08 July 1996
Supreme Court


Bench: AGRAWAL,S.C. (J)
Case number: C.A. No.-009062-009062 / 1996
Diary number: 11192 / 1994






DATE OF JUDGMENT:       08/07/1996


CITATION:  1996 SCC  (5) 201        JT 1996 (6)   607  1996 SCALE  (5)308



JUDGMENT:                       J U D G M E N T S.C. AGRAWAL  J. :-      Special leave granted.      This appeal  by the  plaintiff arises  out  of  a  suit wherein the  appellant claimed  1/5 share  of  her  deceased husband in the properties left by her father-in-law, Dr. N.S Nanjundiah, on the basis of a Will executed by Dr.Nanjundiah on March  13, 1935. The said suit was decreed in full by the trial court. But on appeal, the Karnataka High Court, by the judgment dated  April 15,  1994,  has  set  aside  the  said judgment  of  the  trial  court  in  respect  of  properties mentioned in Schedules "A", "B" and "D" to the said Will and has confined  the decree to properties mentioned in Schedule "C" to  the Will.  The questions that fall for consideration in this appeal relate to construction of the Will.      Dr. N.S.  Nanjundiah (hereinafter  referred to  as ’the testator’) died  on July  28, 1938  leaving behind  his wife Smt. Nadiga  Nanjamma and  five sons, namely, B.N. Subba Rao B.N. Shankar Rao, B.N. Visweswaraiah, B.N. Rama Rao and B.N. Ganesh. The appellant is the wife of b.N. Subba Rao who died on February  21, 1954 without leaving any issue. Smt. Nadiga Nanjamma died  on March  28, 1959.  After the  death of Smt. Nadiga Nanjamma, the appellant filed the suit giving rise to this appeal.      As indicated  earlier, in the Will dated March 13, 1935 the immovable  and moveable  properties of the testator were specified in four groups specified in Schedules "A", "B","C" and "D"  attached with  the Will.  Schedule "A"  consists of four items  of immovable properties. Item No. 1 is house No. 318, 3rd  Road, Margosa  Avenue, Malleswaram  City and items Nos. 2,  3  and  4  are  agricultural  lands.  Schedule  "B" consists of  shares and  securities standing  in the name of Smt.  Nadiga  Nanjamma.  Schedule  "C"  consists  of  thrift deposit accounts  in the  Bank of Mysore Limited standing An the names  of  five  sons  of  the  testator.  Schedule  "D"



consists of  shares and  securities and  fixed  deposits  in banks. The  relevant parts  of the  Will dated | - March 13, 1935 are set out as under :-      "During my  life time  I will be An      charge  and   management  of     my      properties. After  my life time, if      my  wife   Nadiga  Nanjamma  should      survive me,  she  the  said  Nadiga      Nanjamma shall  be  in  charge  and      management  of  all  my  properties      given in  Schedule A,  B, C  and  D      together with  their accretions and      together   with    my    properties      acquired by  me in Future. My wife,      the above mentioned Nadiga Nanjamma      will have  no power  to dispose  of      any of  these properties  mentioned      in Schedules  A, B,  C,  and  D  by      sale,  gift,   will,  mortgage   or      hypothecation. She  the said Nadiga      Nanjamma is  entitled to  take  the      produce of the lands mentioned in A      Schedule and  use the  same for the      maintenance  of   herself  and  her      children.  She   the  said   Nadiga      Nanjamma also  entitled to  use the      interest dividends  and incomes  of      the properties mentioned in B and D      Schedules for the same purpose.           With regard to the house (Item      no. 1  of the  A Schedule) my wife,      the abovenamed  Nadiga Nanjanma and      her children  are entitled  to live      in that  house during the life time      of my  wife,  and  the  said  house      should not be partitioned during my      wife, Nadiga Nanjamma’s life time.           Mr. C.  Nagappa, B.A., L.L.B.,      Advocate,  Lakshmi  Vilas  Agrahar,      Mysore, one  of the  Executors  and      Trustees of  this Will, shall be in      possession of the lands viz., items      Nos. 2,  3 and 4 of the A Schedule,      during     the   minority   of   my      children. The  above mentioned  Mr.      C. Nagappa  shall make arrangements      for the  cultivation  of  the  said      lands,  for   the   collection   of      produce therefrom,  for the payment      of Kandayam  over same  and for the      delivery of  all produce  from  the      lands  to   my  wife,   the   above      mentioned Nadiga  Nanjamma and  her      children.           The  properties  mentioned  in      the B Schedule stand in the name of      my  wife,   the  abovesaid   Nadiga      Nanjamma.  The  income  from  these      properties, as  stated above, shall      be  used   for   the   maintenance,      education Upanayanam  and  marriage      of  my   children,   during   their      minority. After  my sons attain the      age of  majority, the  income  from      the properties  mentioned in  the B



