of the Privy Council in Mussumat Bhoobun Moyee Debia v. Ram Kishore Acharj Chowdhry (1865) 10 M.LA., 379 and Padmalcumari Debi Chowdhrani v. Court of Wards (1882) I.L.K., 8 Calc., 802 and on the later oases following those decisions. In the first case it was held that an authority to adopt became incapable of execution when the estate of the person giving authority devolved by heirship on a person who became the full owner and his wife succeeded him on his death as his heir to a widow's estate. The Right Honourable Lord Kingsdown in delivering the judgment of their Lordships of the Privy Council observed:
The question is, whether the estate of his son being unlimited, and that son having married and left a widow, his heir, and that heir haying acquired a vested estate in her husband's property as his widow, a new heir can be substituted by adoption who is to defeat that estate, and take as an adopted son what a legitimate son of Gour Kishore would not have taken. This seems contrary to all reason and to all the principles of Hindu law, as far as we can collect them. It must be recollected that the adopted son, as such, takes by inheritance and not by devise. Now, the rule of Hindu Law is, that in the case of inheritance, the person to succeed must be the heir of the last full owner. In this case, Bhowanee Kishore was the last full owner, and his wife succeeds, as his heir, to a widow's estate, On her death, the person to succeed will again be the heir at that time of Bhowanee Kishore. If Bhowanee Kishore had died unmarried, his mother, Chundrabullee Debia, would have been his heir, and the question of adoption would have stood on quite different grounds. By exercising the power of adoption, she would have divested no estate but her own, and this would have brought the case within the ordinary rule but no case has been produced, no decision has been cited from, the text-books, and no principle has been stated to show that by the mere gift of a power of adoption to a widow, the estate of the heir of a deceased son vested in possession, can be defeated and divested.
268. In Padmalcumari Debi Chowdhrani T. Court of Wards (1882) I.L.R., 8 Calc., 302 a question arose as to the same estate and the question was whether it would make any difference if the estate came back to the widow making the adoption, and their Lordships of the Privy Council held that it made no difference, as the vesting of the estate in the widow of the deceased son was a proper limit to the exercise of the power given to the mother of the deceased son. In Vellanki Venlcata, Krishna Rao v. Venkata Rama Lakshmi (1876) I.L.R., 1 Mad., 174. their Lordships of the Privy Council held that a widow, having authority from her husband to adopt a son in the event of the natural-born son dying under age and unmarried, may on the happening of that event, make a valid adoption. Their Lordships of the Privy Council distinguish the Bhoobun's case Mussumat Bhoobun Moyee Debia v. Ram Kishore Acharj Ghowdhry (1865) 10 M.I.A., 279 on the ground that the adoption only divested the estate of the adoptive mother and did not divest any heir of the deceased son, and observe:
They are, therefore, of opinion that there is no ground for saying that because the estate descended to the son natural-born of the original zamindar, and the widow of the latter took it as heiress of her son and not immediately from her husband, the adoption, made by her, if otherwise valid, therefore became invalid.
269. In Thayammcd v. Venkatarama (1887) I.L.R., 10 Mad., 205 it was held that the power of a father's widow to adopt a son to him was exhausted upon" the vesting of the estate in the son's widow and that an adoption made subsequently was invalid. This case was referred to and followed by their Lordships of Privy Council in Tarachwn Chatterji v. Sureshchunder Mukerji (1890) I.L.R., 17 Calc., 122 where it was held that, though a testator had authorized his widow to make an adoption if the testator's son should die without leaving a son or daughter and although the testator's son died leaving a widow but issueless, the power to adopt was exhausted on the death of the testator's son and on the estate vesting in the son's widow.
