Present : Sansoni, J., and H. N. G. Feruanjo, J.
A. ICASIPILLAI elal., Appellants, and TKEIVAXAPILLAI,Respondent561—D. G. Jaffna 1J0S/T
^Administration of estates—“ Legal personal representative ”—Ordinary meaning ofthe expression—Thesavalainui—Gratuity paid to public servant—Thedinthetam.
A sum of Ra. 4,404 was paid to the credit of tho present case by tho Govern-ment of Malaya. It represented a gratuity which was payblo by the Govern-ment of Malaya under Rule 19 of the Malayan Pensions Ordinance. Rule 19reads :—
“ Where an officer holding a pensionable office, who is not serving on pro-bation or agreement, dies while in tho service of the Federated Malay States,it shall bo lawful for tho-High Commissioner to grant his legal personal repre-sentative a gratuity of an amount not exceeding ono year’s pensionableemoluments. ”
Held, that when Rule 19 provided that a gratuity was payable to an officer’s“legal personal representative”, it made tho sum payable to the executor oradministrator of the officer’s estate, and it becamo part of the assets of tho estateto bo paid out to his heirs at law only. The widow, therefore, who was not anheir of the deceased, was not entitled to any part of tho money for her own U3eand .benefit, even if she was administratrix of the estate of the deceased.
(1916) 47 N. L. R. 171.
’■ (1911) 45 JV. L. R. 203.
Held further, that a gratuity paid to a public servant on retirement fromservico is not thediathetnm.
-/j-PPEAL from.an order of the District Court, Jaffna.
H- IV- Jayewardene Q.C., with V. Thillainalhan, for the respondents-appellants.
C. CJiellappah, 'with A. Sambandan and B. Sharvananda, for tho
o tyi i met re f vi *
Cur. adv. vull.
February 9, 1956. Saxsoxi, J.—
Two sums of money, namely, a sum of Rs. 4,464 and a sum of Rs. 828* 30•were paid to t.lie credit oF this ease by tho Government of Malaya. Tholatter sum represents the unpaid salary and cost of living allowance duoto the deceased Amniugam jSJagesapillai whose estate is being administeredin these proceedings. It is not disputed that this latter sum should bedivided between his widow (who is also his administratrix) and tho1st to 13th respondents (who are his brothers anti sisters and theirchildren), the widow taking a half share and tho others taking a halfshare.
The sum of Rs. 4,464 represents a gratuity which was payable by thoGovernment of Malaya- under Rule 19 of the Malayan Pensions Ordinance(Cap. 23). That Rule roads :
“ Where an officer holding a pensionable office, who is not servingon probation or agreement, dies while in the service of tho FederatedMalay States, it shall be lawful fox- the High Commissioner to granthis legal personal representative a gratuity of an amount not exceedingone year’s pensionable emoluments
[Before the District Judge, at the stage of judicial settlement of heraeeoxmts, the deceased’s widow claimed the entirety of this amount as adependant of the deceased, while tho xespondents claimed that theywere entitled to tho entirety as tho heirs of the deceased, since if thissum is not thcdiatlietam property the widow has no right to any shareof it. In view of the decision in Seelhanguniammal v. Eliyaperumal 1where it was decided that a gratuity paid to a public servant onretirement from service is not thcdiatlietam, the widow cannot claimany share of this money on that basis. ■
Can it be said that as a dependant of the deceased she is entitled to thissum ? It seems to have been argued that although the deceased died in1948 the devolution of this sum must be governed by the terms of s. 17of the Pensions Ordinance 2Co. 1 of 1951 of Malaya, under which thogratuity is payable to such of tho dependants of the deceased publicofficer as the Chief Secretary or Resident Commissioner may think fit.This argument found favour with the learned District Judge who heldthat the entire gratuity was payable to the widow. But as this Ordinance
(10-30) 30 A*. L. Jt. SG.
was not in operation at the time of the deceased's death, its terms cannotin am* wav control the operation of Rule 19 of tho Pensions Enactmentwhich was the relevant enactment in force when the deceased died.
It scents to me that when Rule 19 provided that the gratuity waspayable to tho officer's legal representative it made the sum payable(o the executor or administrator of his estate, and it became part of theassets of the estate to bo paid out to his lien’s at law. The interpretationof a similar enactment was considered In the Privy Council in the case ofArbuthnot r. Norton l. Under the Act 6 Geo. IV., c. 85, when a Judgein India died in office the East India Company was required to pay to thelegal personal representatives of such a Judge a sum equal to the amountof six calendar months salary. The Privy Council decided that thewords “ legal personal representative ” in that Act meant the executoror administrator of the Judge deceased, and that tho money was to botaken as part of his general assets and to be administered as such. Ithink that this decision governs the point in dispute in this appeal.
It is true that the words " legal personal representative ” have beeninterpreted in different, wavs when wills and settlements inter vivoshave been construed, but the primary meaning of the phrase, u hen it isunaccompanied by explanatory' or controlling words, is “ executor oradministrator, in that capacity ". In Smith v. Barncby – Shadwcll V. C.said : c" I apprehend that the words ‘ xiersoiial representative ’ or thewords ‘legal personal representative ’ mean ordinarily, and must primafacie bo taken to intend, an executor or administrator, that is, arepresentative in law as to personal estate : not a kinsman oz kinswoman,not a wife or husband, not a person entitled by statute to claim distribu-tion. Generally, also, and prime, facie, ns I suppose, a bequest made to a‘ personal representative ’, when tho expression is so interpreted, mustbo understood as made to t-hat representative not for Ius or her ownbenefit ncccssmih, but for the purposes, whatever they may be, forwhich lie oi she holds, or would hold, tho general personal estate of theindividual whom lie or sho is described as personally representing. ”
This expression of opinion also meets the argument put forward inappeal on behalf of the widow that tho gratuity should bo paid to her aslegal representative or administratrix, but for lief own use and benefit.
If that submission wore to be upheld, the gratuity would benefit anyperson who happened to be appointed administrator ovon though he isnot an heir and is not oven remotely related to tho deceased. Such astrange result could not have been intended by those who enacted thisOrdinance.
I would therefore hold that the widow is not entitled to any part ofthis money, and that it is payablo to tho 1st to 13th respondents as heirsof the deceased. The order under appeal is therefore sot aside. Underthe circumstances I would direct that botli parties should have their costsof tho inquiry in the District Court and of this appeal paid out of themoney in question.
jN G. Fernando, J.—I agree.
Order set aside.
1 3 M. I. A. 435.
* [1S‘1G) 63 E. It. 936.
A. KASIPILLAI et al., Appellants, and THEIVANAPILLAI, Respondent
Present : Sansoni, J., and H. N. G. Feruanjo, J.