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BENGAL LAW REPORTS.
MUSSAMAT FANNY BARLOW (PLAINTIFF) v.
ON APPEAL FROM THE COURT OF THE JUDICIAL COM-
Will-Domicile-Rules for Interpretation—“ Children”—Accretions to
Where a testator has an ascertained domicile, the construction of his will must depend on the law of that domicile; but if no particular law is applicable, the will is to be interpreted by principles of natural justice.
In such cases, in applying the rules of Hindu, Mahomedan, or English law to the wills of Hindus, Mahomedans, or East Indian Christians, respectively, their particular habits and modes of life may be looked to as a guide to the interpretation. From the context of the will and surrounding circumstances, "children" may be interpreted as illegitimate children.
Where by will the income of estates was left to devisees for life, with a gift over of the corpus on their death, and a portion of the income instead of being divided among the tenants-for-life was applied to the purchase of other estates, held, these estates did not pass to the remaindermen, but formed the absolute property of the tenants-for-life, and passed to their devisees.
THIS was an appeal from a decision of the Judicial Commissioner of the Punjab, whereby a suit, brought by the appellant, claiming under a will of Major James Skinner, to establish a right to share in his property devised to her and her illegitimate
son, was dismissed.
The Court of first instance decreed in favor of the appellant; the Civil Judge reversed that decree; and the Judicial Commissioner affirmed that reversal.
Present:-THE RIGHT HON. THE LORD WESTBURY, SIR J. W. COLVILE, SIR JOSEPH NAPIER, AND SIR LAWRENCE PEEL,
MUSSAMAT F. BARLOW
The facts were as follows:
Colonel Skinner, C.B., who at the time of his decease commanded a Corps of Irregular Horse, in the service of the late East India Company, was eminent in his profession, and in consideration of his services the Governor-General, in 1819, by an order in Council, granted, in Altumga, certain villages in the district of Meerut to him " and his heirs after him, or to such persons as he may devise by his last will and testament, or by any other valid instrument, with their heirs in the proportions "in which he may devise the same to them respectively, so that "each holding and enjoying his own share, shall conform himself "to the dispositions of his said will."
Colonel Skinner had also before his decease acquired considerable landed and house property by purchase, and had taken on lease many villages, in many instances the Government being the lessors. He died in December 1841, leaving a will executed on the 10th May 1841, the material part of which is as follows:
“2nd.—I will and direct that all my just debts and funeral charges be paid and discharged by my executors hereinafter named.
"3rd. I will and bequeath the rest of my property, of whatever nature, I may die possessed of, or that may be coming to me by gift, will, or as heir-at-law, or in any other manner, to my sons Joseph, James, Hercules, Alexander, and Thomas Skinner, or the surviving heirs of them, in equal shares or dividends."
And after bequeathing certain annuities, the testator directed. that "the whole of the above sums revert to my sons after the death of the legatees. The whole of the above sums to be paid from my Altumga and zemindari half-yearly, or Fuslee dur Fuslee."
And after making certain donations, the said will provided as follows:
"I leave and bequeath the income of my Altumga, zemindari, and tika villages, gardens, and houses to my five sons, herein named, Joseph, James, Hercules, Alexander, and Thomas Skinner, to share alike, none of them to have the power or option (even if they all agree) to sell or divide any landed