270. The same principle has been applied to cases in Bombay where no authority is required. In Krishnarav Trimbak Hasabnis v. Shankarrav Vinayak Hasabnis (1893) I.L.R., 17 Bom., 164 it was held that an adoption made by the mother of a deceased person who succeeded to the estate after the death of her son and the son's widow is invalid as the power was exhausted and the estate descended to the son's widow and the fact that at the time of adoption her own estate was divested made no difference. Sargent, C.J., was of opinion that this was the positive result of the decision in Mussumat Bhoolun Moyee Debia v. Ram Kishore Acharj Chowdhry (1865) 10 M.I.A., 279 as explained in PadmaJcumari Deli Chowdrani v. Court of Wards (1882) I.L.R., 8 Calc., 302. In Ramkrishna v. Sham Rao (1902) I.L.R., 26 Bom., 526 it was held by a Full Bench of the Bombay High Court that the power of the mother to adopt was exhausted where her son leaves a widow or a heir. This decision has been approved of by their Lordships of the Privy Council in Mqdana Mohana Deo v. Purushotthama Deo (1918) I.L.R.,41 Mad., 855 (P.C.) Chandavarkar, J., was of opinion that the test of the principle defining the limit to the period within which an adoption may be made by a widow to her deceased husband does not depend upon the mere vesting of the estate in her at any time, and the learned Judge states that the principle to be deduced as governing the time limit can be stated in these words:
Where a Hindu dies leaving a widow and a son and that son dies leaving a natural-born or adopted son or leaving no son but his own widow to continue the line by means of adoption, the power of the former widow is extinguished and can never afterwards be revived.
271. With reference to the argument that the principle so enunciated was not in accordance with either the letter or spirit of Hindu Law as expounded in the books or by the Hindus themselves as understood, the learned Judge states that it was not open to him to go into that question as the decision of their Lordships of the Privy Council in Bhoolun Moyee's case was conclusive. The same principle was laid down by their Lordships of the Privy Council in Madana Mohana Deo v. Purushotthama Deo (1918) I.L.R., 41 Mad., 855 (P.C.)
272. In Tripuramba v. Venkataratnam (1923) I.L.R., 46 Mad., 423 it was held following Venkappa Bapu v. Jivaji Krishna (1901) I.L.R., 25 Bom., 306 and Sangapa v. Vyasapa (1896) 8 P.J. of Bom. H.C., 684 that the mere attainment of age by a son before his death would not, when he left no son or widow, put an end to the power of the mother to adopt.
273. In all these cases a time limit was fixed for the exercise of the authority conferred on the widow to make the adoption. There is nothing in any of the Smritis or texts which lays down any limit and the principle enunciated by their Lordships of the Privy Council has reference more to general considerations of expediency than to any known principles of Hindu Law. The motive for adoption in Hindus is the perpetuation of the lineage and the performance of the rites prescribed to ensure salvation. I have referred to the above cases as it was argued that they support the view that the power is incapable of execution in all cases where the estate is for any reason in the hands of a third person and could not be recovered by the widow. I find no such doctrine enunciated. All the cases refer to succession and in all the cases the person sought to be divested was in a position to confer spiritual benefit as in every case the sradhs performed will when oblations are offered include the father and grandfather of the person who conferred power to adopt or to whom the adoption is sought to be made. There seems to be absolutely no ground for extending the principle enunciated in the above cases of the Privy Council to cases where the property of the last holder is lost to the family by adverse possession, escheat or in any other manner. Supposing at the date of adoption all the property left by the husband has been in the possession of a third person who could successfully plead adverse possession or is taken away to a place where the Indian Courts would have no jurisdiction, can it be said that the widow has no power to adopt a son to her husband and thus deprive the husband of the spiritual benefits that would arise from adoption? The whole principle underlying the rule as to divesting estates is that a superior title as heir cannot be created by a widow, while the property has already vested in a person who in law has taken the estate from the deceased heir of the last male holder. In the present case there is the additional fact that the confiscation was after the death of the Raja and there was an interval during which the property vested in the widow.
