The Bombay High Court at Goa has observed that providing dowry to daughters during the marriage does not bar the right of the daughter in family properties.

The Bench of Justice Mahesh Sonak observed that “There is no evidence about providing a sufficient dowry to the daughters of the house. However, even if it is assumed that some dowry was provided to the daughters, that does not mean that the daughters cease to have any right in the family property. The rights of the daughters could not have been extinguished in the manner in which they have been attempted to be extinguished by the brothers, post the father's demise.”

Advocate C.A. Coutinho appeared for the appellant and Senior Advocate A.F. Diniz appeared for respondents.

In this case, the appellant, who was the eldest daughter of the deceased person had instituted a civil suit whereby injunction was sought against her mother and four brothers from creating any third-party interest in her family’s properties.

The Counsel for the appellant submitted that the mother and other sisters orally agreed to a transfer agreement in favour of two of her brothers in 1990. And, as a result of this agreement, the family’s shop and residence were transferred to the two brothers.

It was also contended that in 1994, when she was made aware about the execution of transfer deed, a publication of notice was in the Daily Herald cautioning the public about her undivided co-ownership rights in the property was published. Civil Suit was dismissed on the ground of being barred by the limitation.

The Court noted that the appellant filed the complaint within six weeks of learning about the alleged deed and further observed that the brothers failed to prove that the appellant was aware of the alleged transfer deed in 1990.

“The evidence on record shows that the joint family property was purported to be exclusively usurped by the brothers to exclude the sisters. Merely because one of the sisters deposed in favour of the brothers does not mean that the issue of family arrangement or oral partition was duly proved.” the Court said.

The Court further observed that articles 1565 and 2177 of the Portuguese Civil Code were still in force. Therefore, the mother was not entitled to transfer her share in the suit shop to her two sons without the consent of the other sons and daughters. Therefore, the transfer deed was null and void.

Further, the Court also granted permanent injunction restraining the defendants from transferring or conveying the said property in any manner.

Accordingly, the appeal was disposed of.

Cause Title- Mrs. Terezinha Martins David v. Mr. Miguel Guarda Rosario Martins and ors.

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