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Present: Garvin J.
MOHAMMED v. MOHAMAD et at.
211—A. G. R. Jaffna, 18,464.
Sale—Grant of dominium subject.to the life interest of vendor —Validity—English law.
Under the law of Ceylon a conveyance by way of sale may bemade subject to the life interest of the vendor.
from a judgment of the Commissioner of Bequests,
Balasingham, for appellants.
And Anandam, for respondents.
February 6, 1928. Gabvin J.—
The only question which arises upon this appeal is whether a validlife interest in favour of the grantor had been reserved by deedNo. 79 of March 28,1925. The deed is, in form, a conveyance uponsale. It is stated in the premises, that in consideration of a sum ofRs. 500, the receipt of which is acknowledged by the vendor, hegrants to the purchaser his undivided one-third share of a certainallotment of land and “ all his estate, right, title, interest, claim,and demand whatsoever therein …. to have and.to holdthe said premises hereby granted or intended so to be unto thepurchaser and her aforewritten absolutely and for ever, but subjectto the life interest of the vendor in the said premises.”
It was successfully contended in the Court below that the words“ subject to the life interest of the vendor in the said premises ”which appear in the habendum could not in law be held to abridgethe grant made in the premises.
This contention is based upon the rule of English law that if in adeed a particular estate is expressed in the premises that estate maynot be abridged in the habendum.
Assistance and guidance of great value is derivable from theEnglish law relating to the interpretation of deeds, but the difficultyof applying those rules of interpretation to instruments in Ceylonlies in the fact that they relate to a Bystem of conveyancing whichhas been evolved to give expression to conceptions peculiar to theEnglish law of real property to which our own law of immovableproperty bears hardly any resemblance. It has become the practiceof conveyancers in Ceylon to adopt the forms and the languageof English conveyancing, and in consequence words or phrases often
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appear in our deeds to which it would be wrong to give the inter-pretation which would be given them if they appeared in a deeddrawn in England and dealing with real property situated thereon.
The general principle governing the interpretation of deeds is thatthe deed must be considered as a whole and effect given to theintention of the party if by law it may. Now the phrase “ estate,right, title, interest, claims, and demand whatsoever ” is generallyemployed by local notaries where the intention is to vest thedominion. It clearly was the intention of the grantor in this deedto vest the dominion in the purchaser but subject to his life interest.I am aware of nothing in our law which prohibits this documentbeing given what appears to be its ordinary and natural construc-tions, or to prevent its being interpreted as the grant of the dominionsubject to the life interest of the vendor. For these reasons, I wouldset aside the order under appeal and direct that judgment be enteredfor the plaintiff as pleaded for with costs in both Courts.
MOHAMMED v. MOHAMAD et al