274. The act of the East India Company was, as held by their Lordships of the Privy Council, unjustifiable under any municipal law but was an act of State. They were taking steps to get the property back by petitions to the authorities, and eventually succeeded in doing so before they made the adoption. The mere deprivation of the widows by an act of State would not amount to a vesting of the property by succession in a person, who in law has title to the property, and the regrant of the property would in any event restore the power to adopt in the grantee. The Grovernment never claimed that the act of State put an end to the power of adoption nor did they prohibit the adoption when they restored the property or were informed of the adoption. I am of opinion that the adoption is not invalid because of the confiscation of the Tanjore Raj.
275. The plea as to the right of the first and second defendants being barred by limitation is based on the Limitation Act of 1871. I agree with the Subordinate Judge in holding that the claim of the first and second defendants is not barred. Their father Rajaram Ingle was adopted on the 1st of July 1863. I have already referred to the agreement, Exhibit A-58 (a), dated the 15th of September 1862, between Kamakshi Bai Saheba and the other Eanis as regards the enjoyment of the properties which were restored by the Government under the grant, Exhibit A-46. Disputes arose between Kamakshi Bai Saheba and ten other Ranis as Kamakshi Bai Saheba did not give them any portion of the income from the properties made over by the Government. Suit No. 16 of 1866 was filed in the District Court of Tanjore by Jijamba Bai Saheba and Aparupamba Bai Saheba, two of the Ranis, against Kamakshi Bai Saheba and twelve other Ranis and against the adopted son who was impleaded as the fourteenth defendant in that suit. The plaintiffs alleged that the adoption was invalid and the first prayer was for a partition and delivery to them of their shares in the estate granted by the Government and "declaring that the fourteenth defendant's adoption is invalid because it was not duly made and is illegal." It appears from the judgment of Mr. Davidson (Exhibit C-22) that defendants Nos. 6, 8 and 9 supported the plaintiff's allegations. The first defendant supported the fourteenth defendant, the adopted son, whose written statement is filed as Exhibit A-147. The District Judge did not take any evidence. He held, without deciding the validity of the adoption, that the plaintiffs were entitled to share in the income of the properties granted by Government in 1862 by Exhibit A-46 and decreed the appointment of a Receiver to take possession of and manage the properties. Two appeals were filed, one by Kamaskhi Bai Saheba, the first defendant, and the other by Jijamba Bai Saheba, the first plaintiff. The decision of the Appellate Court is reported in Jijoyiamba BayiSaiba v. Kamaksi Bayi Saiba (1868) 3 M.H.C.R., 424 which I have already referred to. The High Court declined to make any adjudication as regards the validity of the adoption on the ground that the adopted son could not divest the widows who were donees under the Government grant Exhibit A-46. The learned Judges observe:
whether as adopted son he may become entitled to claim under and by virtue of the transfer is not a question on which we need or can properly say anything in this suit.
276. It appears from the evidence that on the 1st of January 1864 Rajaram Ingle was placed in possession of the estate and continued to be in possession till the 25th of November 1866 when the Receiver appointed by the District Court took possession of the estate (see Exhibits A-81, A-82, A-415 to A-121 and paragraphs 154 and 395 to 402 of the judgment of the Subordinate Judge). After the disposal of the suit by the High Court and a few years after the Receiver took possession, all the Ranis including those who in the litigation of 1866 denied his right became reconciled to Rajaram. He performed the funeral ceremonies of Girijamba Bai who died in 1874, and got the properties of the Ranis. It appears from Exhibit A -243, dated the 13th of February 1877, that twelve of the Ranis requested the Receiver to pay the adopted son Rs. 1,500 every month, out of the estate and also to give him Rs. 2,220 and 480 kalams of paddy every year for meeting the expenses of the funeral ceremonies. Exhibit A-277 is a telegram, dated the 30th of December 1876, sent to the Governor of Madras by twelve of the Ranis who were then living, acknowledging the right of the adopted son and requesting that he should be placed on the Masnud of Tanjore. The adopted son was married on the 1st of June 1883 and each of the Ranis contributed Rs. 2,000 towards the expenses of the marriage (see Exhibits A-240 A-241 and A-257). The evidence shows that from at least 1874 all the Ranis, including those who objected to the validity of the adoption in 1866, acknowledged the validity of tho adoption.