    Schedule only  shall be  used by my      wife,   the    abovenamed    Nadiga      Nanjamma, for  her own  maintenance      if she  lives separate  from any of      major sons.  The properties  of the      said B  Schedule shall be liable to      partition after  the demise  of  my      wife,   the    abovenamed    Nadiga      Nanjamma,   among   her   surviving      children.           With regard  to the properties      given in  the C  Schedule, that is,      thrift  deposits  at  the  Bank  of      Mysore, Bangalore  City, they shall      be  the  property  of  each  of  my      children on  whose respective names      those  deposits   have  been  made,      after  they  attain  their  age  of      majority.  Where   Upanayanams  and      marriages are  to be  performed for      my children,  if  the  income  from      other sources  of my  property  are      found  insufficient   to  meet  the      expenses, my  wife  the  abovenamed      Nadiga  Nanjamma   is  entitled  to      withdraw   from    the   respective      deposits not more than rupees three      hundred only,  (Rs. 300/-) for each      Upanayanam and not more than Rupees      five hundred  only (Rs. 500/-) (for      each marriage), during the minority      of my children.           With regard  to the properties      mentioAed in B and D Schedules, the      investments,  that  is,  stock  and      shares, may  have to  be altered in      some cases  either by conversion or      by investment  and for  the payment      of further  calls on  some  of  the      shares;  my   wife  the  abovenamed      Nadiga Nanjamma is entitled only to      transact    the    operations    of      conversion encasement or payment of      further calls  on  shares,  as  the      case may be, and she the abovenamed      Nadiga Nanjamma  has also powers to      reinvest  the   same  in   suitable      securities, when necessary, through      the     Bank  of   Mysore  Limited,      Bangalore City  but the  corpus  in      each case  shall  remain  in  tact.      Only  the   interest,  dividend  or      other incomes  of the  above shares      etc. might  be used  by my wife for      the maintenance  of herself and her      children as stated above.           After any  of my  sons  attain      the age  of  majority  if  he,  the      major son, demands partition during      the life  time of my wife, the said      Nadiga Nanjamma,  he is entitled to      get  for   his  share   the  thrift      deposit  in   the  Bank  of  Mysore      Limited, Bangalore  City,  standing      in  his  name  as  mentioned  in  C



    Schedule,  and   also  to  get  his      portion in  items 2, 3 and 4 of the      A Schedule  and his  portion  in  D      Schedule Of  properties,  with  the      exception of  item 1 of A Schedule,      the  partition   being   determined      according to  the prevailing  Hindu      Law in  force at  that time.  After      the life time of both myself and my      wife, the said Nadiga Nanjamma, all      the properties  mentioned in  A,  B      and D  Schedules shall  be  divided      equally    among    my    surviving      children."      At the  time when  the said  Will was  executed all the five sons  of the  testator were  minors and the eldest son, B.N. Subba  Rao, the  husband of  the appellant, was aged 12 years. It  appears that  there was  considerable  difference between the age of the testator and his wife. At the time of execution of  the Will, the testator was aged about 53 years while his  wife. Smt. Nadiga Nanjamma, was aged 28 years. In the Will the testator made the following provision regarding guardianship of the minor sons :      "If some  of my  sons happen  to be      still minors  at the  time of  tile      demise of  myself and  my wife, the      said Nadiga Nanjamma, my major sons      shall be the guardians and Managers      of  the  minor  sons’  persons  and      properties.   If   all   my   sons,      however, happened  to be  minors at      the demise  of myself  and my wife,      the abovenamed  Nadiga Nanjamma,  I      appoint the  following gentlemen as      Guardians  during   my   children’s      minority :      (1) Mr.  C. Nagappa,  C.A., L.L.B.,      Advocate,  Lakshmi  Vilas  Agrahar,      Mysore      (2) Mr. B. Srikanta Rao, No. 9, 3rd      Road, Cham-rajpet Bangalore City.      (3)  Mr.  B.  Ramaswariah,  Retired      School Master,  No.  2,  Sunkalpet,      Bangalore City.      (4)   Mr.    M.B.   Varadarajengar,      Advocate,   Sultanpet,    Bangalore      City, and      (5)  Mr.  B.R.  Subba  Rao,  Tutor,      University College, residing at No.      1493,   Kothwal   Ramanna   Street,      Mysore."      The case of the appellant is that the respective shares in the various properties of the testator vested in the five sons of  the testator  as per  the Will, on the death of the testator and that after the death of her husband, B.N. Subba Rao,  the   appellant  is  entitled  to  the  share  in  the properties that  had vested  in him  prior to  his death  in accordance with  the Will. The trial court, namely, the XVII Additional City Civil Judge, Bangalore City, by his judgment dated February  4, 1985,  accepted  the  said  plea  of  the appellant and  held that  the succession opened on the death of the  testator by  virtue of  which all  the sons  of  the testator became  entitled to  equal shares in the properties and the  recital in  the Will that the partition should take place amongst the surviving children after the death of Smt.



