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AHUGODA UKKU ETENA et al. v. DOMBEGODAPUNCHIRALA el al.
C. R., Kurunegala, 4,181 L 452.
Kandyan Law—Diga marriage—Presumption of legitimacy—Minute
proof of wedding ceremonies.
Where, prior to 1870, a woman was, according to Kandyancustoms, duly conducted in diga to a man, lived with him till hisdeath, bore a child to him, and the husband’s family recognizedsuch union—Held, that the presumption of legitimacy dispensedwith the necessity of giving minute proof of the ceremoniesattending the marriage, and that the marriage was a lawful one,<-and did not require to be registered.
HIS action was instituted by first plaintiff as the widow, and
second plaintiff as the only child, of one Sohondirala, deceased,to recover possession of an undivided half share of certain landsbelonging to the said deceased by paraveni right, plaintiffs averringthat the defendants were entitled to the remaining half share underone Kaluhami, the sister of Sohondirala. Defendant denied thatfirst plaintiff was the widow and second plaintiff the child ofSohondirala, and claimed the lands in their entirety underSohondirala and Kaluhami. The main issue in the case was whetherfirst plaintiff was the lawful wife, and the second the lawful child, ofSohondirala. Oral evidence was adduced that the first plaintiff wasconducted in diga to Sohondirala about forty-seven years ago,'according to Kandyan custom ; that she lived with him and was
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acknowledged to be his wife by the husband’s family; and thatduring such coverture the second plaintiff was bom. An extractfrom the register of births was put in evidence in proof of theregistration of second plaintiff’s birth as the child of Sohondirala.The Commissioner held in favour of the plaintiffs and enteredjudgment for them. Defendants appealed.
Alwis, for appellants.
Sampayo, for respondents.
3rd August, 1897. Withers, J—
Id my opinion there is quite sufficient evidence of'marriage tojustify the Commis ioner finding that the first plaintiff was married,according to Kandyan customs, to Sohondirala, and that the otherplaintiff is the child of that marriage. Mr. Alwis contended thatthe ceremonies of the marriage were not given sufficiently indetail; but I think the presumption in favour of legitimacy savesthe plaintiff from the necessity of giving such minute proof ofthe ceremonies attending the marriage. She was duly conductedin diga to Sohondirala’s house, lived with him till his death, andthe child was the issue of the union. His family appeared torecognize the marriage at the time. This occurred before Ordi-nance No. 3 of 1870 came into force, so that the marriage did notrequire to be registered. The title to half, then, being in theplaintiffs, it was incumbent on the defendants to displace it byproving ten years’ adverse and uninterrupted possession previousto action. This they have failed to do, and I therefore affirm thejudgment, which I think is eminently a right one. It sustainsthe true rights of the respective families.