277. It is contended by Mr. Raja Ayyar for the third defendant that the claim of the adopted son is barred under Article 129 of the Limitation Act of 1871. This article prescribed a period of twelve years for suits to establish or set aside an adoption--the starting period being the date of the adoption or, at the option of the plaintiff, the date of the death of the adoptive father. It is contended that the claim of defendants Nos. 1 and 2 became barred as the adoption was denied in Suit No. 16 of 1866 and they ought to have filed the suit within twelve years from the date of adoption. Before dealing with this argument, I may point out that High Court in the decision on appeal Jijoyiamba Bayi Saiba v. Kamakshi Bayi Saiba (1868) 3 M.H.C.R., 424 to which the adopted son and all the widows were parties, expressly refused to adjudicate on the validity or invalidity of the adoption. The factum of adoption was not disputed by anybody. The only objection was to its validity. If Rajaram Ingle did not file a suit to establish his adoption, none of the parties who objected to the validity of the adoption filed suits cither. The present is an inter-pleader suit and each of the contesting defendants attacks the title of the other, so that each is virtually in the position of a plaintiff. If the adopted son had to file a suit within twelve years under the Act of 1871, it was equally incumbent on those who disputed his adoption to have filed suits to set aside the adoption or declare the adoption invalid, and if the first and second defendants are barred from maintaining the validity of the adoption so would the other claimants of the estate also be barred from wanting a declaration that the adoption is invalid. There is again the fact that the Ranis who objected to the adoption on the ground of its invalidity subsequently admitted the title of the adopted son, paid him till his death a portion of the income from the property, got his marriage performed and after his death were supporting and treating his sons, the first and second defendants, as their grand-children. It is difficult to see what necessity there was for the adopted son to file a suit for a declaration of his title when before the expiry of twelve years his title was admitted by those who contested it. Again, the possession which was taken by the Receiver was taken in pursuance of the decree of the High Court which only decided that the adopted son had no present right to possession. Under the grant, Exhibit A-46, the widows were entitled to be in possession during their lifetime, and the daughter was entitled if she survived them. On the death of the last surviving widow and if the daughter predeceased her, succession would have to be traced to the heirs of the Raja. I think the possession of the Receiver must be deemed to be possession for the Ranis and on their death, possession for such person as may be proved to be the nearest heir of the Raja. I find it difficult to see what suit Rajaram Ingle could have filed in 1866. The decision in Jijoyiamba Sayi Saiba v. Kamakshi Bayi Saiba (1868) 3 M.H.C.R., 424 was to the effect that the case of the adopted son would only arise for consideration when the time came after the death of all the widows, and that he could only claim under the terms of the grant, Exhibit A-46, any claim as heir under Hindu Law to the late Raja being untenable owing to the act of the Bast India Company declaring the Raj extinct and taking possession. A suit filed by him for a declaration that he is under the terms of the grant entitled to succeed to the properties as adopted son on the death of all the widows and on the contingency of the daughter of the Raja predeceasing them would, I think, be dismissed on the ground that no Court will grant a declaration of a bare possibility which may or may not ripen. It is also difficult to see how in the face of the decision of the High Court that it was unnecessary to decide on the validity of the adoption, a suit by the adopted son against the widows who denied his adoption would lie. They were all parties to the suit which terminated in the decree reported in Jijoyiamba Bayi Saiba v. Kamakshi Bayi Saiba (1868) 3 M.H.C.R., 424 and were bound by it.
