QRATIAJeN J.—Appuhamy v. Silva
1855Present: Gratlaen J. and Sansonl J.A. J. APPUHAMY, Appellant, and B. S. SILVA et al.,Respondents
S. C. 34—D. O. Kurunegala, 4,037
Kandyan Law—Child bom in digs marriage—Death intestate and issueless—
When a Kandyan child bora in a diga marriage dies intestate and withoutissue, his interests in immovable property inherited from his deceased mother(who had herself inherited the property from her father because, in spite ofher diga marriage, she had for one reason or another not forfeited her rights Omsuccession) pass absolutely to his father.
Chelliah v. Kuttapitiya Tea and Rubber Co. Ltd. (1932) 34 N. L. R. 89, followed.
Bisona r. Jang a (1948) 41 O. L. W. 40, not followed.
It is undesirable to disturb a long-established ruling on any question of lawaffecting rights of succession.
j^^.PPEAL from a judgment of the District Court, Kurunegala.
Cyril E. S. Perera, Q.C., with S. W. Jayasuriya, and T. B. Dissanayake,for the plaintiff appellant.
H. W: Jayewardene, Q.G., with P. Ranasinghe , for the 1st and 2nddefendants respondents.
Cur. adv._ wit.
January 26, 1966. Gbatiaen J.—
In Chelliah v. Kuttapitiya Tea and Rubber Co., Ltd.1 this Court wascalled upon to consider the eorrectness of the proposition that when aKandyan child bom in a diga marriage dies intestate and without issue,his interests in immovable property inherited from his deceased mother(who had herself inherited the property from her father because, inspite of her diga marriage, she had for one reason or another not forfeitedher rights of succession) pass absolutely to his father. Garvin J. andJayawardene J. pointed out that the balance of judicial decision supportedthis proposition which, right or wrong, ought therefore not to be disturbed.As far as wo are aware, this ruling has ever since 1932 been regarded ashaving sottlcd the law.
It is truo that in Bisona v. Janga 2 Basnayake J., sitting alone, tookthe viow that in the circumstances referred to the father would inheritonly a life-interest in his child's estate. His attention does not appear,however, to have been directed to the ruling in Chelliah v. KuttapitiyaTea and Rubber Co., Ltd. (supra) ; he certainly makes no reference to itin his judgment.
(1932) 31 N.L. R. 89.* (1948) 41 C. L. TV. 40.
Attorney-General v. Uplands Bui Company, Ltd.
It may well be correct to say, as Garvin J. himself seems to havethought, that the view preferred by Basnayake J. is more in keepingwith the spirit of the Kandyan Law. But a single Judge is powerless toover-rule an earlier decision (not made per invariant) of a Bonoh of twoJudges of this Court. Indeed, my brother and I, sitting together, areequally powerless, and we must therefore decline the invitation to reviewthe question as if it were res inlegra. Not do we consider it appropriateto request my Lord the Chief Justice to revive the controversy by referringthe ^natter at this late stage for an authoritative pronouncement by acollective Court constituted under Section 51 of the Courts Ordinance.It is not at all desirable to disturb a long-established ruling onany question affecting rights of succession.As Bertram C. J. pointed 011P
in a similar situation, “ there should be a fixed rule rather than one variedfrom time to time ” —Nanduiva v. Punchirala l. A reversal of the earlierdecisions which were pronounced in 1922 to have settled the controversyonce and for all would gravely prejudice the property-rights of manypersons who are not parties to the immediate litigation. In such cases,tho salutary rule of stare decisis is specially compelling.
The learned District Judgo of Kurunegala was perfectly correct inapplying to tho facts of this case tho ruling in Chelliah v. KuitapitiyaTea and Rubber Co. Lid. (supra). I would therefore dismiss the appealwith costs..
Samsoni J.—I agree.
B. A. J. APPUHAMY, Appellant, and B. S. SILVA et al , Respondents
QRATIAJeN J.—Appuhamy v. Silva