Smt Dipo vs. Wassan Singh Case Summary 1983 SC

Smt Dipo vs. Wassan Singh Case Summary 1983 SC

Smt Dipo vs. Wassan Singh Case held that the property acquired the character of joint family property following the 1974 conveyance of the deed. As a result, the plaintiff had ancestral property.


  • The appellant, who claimed to be the closest heir to the dead Bua Singh, her brother, sued to reclaim custody of his property.
  • The sons of Ganda Singh appeared in court on behalf of the defendants. The defendants claimed that Smt. Dipo was not Bua Singh’s closest heir, and even if she was, the defendants had a preferable title to the property owing to tradition, because the entire estate was an ancestral property in Bua Singh’s hands.
  • The Subordinate Judge 1st Class in Amritsar determined that some of Bua Singh’s possessions were ancestral, while others were not. As a result, he ruled the sister was not eligible to inherit ancestral property but might inherit non-ancestral property, as was customary.
  • The appellant was aggrieved by the judgment and filed a form of paupers (a person from poor financial background) appeal to the District Judge, but the appeal was denied because the appellant did not submit the appeal in person as required by Order 33 Rule 3.
  • As a result, the plaintiff-appellant filed a second appeal with the Punjab and Haryana High Court. However, the second appeal was denied because it was time-barred because the copy of the decree was filed after the time limit had expired.
  • As a result, an appeal to the Supreme Court was filed.


Whether the plaintiff had any special rights to Bua Singh’s ancestral property?


Plaintiff’s contention

Appellant claimed herself as the nearest heir of the deceased Bua Singh, her brother, and sued to recover the possession of properties that belong to her brother.

Defendant’s contention

The contention laid down by the defendants was that Smt. Dipo wasn’t the closest heir of Bua Singh and even if she was; the defendants had a preferential title in the property due to custom, as the whole of the land was ancestral property in the hands of Bua Singh.


  • Bench: Reddy, O. Chinnappa (J)
  • The Court stated that the High Court’s dismissal of the second appeal was unjustified. Because the flaw was technical and the second appeal was filed on time, the Court felt it was unjustified to dismiss it on such minor technical grounds.
  • The High Court should have permitted the second appeal and disposed of it on the merits despite the trial court’s delay in submitting the decree copy.
  • Regarding the District Judge’s denial of the appeal, because it was not submitted in person, the Court concluded that the District Judge had already accepted the appeal and that dismissing it now would be futile.
  • According to Hindu law, a person receiving property from his three direct paternal ancestors must hold it in coparcenary with three immediate male descendants, but if the person has a son, son’s son, son’s son’s son, or son’s son’s son, he must hold the property completely as his own.
  • A male descendant obtains a portion of ancestral property. They are born with an interest in it. However, the property is treated as independent property in other relationships, and if the coparcenary dies without a son, the property falls to his heirs via succession.


The bench of the Apex Court, which included Reddy, O. Chinnappa, Desai, and D.A. JJ., held:

  • The Court affirmed the Trial Court’s determination that Smt. Dipo was Bua Singh’s sister.
  • The Lower Courts’ decision was found to be incorrect. The Lower Court’s reluctance to decide in favor of the plaintiff-appellant regarding the ancestral property made up for a significant delay.
  • In terms of ancestral property, the defendants were collateral, and the plaintiff had priority over the defendants’ holdings.
  • The learned Subordinate Judge’s, District Judge’s, and High Court’s judgments and decrees were all overturned.
  • The appeal was granted, and the defendants were ordered to pay the costs.


According to Hindu law, a property inherited by a son from his direct three paternal ancestors becomes a joint family property held in coparcenary with his son, son’s sons, and son’s son’s sons.

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