Nadiga Nanjamma  is really intended to refer to the children surviving the testator. The said view of the trial court has been reversed  by the  High Court  in appeal by the impugned judgment. The  High Court  has held  that right was given to the children  surviviny the  testator  to  demand  partition after the  death of  the testator  subject to the conditions imposed in the Will and in the absence of such a demands the division was  to take  place after  the death of Smt. Nadiga Nanjamma among  the children surviving Smt. Nadiga Nanjamma. The High  Court further  held  that  since  after  attaining majority B.N.  Subba Rao did not demand partition during his life and  Smt.  Nadiga  Nanjamna  continued  to  manage  the properties during her life time and since B.N. Subba Rao had already expired when Smt. Nadiga Nanjamma died, it could not be held that B.N. Subba Rao had a right title or interest in the properties  except to  demand  partition  by  metes  and bounds which specified event did not happen during life time of Smt.  Nadiga Nanjamma.  On that  view the High Court held that the  appellant could  not claim any right in respect of properties specified  in Schedules "A", "B" and "D", but she was held  entitled to her husband’s interest in Schedule "C" properties.      In view  of the  said decision  of the High Court it is necessary to  determine the  date when  the bequest  made in favour of  the sons of the testator under the Will vested in the legatees. If it is found that the legacy vested in the legatees on the death of the testator, the appellant) as the legal representative of one of the legatees who died after the death of the testator, would be entitled to claim the interest of her deceased husband as per the said bequest. But if it is found that the bequest was to vest in the lega- tees only  after the  death of  Smt.  Nadiga  Nanjamma,  the appellant would  not  be  entitled  to  claim  any  interest because her husband had pre-deceased Smt. Nadiga Nanjamma.       For  the purpose of determining the date of vesting of the interest  in the bequest it is necessary to hear in mind the distinction  between a  vested interest and a contingent interest. An  interest is  said to be a vested interest when thee is  immediate right  of present  enjoyment or a present right for  future enjoyment.  An  interest  is  said  to  be contingent if  the right of enjoyment is made dependent upon some event. or condition which may or may not happen. On the happening of  the event  or condition  a contingent interest becomes a  vested interest. The Transfer of Property 1882 as well as  The Indian  Succession  Act,  1925  recognise  this distinction between  a  vested  interest  and  a  contingent interest. Vested  interest has  been thus defined in Section 19 of The Transfer of Property Act, 1882 :      "Section 19.  Where, on  a transfer      of property, an interest therein is      created  in   favour  of  a  person      without specifying the time when it      is to  take  effect,  or  in  terms      specifying  that   it  is  to  take      effect   forthwith    or   on   the      happening of  an event  which  must      happen, such  interest  is  vested,      unless a contrary intention appears      from the  terms  of  the  A  vested      interest is  not  defeated  by  the      death of  the transferee  before he      obtains possession.      Explanation.- An  intention that an      interest shall  not  be  vested  is      not.  to   be   inferred   from   a



