The Supreme Court has punched holes in a judgment of the Madhya Pradesh High Court that decided a dispute over ancestral property of two brothers in favour of the “dishonest” one.
Terming it “wholly unsustainable, illegal, perverse and against the norms of any civilized society,” a bench headed by Justice Dalveer Bhandari set aside the verdict of the Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
“The high court's judgment has demolished the entire fibre of the joint family system of our country and has put a premium on the dishonesty of the defendant (brother). The saddest part is that the high court has put its judicial seal of approval on such a dishonest conduct of the defendant brother,” the SC bench observed.
The verdict came on a property dispute between the brothers - Sukhram and Jagannath (no second name) — over 22.39 acres of agricultural land and an ancestral house in Kadwali Khurd village in the Indore district of Madhya Pradesh.
Sukhram had left the village to look after his maternal uncle's property and Jagannath stayed back to take care of his share of the ancestral property.
However, after Sukhram returned, Jagannath refused to return his share of the property. Sukhram then filed a case in 1972 against his brother.
Sukhram got the shock of his life when Jagannath contended in the court that the former was not his real brother but only a stepbrother. He also said the house was left behind by his father in a dilapidated condition and he had got it repaired with his own money and cleared the loans taken by his father. The court ordered equal distribution of the property between the brothers and the district court endorsed it. But on Jagannath’s plea, the Indore bench of the high court ruled in Jagannath’s favour.