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Present ; Ennis and Porter JJ.
MENIKA et al. v. NEINA
264—D. C. Kuruncgala, 8,338 A.
Buddhist priest—Right to suceed to mother's estate—Kandyan laic
Under the Kandyan law a man does not forfeit his right tosucceed to his mother’s estate by becoming a priest.
The facts are set out in the judgment.
Samarawickrema, for defendant, appellant.
Nararatnam (with him Soertsz), for plaintiff, respondents.December 21, 1923. Ennis J.—
This was an action for declaration of title and for ejectment.The parties are Kandyans, and the matter is subject to Kandyanlaw. It appears that the property belonged to one Batti Ettena,who had two children—Siridarahamy and Podiappuhamy. Siridara-liamy mortgaged the property on September 11, 1911. He diedleaving a widow, Ransohamy, and two children, who are the first•and .second plaintiffs, both minors; Podiappuhamy was a priesthut after the death of his father he disrobed and lived with thewidow Ransohamy. On May 81, 1915, by the deed Xo. 18,136 thewidow leased a share of this land to the defendant for ten years.On the same date Podiappuhamy executed the deed No. 18,137,and leased' the remainder of the property to the defendant for fourteenyears. Podiappuhamy then died, and the widow Ransohamy, ascurator of the estate of the first and second plaintiffs, brought thepresent action to be declared entitled to the share which Podiappu-hamy purported to deal with. The learned Judge held that by
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becoming a priest Podiappuhamy had forfeited his interest in theestate, and the only question on appeal is whether the learned Judgeis right in holding that there had been a forfeiture. The materialbefore us is very scanty. The Niti Nighandua, p. 106, inchap. 6, section 2, dealing with* inheritance by maternal right,says that a son whether he be a layman or priest will have an equalright to the maternal inheritance. This is a perfectly ..definitestatement that there is no forfeiture in the case of property whichformed part of the mother's estate. Sawyer, Modeler's ed. at pt 7tchap. art. 27, says:
“ A son becoming a priest thereby loses all right of inheritancein the property of his parents, because to take the robe isto resign all worldly wealth; nor shall he be restored tohis right of inheritance by throwing ofE the robe after hisfather's death, unless he shall have done so at the requestof his brother or by the unanimous request of his brothers,as the case may be; in that event he will have a right tothat share of his parents' property, which would havefallen to him, had he never taken the robe."
It is to be observed that this paragraph in Sawyer says that hecannot recover any rights after his father’s death, but it makes nomention of non-recovery of rights on the mother’s death. Thisparagraph appears in Pereira's Armour at p. 51 under the heading ofdisqualification of paternal inheritance. At page 84 where Armourdeals with the succession to the mother's estate, it is said that if amother dies intestate leaving two sons, one of whom is a priest, thatthe priest's rights to share in the estate remain in abeyance, and ifa mother die intestate leaving an only child, a priest, that all thematernal estate vested in him to the exclusion of her collaterals.So also in Marshall at p. 337, a case is cited where a priest cameinto a succession after all his associated fathers were dead. Inview of these authorities, it would seem that there is no definitestatement that a priest does not inherit his mother’s estate. Thereare one or two statements that a priest's inheritance of his mother'sestate is in abeyance, and, in the Niti Nighandvaj we have a definitestatement that the priest succeeds to his mother’s estate. Inasmuchas there is a presumption against a foreiture, and there is no clearauthority before us that in the Kandyan law a man forfeits hisright to succeed to his mother’s estate by becoming a priest, I wouldbold there has been no foreiture. I would accordingly allow theappeal with costs, set aside the judgment appealed from, and dismissthe plaintiff's, action, with costs.
Porter J.—I agree.
MENIKA et al. v. NEINA