    provision  whereby   the  enjoyment      thereof is  postponed, or whereby a      prior interest in the same property      is given  or reserved to some other      person, or  whereby income  arising      from the property is directed to be      accumulated  until   the  time   of      enjoyment   arrives   or   from   a      provision  that   if  a  particular      event  shall  happen  the  interest      shall pass to another person."      Contingent interest  is defined  in Section  21 of  the said Act in the following terms :      "Section 21,  Where, on  a transfer      of property, an interest therein is      created in  favour of  a person  to      take effect  only on  the happening      of a  specified uncertain event, of      if  a   specified  uncertain  event      shall  not   happen,  such   person      thereby   acquires   a   contingent      interest  in   the  property.  Such      interest becomes a vested interest,      in  the   former   case,   on   the      happening  of  the  event,  in  the      latter, when  the happening  of the      event becomes impossible.      Exception,--Where, under a transfer      of  property,   a  person   becomes      entitled  to  an  interest  therein      upon attaining  a  particular  age,      and the  transferor also  gives  to      him absolutely  the income to arise      from  such   interest   before   he      reaches that  age, or  directs  the      income or so much thereof as may be      necessary to  be  applied  for  his      benefit,  such   interest  is   not      contingent."      In the Indian Succession Act provision with regard to date of vesting of a legacy when payment or possession is postponed is contained in Section 119 which provides as       "Section  119. Date  of vesting of      legacy when  payment or  possession      postponed.-- Where by term terms of      a  bequest   the  legatee   is  not      entitled to immediate possession of      the thing  bequeathed, a  right  to      receive  it   at  the  proper  time      shall, unless  a contrary intention      appears by  the will, become vested      in the  legatee on  the  testator’s      death,  and   shall  pass   to  the      legatees’s  representatives  if  he      dies before  that time  and without      having received  the legacy, and in      such cases  the legacy  is from the      testator’s death  said to be vested      in interest.      Explanation: An  intention  that  a      legacy  to  any  person  shall  not      become vested in interest in him is      not to  be inferred  merely from  a      provision whereby  the  payment  or      possession of  the thing bequeathed



    is postponed,  or whereby  a  prior      interest therein  is bequeathed  to      some other  person, or  whereby the      income  arising   from   the   fund      bequeathed  is   directed   to   be      accumulated  until   the  time   of      payment arrives or from a provision      that; if  a particular  event shall      happen,  the  legacy  shall  go  to      another person."      Section 120  of the  Indian Succession  Act  makes  the following provision  for date  of  vesting  when  legacy  is contingent upon specified uncertain event :-      "Section 120.  Date of vesting when      legacy  contingent  upon  specified      uncertain  event,---(1)   A  legacy      bequeathal  in   case  a  specified      uncertain event  shall happen  does      not vest until that event happens.      (2) A  legacy bequeathed  in case a      specified uncertain event shall not      happen does  not  vest.  until  the      happening  of  that  event  becomes      impossible.      (3)  In   either  case,  until  the      condition has  been fulfilled,  the      interest of  the legatee  is called      contingent.      Exception.-  Where   a   fund,   is      bequeathed to  any person  upon his      attaining a particular age, and the      will also  gives to  him absolutely      the income  to arise  from the fund      before  he  reaches  that  age,  or      directs the  income, or  so much of      it  as  may  be  necessary,  to  be      applied  for   his   benefit,   the      bequest  of   the   fund   is   not      contingent."      By virtue of Section 119, in a case where bequest is of a vested  interest and  by the  terms  of  the  bequest  the legatee is not entitled to immediate possession of the thing bequeathed, the  right to  receive it  at  the  proper  time becomes vested in the legatee on testator’s death and in the event of  the death  of the  legatee without having received the legacy  the said right to receive it passes to the legal representatives of  the legatee. This is however, subject to a contrary intention being expressed in the Will. But in the case of a contingent bequest, Section 120 prescribes that legacy vests  in the legatee only after the happening or not happening of the contingency which means that in the ever of the legatee  dying prior to happening of that contingency no interest passes  to his legal  representatives. Although the question whether  the interest  created is  a  vested  or  a contingent interest  is dependent  upon the  intention to be gathered from  a comprehensive  view of all the terms of the document creating  the interest,  the court while construing the document  has to  approach the  task of construction  in such cases  with a  bias in favour of vested interest unless the intention  to the contrary is definite and clear. [See : Rajes Kanta  Roy v.  Santi Devi,  1957 SCR 77, at p. 90]. As regards Wills  the rule  is that "where there is doubt as to the time  of vesting,  the presumption  is in  favour of the early vesting  of the gift and, accordingly it vests  at the testator’s death  or at  the earliest moment after that date