278. I do not think it was open to the adopted son after the decision in Jijoyiamba Bayi Saiba v. Kamakshi Bayi Saiba (1868) 3 M.H.C.R., 424 to sue for a bare declaration. Section 42 of the Specific Relief Act was not enacted till 1877 and we have to see whether under Section 15 of the Civil Procedure Code of 1859 he could have filed a suit. As pointed out in Kathama Natchiar v. Dorasinga Tevar (1875) 2, I.A., 169 this section has to be construed with reference to the principles upon which the Court of Chancery proceeds with such slight modifications as the conditions in India may require. Their Lordships observe:
It appears to their Lordships that the construction which must be placed upon the clause in question is that a declaratory decree cannot be made unless there be a right to consequential relief capable of being had in the same Court or in certain cases in some other Court.
279. I may also refer to Bright v. Tyndall (1876) 4. Oh. D., 189 where the distinction is pointed out between an interest that has arisen and is represented, and an interest that has not arisen, and that never may arise, but with regard to which there is a remote possibility that the event which has not occurred, and upon which it is made to hang, may hereafter occur.
280. Sir Richard Malins, V.C., observed:
The latter is not an interest--it is not a right--it is nothing more than a bare expectation of a future right.
281. Under the decision in Jijoyiamba Bayi Saiba v. Kamalcshi Bayi Saiba (1868) 3, M.H.C.R.,424 the adopted son had only a chance of succession if he survived the widows and the daughter predeceased them. This is clearly only a chance.
282. Articles 118 and 119 of the Act of 1877 took the place of article 129 of the Act of 1871. Article 118 applied to suits to obtain a declaration that an alleged adoption is invalid, or never, in fact, took place, and article 119 applied to suits to obtain a declaration that an adoption is valid. The period of limitation prescribed in each of these articles was six years, the starting point as regards article 118 being when the alleged adoption became known to the plaintiff and that as regards article 119 being when the rights of the adopted son, as such, were interfered with. The decisions of their Lordships of the Privy Council in Tirlhuwan Hahadur Singh v. Rameshar Bakhsh Singh (1906) I.L.R., 28 All., 727 and Muhammad Umar Khan v. Muhammad Niaz-ud-din Khan (1912) I.L,R. 39, Calc., 418 (P.C.) are clear authorities for the view taken by the Madras High Court that the Act of 1877 applies only to declaratory suits in respect of adoptions and not to suits for possession of immovable property. This is the view taken by all the High Courts and the recent Full Bench decision of the Bombay High Court in Doddawa v. Yellawa (1922) I.L.R.,46 Bom., 776 (F.B.) brings the High Court of Bombay on a line with the other High Courts as regards the construction of M the Act. It is therefore unnecessary to consider any denials of the adopted son's title subsequent to the year 1877 when the Limitation Act of 1877 made a difference in the law of limitation applicable.
283. I am of opinion that the claim of defendants Nos. I and 2 is not barred.
284. As regards the objection that the existence of the Mangala Vilas sons of Sivaji precluded the adoption, it is unnecessary to consider the objection in detail as I am of opinion that the Mangala Vilas sons are illegitimate sons and it is conceded by all parties that the existence of illegitimate sons is no bar to an adoption Even assuming that a sword marriage is a lawful form of marriage, and that the sons are legitimate though inferior sons, the inferiority which the Subordinate Judge points out and which affects the right to perform funeral ceremonies, etc., in myopinion, does not prevent an adoption. The texts as to a sonless man adopting, in my opinion, mean a man who has no son capable of performing the necessary ceremonies prescribed by Hindu sastras for the welfare of the adopting father's soul and his salvation. In fact D.W. 82 called by defendants Nos. 4 to 11, as pointed out by the Subordinate Judge, admits that the existence of sword wife's sons does not preclude an adoption.
285. The next question is as regards the adoption of the third defendant. The third defendant claims as the grandson of the second daughter of Sivaji. His case is that the second Princess and her husband Sakharam Sahib adopted Sambu Singh. The Princess died before her adopted son, Sambu Singh, and the case for the third defendant is that Sambu Singh adopted the third defendant on the night of the 3rd March 1891. The adoption of Sambu Singh by Sakharam Saheb is not disputed before us. Mr. Muttukrishna Ayyar for the twenty-third defendant, however, denied the factum and validity of the adoption of the third defendant. The Subordinate Judge deals with this question in paragraphs 1773 to 1850 of his judgment and finds in favour of the third defendant. I do not think there is any reason to differ from the Subordinate Judge who has gone into the evidence and exhibits very fully. [Then his Lordship discussed the evidence as to whether the adoptive father had severe fever and was unconscious on the day of the alleged adoption and proceeded as follows:--]
286. Exhibits B-129 to B-139 are letters ranging from the 17th of November 1903 to 1905 written by the adoptive mother which show that she recognized the third defendant as her adopted son.
287. The oral evidence as regards the adoption shows beyond all doubt that the ceremony of adoption was gone through. [Here His Lordship discussed the oral evidence on the point and proceeded as follows:--] I may state in this connexion that the twenty-third defendant who is the legal representative of the seventeenth defendant called no evidence and did not even cross-examine the witnesses called by the third defendant to prove his adoption. The fact that his adoption was upheld in three previous suits where it was questioned, that for twenty-five years and until the date of the present suit the adopted son was recognized as such by all the relations, that he was in possession of his adoptive father's property and that he was cut off from any share in his natural family are circumstances which cannot be easily ignored when we have to determine the state of mind of Sambu Singh when he made the adoption long before the suit and we have to estimate the value of the evidence given in support of the adoption. The Subordinate Judge has believed the evidence in favour of the adoption and I do not think that the considerations urged by Mr. Muttukrishna Ayyar are sufficiently strong to enable me to reverse the decision of the Subordinate Judge on this point.
288. I hold that the third defendant was validly adopted by Sambu Singh.
289. The question, however, arises as to whether, assuming the adoption to be proved, the third defendant is the nearer heir. I think the Subordinate Judge is in error in thinking that the third defendant is a remoter heir. It is clear that under Hindu Law the daughter's son's son is the nearer bandhu to the father's sister's son's son. I need only refer to Mayne on Hindu Law and the table of bandhus given at page 637 of Sarvadhikari's Hindu Law. This is conceded by Mr. Muttukrishna Ayyar who appears for the twenty-third defendant. I hold that the third defendant is the nearer bandhu than the twenty-third defendant.
290. The next point for determination is the heirship of the fourteenth defendant who claims descent from the Satara branch of Sivaji's family. The Subordinate Judge is of opinion that the fourteenth defendant is not an agnate because in his view Ram Raja who succeeded Sahu who died in 1750 was not related to Sahu, but was an impostor. I find it difficult to agree with the Subordinate Judge. All histories agree that Ram Raja succeeded Sahu on the throne in 1750 and died as king and that his descendants were kings until the last of them was deposed by the British Government. The whole question turns upon whether Ram Raja was an impostor or the son of Rajaram's brother. In this connexion a short statement of facts which followed the death of Sivaji is necessary. [Here his Lordship dealt with the facts and proceeded as follows:--] I do not hink that Exhibit G-89 shows that Ram Raja was an impostor. As I am of opinion that Ram Raja was related to the family of Sivaji, it is unnecessary to consider whether he was adopted by Sahu, because it is conceded by Mr. Varadachari who argued the case against the fourteenth defendant that, adoption or no adoption, if Ram Raja was the grandson of Rajaram, the younger son of Sivaji the Great, he would be an agnate, and if there is no other impediment, he would be in the line of heirs to the Tanjore Raj.