which, is  possible in  the contest." [See : Halsbury’s Laws of England 4th., Vol. 50, para 589 at p. 395].      In order  to determine  whether the appellant can claim any  right  in  the  properties  of  the  testator,  it  is, therefore, necessary  to examine  the nature  of the bequest that was  made by  the testator  in favour  of his five sons including the  deceased husband  of the  appellant. If it is found that  the bequest is in the nature of vested interest, it would  vest in  the husband of the appellant on the death of the  testator and  after the  death of  her  husband  the appellant as  his legal representative, would be entitled to claim her  husband’s interest in the properties. But in case the bequest  is found  to be  in the  nature of a contingent interest which  was to  vest in  the legatees only after the death of  Smt. Nadiga  Nanjamma, the  appellant would not be entitled to  claim any  interest in the properties since her husband had pre-deceased Smt. Nadiga Nanjamma.      We must,  therefore, construe  the Will to Find out the intention of  the testator  in this  regard. With  regard to construction of Wills the law is well settled that intention has be  ascertained from  the words used keeping in view the surrounding circumstances, the position of the testator, his family relationship  and that  the Will  must be  read as  a whole, [See  : Gnanambal  Ammal v. T. Raju Ayyar and Others, 1950 SCR  949, at  p. 955,  Navneet Lal Alias Rangi v. Gokul and others,  1976 (2) SCR 924, at pp. 927, 928]. If the Will is thus  read, it  is found  that under the Will Smt. Nadiga Nanjamma  was   vested  with   the  management  of  all  the properties specified  in Schedules  "A" "B"  and "D" but she had no  power to dispose of any of those properties by sale, gift, Will,  mortgage or  hypothecation. She was entitled to take the  produce of  the lands mentioned at items Nos. 2, 3 and 4  in Schedule  "A" and use the same for the maintenance of herself  and her  children, She  was also entitled to use the  interest,   dividends  and  income  of  the  properties mentioned in  Schedules "B"  and "D"  for the  same purpose. With regard  to properties  mentioned in  Schedule "C",  the testator has  directed that  where Upanayanams and marriages were to  be performed for the children during their minority and  income   from  other   sources  of   his  property  was insufficient to  meet the  expenses;  Smt.  Nadiga  Nanjamma could withdraw  from the  thrift deposit account of the said child not  more than  Rs, 300/-  for Upanayanam and not more than Rs.  500/-  for  marriage  of  the  child.  As  regards properties mentioned  in  Schedules  "B"  and  "D",  it  was provided that  Smt. Nadiga  Nanjamma was  entitled  only  to transact the operations of conversion, encashment or payment of further  calls on shares, as the case may be, and she had also power  to reinvest  the same in suitable securities but the corpus  in each  case had to be kept intact and only the interest, dividend or other incomes of the said shares could be used  by her  for the maintenance of herself and children as stated  above, with regard to the house mentioned at item No. 1  of Schedule  "A" it  was directed  that  Smt.  Nadiga Nanjamma and  the children   were  entitled to  live  in  it during the  life time  of Smt.  Nadiga Nanjamma  and that it would not  be partitioned  during her  life time. As regards the lands  mentioned at item Nos. 2, 3 and 4 in Schedule "A" it was  provided that  during the  minority of  the children Shri C. Nagappa, Advocate and one the Executors and Trustees of the  will, Shall  be in possession of the lands and shall make arrangments  for the cultivation of the said lands, for the collection  of produce  therefrom, for  the  payment  of Kandayam over  same and for the delivery of all produce from the lands  to Smt.  Nadiga Nanjamma  and  her  children.  As