291. It has been argued by Mr. Varadachari that the grandfather of the fourteenth defendant Shahji alias Appa Saheb who was the last king of Satara and who was deposed and sent to Benares, adopted a son Venkoji, that on the death of Appa Saheb, the State was annexed by the Government and Venkoji was given some property and that as Venkoji was suspected of complicity in the Great Indian Mutiny he was sent as a prisoner to Benares. He married and had a daughter. His wife and daughter predeceased him. Venkoji died in 1864. On his death, Ayi Saheb, the wife of Appa Saheb, the last king, adopted in 1865 Rajaram, the father of the fourteenth defendant. It is contended that Ayi Saheb had no power to adopt as the adopted son Venkoji had attained majority, and reliance is placed on Bhoobun Moyee's case (1865) 10. M.I.A., 279 and the other decisions which I have already referred to. The contention in the lower Court was that as Pratap Singh, his adopted son Jangley Raja, and Pratap Singh's brother Sahu were undivided, the adoption by Ayi Saheb of Rajaram, the father of the fourteenth defendant, without the consent of Jangley Raja was invalid. But having regard to the decision of their Lordships of the Privy Council in Yadao v. Namdeo (1922) I.L.R., 49 Calc., 1 which I have already referred to, this contention can no longer bo advanced. As regards the existence of Venkoji being a bar to the adoption of Rajaram, the father of the fourteenth defendant, Venkoji had no male issue. His wife and daughter predeceased him and I do not think there is any legal bar to the widow adopting after Venkoji's death. In Tripummba v. Venkataratnam (1923) I.L.R., 46 Mad., 423 it has been held by the Chief Justice and Wallace, J., that an adoption under such circumstances would be valid. I agree with my learned brother in holding that the fourteenth defendant has proved his relationship to Sivaji the Great, and that he would be an agnatic descendant of Sivaji the Great.
292. The next point is as regards the heirship of the twenty-fourth defendant. The Subordinate Judge has held that he is a descendant of Sambajee the brother of Sivaji the Great and that he is a nearer heir than the fifteenth defendant the Raja of Kolhapur. If the relationship which he claims is proved, there can be little doubt that he would be the nearer heir. The contention of Mr. Grant who appears for the Raja of Kolhapur is that the twenty-fourth defendant is not an agnate at all and that he has no connexion with the family of Sivaji. The case for the twenty-fourth defendant is that he is the descendant of Sivaji the Great's elder brother Sambaji. History records that Sambaji died in battle near Kanakgiri in his father Shahaji's lifetime.
293. [Here his Lordship discussed the documentary evidence on the point and proceeded as follows:--] I do not think that there are sufficient grounds to differ from the Subordinate Judge who has held that the twenty-fourth defendant has proved his descent from Sambajee the brother of Sivaji the Great.
294. The last question for determination is as to the shares of the first and second , defendants on one side and defendants Nos. 4 to 11 on the other. Defendants Nos. 4. to 11 by their vakils agree that their share should be per stirpes and consequently we can treat defendants Nos. 1 and 2 as one unit and defendants Nos. 4 to 11 as another. Defendants Nos. 4 and 5 are the illegitimate sons of the Raja. The sixth defendant is a grandson of the late Raja whose father died in 1901. The seventh defendant is another grandson whose father died on the 25th of February 1877. The eighth and ninth defendants are grandsons whose father died on the 20th of February 1912. The tenth and eleventh defendants are grandsons whose father died in 1891. Succession opened on the date of the death of the last widow.
295. The doctrine of representation would apply to illegitimate sons [see Ramalinga Muppan v. Pavadai Goundan (1902) I.L.R., 25 Mad., 519 at pages 522 and 524]. It follows from my findings that the first and second defendants who are the sons of Rajaram Ingle, the adopted son, and defendants Nos. 4 to 11 who represent the Mangala Vilas branch, will be entitled to the properties in dispute. It was agreed both at the trial in the lower Court and before us here in appeal that whatever shares the Mangala Vilas branch got should be divided per stirpes among that branch.
296. It has now been settled by their Lordships of the Privy' Council in Kamulammal v. Visvanathaswami Naicker (1923) I.L.R., 46 Mad., 167 (P.C.) that the half-share which, under Mitakshara, Chapter I, Section 12, an illegitimate son of Sudra takes in the estate of his deceased father is half of that which he would have taken had he been legitimate, not a half-share which the other participants take. Applying this principle, the first and second defendants will be entitled to four-sevenths and defendants Nos. 4 to 11 to three-sevenths, this three-sevenths being divided between them per stirpes. The decision of the Subordinate Judge as regards the shares which was passed before the ruling of their Lordships of the Privy Council referred to above and which proceeded on the view that we must take one legitimate son as being equal to two illegitimate sons cannot now be supported.
297. Mr. Alladi Krishnaswami Ayyar for defendants Nos. 4 to 11 raised a very ingenious contention that according to the decision of the Privy Council in estimating the shares we must imagine that illegitimate sons are legitimate, see what their shares will be on that footing and then divide it by half; so that if there is one legitimate and one illegitimate son, we must proceed on the footing that there are two legitimate sons each of them getting one-half and then we must see that illegitimate son gets one-half of that half or one-fourbh; that if there is an illegitimate son and a widow, the illegitimate son must be treated as legitimate and he would exclude the widow and get the whole and by applying the rule above referred to he would get one-half of the whole and the widow would get the other half. He states that in cases of competition between an illegitimate son and an adopted son, it will, for the purposes of his argument, make no difference, if the adoption is before or after the birth of the illegitimate son. Applying that principle, he says that, if we assume that the illegitimate sons are legitimate, the adopted son would get nothing because there could be no adoption made when there are legitimate sons ; so that the illegitimate sons would get the whole; and applying the rule, the illegitimate sons would get one-half and the legitimate sons would get the remaining half.
298. I am unable to appreciate this argument and I think it by no means follows from the observations of their Lordships of the Privy Council. It has been held in more than one case that the adopted son is similar in all respects to the natural son and I need only refer to Pratapsingh Shivsingh v. Agarsingji Rajasingji (1919) I.L.R., 43 Bom., 778 P.C. where their Lordships of the Privy Council held that the rights of the adopted son, unless curtailed by express texts, are in every respect the same as those of a natural-born son and that an adoption, so far as the continuity of the line of inheritance is concerned, has a retrospective effect. In Arumilli Perrazu v. Subbarayadu (1921) I.L.R., 44 Mad., 656 their Lordships of the Privy Council held that in the case of Sudras in the Madras Presidency an adopted son on partition of the family property, shares equally with a son or sons of the adoptive father born after the adoption. In cases of competition between an adopted son and an illegitimate son of a Sudra, ib would be unreasonable and against all precedents in computing the shares to treat the illegitimate sons as legitimate, presume that the adoption was after the birth of the illegitimate son, add to it the consequence that the adoption is invalid and hold that the illegitimate son could therefore get the whole property and then it should be divided by half so as to give the illegitimate son and the adopted son equal shares. I think the proper course is to assume the adopted son to be in the same position as a natural-born son, imagine the illegitimate sons to be legitimate, assume that they can co-exist with the legitimate sons, see what shares they would get on that footing, and give the illegitimate sons one-half of it. In this view the illegitimate sons would get three-sevenths and the first and second defendants as representing the adopted son would get four-sevenths.
299. In the result the decree of the Subordinate Judge will be modified by declaring that the first and second defendants are entitled to four-sevenths' share and defendants Nos. 4 to 11 between them are entitled to three-sevenths' share which should be divided between them per stirpes. There will be a decree for partition on the above lines. So far as the other defendants are , concerned, it follows from my findings that they have no right to any share in the properties in dispute.
300. I agree with the learned Chief Justice in expressing our indebtedness to the gentlemen who represented the various parties, and cordially endorse his remarks.
301. Appeals Nos. 199, 200, 201 and 248 will be dismissed. As regards Appeals Nos. 333 and 334 the decree of the Subordinate Judge will be modified as stated above and the memorandum of the objections, except those of the second defendant, will be dismissed--those of the second defendant follow the result of Appeals Nos. 333 and 334.
302. I agree with the Chief Justice as to costs.