regards partition of the properties, it was provided that if any of  the sons after attaining the age of majority demands partition during  the life  time of Smt. Nadiga Nanjamma, he would be  entitled to  get his  share of  the thrift deposit account in the Bank Mysore Limited, Bangalore City, standing in his  name as  mentioned in Schedule "C" and he would also to get  his portion in properties mentioned at items Nos. 2, 3 and  4 in  Schedule "A"  and  his  portion  in  properties specified in Schedule "D" with the Exception of the property mentioned at items No. 1 Schedule "A" and that the partition would be determined according to the prevailing Hindu Law in force at  that time.  It was further provided that after the life time of the testator and his wife, Smt Nadiga Nanjamma, all the  properties mentioned  in Schedules "A", "B" and "D" shall divided  equally among  "my surviving   children. With regard to  properties mentioned in Schedule "B" it is stated in the  Will that  the said  properties stood in the name of Smt. Nadiga  Nanjamma and  that income from those properties shall be used for the maintenance, education, Upanayanam and marriage of  children, during  their minority and after sons of the  testator attain the age of majority, the income from the properties  mentioned in Schedule "B" only shall be used by Smt.  Nadiga Nanjamma,  for her  own maintenance  if  she lives separate  from any  of major  sons and  that the  said properties shall  be liable to partition after the demise of Smt. Nadiga Nanjamma among "her surviving children".      Thus according  to  the  Will  the  right  to  separate enjoyment of the share in respect of properties mentioned at items Nos.  2, 3 and 4 of Schedule was as well as properties mentioned in  Schedules "C" and "D" was available to each of the sons  of the  testator  on  his  attaining  the  age  of majority and  that the  right to  separate enjoyment  of the bequest  relating to share in the property mentioned at item No. 1  of Schedule  "A" and properties mentioned in Schedule "B" was   available  only after  the death  of  Smt.  Nadiga Nanjamma. But  ever during  the period the right to separate enjoyment was  not available to the legatees the income from the properties   was  available for  the maintenance  of the legatees, their  education, their  Upanayanams and marriages as well as for maintenance of Smt. Nadiga Nanjamma.      The Explanations  in Section  19  of  the  Transfer  of Property Act  and Section  119 of  the Indian Succession Act incorporate the rule that where enjoyment of the property is postponed but  the present  income thereof  is to be applied for the done the gift is vested and not contingent. In Rajes Kanta Roy  v. Santi  Devi (supra) this Court has pointed out that this  rule operates normally where the entire income is applied for  the benefit of the done. In that case, however, under the  terms of the settlement the entire income was not available to  the donees  for their  actual use  but only  a portion thereof was available and the balance was to be used for discharge  of debts.  It was  held that since the donees were sons  of the  settlor who  were under  an obligation to discharge his debts out of the properties which devolve upon them, the  balance of  the income  which  was  meant  to  be applied  for   the  discharge  of  the  debts  was  also  an application of the income for the benefit of the donees and, therefore, entire  income is  to be  applied for the benefit the donees.  Similarly, in the instant case we find that the income from  the properties  was to  be used  partly for the maintenance, education,  Upanayanams and  marriages  of  the legatees and  partly for  the maintenance  of their  mother, Smt. Nadiga Nanjamma. Since the legatees, as sons were under an obligation to maintain their mother, it must be held that the entire  income from the properties was to be applied for



the benefit  of the legatees and in accordance with the rule referred to  above, the  bequest in  favour of  the legatees must be held to be of a vested interest.      Does the  said bequest  cease to  be a  bequest  for  a vested interest for the reason that the right to separate at items Nos.  2, 3  and 4  in Schedule  "A" and the properties specified in  Schedules "C"  and "D"  is not  available  the legatee obtains majority and the right to separate enjoyment of his  share in  the property  mentioned at  item No.  1 in Schedule "A" and the properties specified in Schedule "B" is not available during the life time of Smt; Nadiga Nanjamma ? In our  opinion, this  question  must  be  answered  in  the negative. Under  the English  law where  a condition  can be fairly read  as postponing merely the right of possession or of obtaining  payment, transfer or conveyance, so that there is an  express or  implied distinction  between the  time of vesting and time of enjoyment, the gift is held to be vested at the  earlier date  if the rest of the context allows. But where postponement  of  the  gift  is  on  account  of  some qualification  attached to the done, the gift is Prima facie contingent on  his qualification being acquired  A gift to a person "at",  "if", "as  soon as",  "when" or  "provided" he attains a certain age, without further context to govern the meaning of  the words,  is contingent  and vests only on the attainment of  the required  age, this  being a  quality  or description which  the done must in general possess in order to claim  under the gift. But if the words of a gift express a  distinction  between,  the  gift  itself  and  the  event denoting the time of payment, division or transfer, and this time is  the attainment by the done of the age of twenty-one years or other age or is any other event which, assuming the requisite duration  of life,  must necessarily  happen at  a determinable  time,   then  prima  facie  the  gift  is  not contingent in  respect of that event. [See : Hulsbury’s Laws of England. 4th Edn., Vol. 50 paras 591, 592 and 604, at PP. 396, 397, 405]. The same is the position in India and it has been succinctly  brought out in illustration (ii) to Section 119 and  illustration (ii)  to Section  120  of  The  Indian Succession Act. The said illustrations are as under :      Illustration (ii) to Section 119      "(ii) A  bequeaths to B 100 rupees,      to  be   paid  to   him  upon   his      attaining the  age of  18.  On  A’s      death the  legacy becomes vested in      interest in B."      Illustration (ii) to Section 120      "(ii) A  sum of money is bequeathed      to A  "in case  he shall attain the      age  of  18,"  or  "when  he  shall      attain the age of 18." A’s interest      in the  legacy is  contingent until      the condition  is fulfilled  by his      attaining that age."      In the  present case,  the testator in the Will has not used words  similar to  those contained in illustration (ii) to Section  120. The  testator after  making the  bequest in favour of the legatees has given the direction that a son on attaining majority  could demand  partition according to the prevailing Hindu  law in  force at  that  time  to  get  his portion in  items Nos.  2, 3  and 4  in schedule "A" and the thrift deposit standing in his name as mentioned in Schedule "C" as  well as  his portion  in the properties specified in Schedule "D".  This is  a case where the testator has made a distinction between  the gift  itself and the event denoting the time  of payment,  division or transfer, viz., attaining



the age  of majority.  It falls  in  the  same  category  as illustration (ii)  to Section  119 of  The Indian Succession Act and  must be  held to be a bequest of vested interest in respect of these properties.      Similarly, the  direction in  the  Will  excluding  the property at  item No.  1 of  Schedule "A" and the properties mentioned in Schedule "B" for partition during the life time of Smt.  Nadiga Nanjamma and that Smt. Nadiga Nanjamma would be entitled to reside in the house at item No. 1 of Schedule "A" and  to use  the income from the properties mentioned in Schedule "A"  for her  own maintenance if she lives separate from any  of the  major sons,  only creates  a limited  life interest in  the said  properties in  favour of  Smt. Nadiga Nanjamma and  it does  not have  the effect of rendering the bequest in  respect of  those  properties  as  a  contingent bequest and  it continues  to  be  a  bequest  of  a  vested interest  in those properties. Reference in this context may be made to the decision of the Privy Council in Rewun Persad v.   Radha Beeby,  (1846) 4  M.I.A. 137,  where the testator gave his  wife a  life estate and after her death one moiety of the   estate  to his  brother and the other moiety to his two sons.  The brother  and one  of the sons died during the life time of the widow. It was held that as the share of the sons were  vested the  widow of  the  pre-deceased  son  was entitled to  succeed to  her husband’s  share. Similarly, in Bhogabati Kalicharan,  (1911) 38 I,A. 54, the bequest was to the mother  for life, then to the wife for her life and then to the  nephews. The  Privy Council  rejected the contention that there  was no vesting in the nephews until the death of the survivor  of the  mother and the widow and held that the nephews were  intended to  take a  vested and  transmissible interest  on   the  death   of  the  testator  though  their possession and  enjoyment were postponed. The same position; is reiterated in illustration (to Section 119 which reads as under :      Illustration (iii) to Section 119      "(iii) A  fund is  bequeathed to  A      for life, and after his death to B.      On the  testator’s death the legacy      to B  becomes vested in interest in      B."      The High  Court has referred to the following direction by the testator in the Will :      "After the life time of both myself      and  my   wife,  the   said  Nadiga      Nanjamma,   all    the   properties      mentioned in  A, B  and D Schedules      shall be  divided equally  among my      surviving children."      The  High   Court  has  construed  the  expression  "my surviving children" to mean the children of the testator who survive Smt.  Nadiga Nanjamma  and has  held that  after the death of  Smt. Nanjamma  only the  children  surviving  Smt. Nanjamma could  claim partition  in respect  of the premises mentioned in Schedules "A", "B" and ’D".      The learned counsel for the appellant has urged that in the Will  the testator  has deliberately  used two different expressions, viz.,  "her surviving  children" while  dealing with the  division" of  properties mentioned in Schedule "B" after the  demise of Smt. Nadiga Nanjamma and the expression "my surviving  children"  while  dealing  with  division  of properties mentioned in Schedules ’A’, ’B’ and ’D’ after the death  of   Smt.  Nanjamma.   The  submission  is  that  the expression "my  surviving children"  must mean  the children surviving the  testator, while the expression "her surviving



children" must  mean children  surviving Smt,  Nanjamma  and that all the children surviving the testator are entitled to their share in the properties mentioned in Schedules ’A’ ’B’ and ’D’  after the  death of  Smt. Nanjamma. In our opinion, nothing  much  can  be  made  out  of  the    difference  in phraseology  because   if  the   expression  "my   surviving children" is  construed to  mean the  children surviving the testator and  the  expression  "her  surviving  children  is construed to  mean the  children  surviving  Smt.  Nanjamma, there will  arise a  contradiction in the Will in so  far as partition of Schedule "B" properties is concerned because at one place  it is  mentioned that properties of  Schedule ’B’ shall be  liable to  partition after  the demise of my wife, the above  mentioned Nadiga  Nanjamma, among  her  surviving children", meaning  thereby that  the said  properties  were divisible among  the children surviving Smt. Nanjamma  while at another  place in  the Will,  it is stated that after the life time  of both  myself and my wife, the said Smt. Nadiga Nanjamma, all  the properties  mentioned in  A,  B  and  "D" Schedules  shall  be  divided  equally  among  my  serviving children, meaning, thereby, that the properties in Schedules "A", "B" and "D" were divisible among the children surviving the testator.  The expressions  "my surviving  children" and "her surviving  children "  must, therefore, be construed in the same  sense. The  words "  surviving children"  normally mean children surviving the testator. The said expression in a particular  context could also mean the children surviving Smt. Nadiga  Nanjamma. The  expression has  to  be  given  a meaning which  is in  consonance with the other parts of the Will. Reading  the Will  as a  whole and keeping in view the direction enabling  a son  on  attaining  majority  to  seek partition of  his share in properties at items Nos. 2, 3 and 4 in  ’D’ it  cannot be  said that the expression "surviving children" in the context of division of properties mentioned in Schedules  ’A’, ’B’  and ’D’  was not  used in the normal sense to mean the children surviving the testator.      We are unable to read the Will as indicating a contrary intention to  make  a  departure  from  the  rule  regarding vesting of  the legacy  as contained  in Section  119 of the Act. In  our  opinion,  the  Will  cannot  be  construed  as creating a  contingent interest  in the sons of the testator so as  to postpone  the date  pf vesting  of the legacy till after the  death  of  Smt.  Nadiga  Nanjamma.  On  a  proper construction the  Will must  be construed  as  containing  a bequeath  of  a  vested  interest  in  favour  of  the  sons surviving the testator which means that the legacy vested in the legatees, including the husband of the appellant, at the time of testator’s death and after the death of her husband, the appellant  is entitled  to claim  the one-fifth share of her husband in properties mentioned in Schedules "A" "B" and "D" in  addition to properties mentioned in Schedule "C"viz. the thrift  deposits standing in the name of the appellant’s husband in the Bank of Mysore Ltd.      The  appeal   is,  therefore,   allowed,  the  impugned judgment of  the High  Court is  set aside  to the extent it denies the  appellant  one-fifth  share  in  the  properties mentioned in  Schedules "A"  "B" and "D" and it is held that apart from the share in properties mentioned in Schedule "C" the appellant  is also  entitled to  one-fifth share  in the properties mentioned  in Schedules  "A", "B" and "D" as held by the trial court. There is no order as to costs.