13 December 2021


Supreme Court

S. Sarojini Amma Vs. Velayudhan Pillai Sreekumar




A conditional gift only becomes complete on compliance of conditions

Present appeal has been filed against the judgment passed by the High Court whereby the High Court allowed the Second Appeal filed by the Respondent and set aside the judgment and decree passed by the First Appellate Court in favour of the Appellant. The short question involved in instant appeal is whether a document styled as gift deed but admittedly executed for consideration, part of which has been paid and the balance promised to be paid, can be treated as formal document or instrument of gift.

Gift means to transfer certain existing moveable or immoveable property voluntarily and without consideration by one person called the donor to another called the donee and accepted by or on behalf of the donee as held by the Supreme Court in Naramadaben Maganlal Thakker v. Pranivandas Maganlal Thakker and Ors. The execution of a registered gift deed, acceptance of the gift and delivery of the property together makes the gift complete. Thereafter, the donor is divested of his title and the donee becomes absolute owner of the property."

A conditional gift with no recital of acceptance and no evidence in proof of acceptance, where possession remains with the donor as long as he is alive, does not become complete during lifetime of the donor. When a gift is incomplete and title remains with the donor the deed of gift might be cancelled.

Present Court is in agreement with the decision of this Court in Reninkuntla Rajamma v. K. Sarwanamma that, there is no provision in law that ownership in property cannot be gifted without transfer of possession of such property. However, the conditions precedent of a gift as defined in Section 122 of the Transfer of Property Act, 1882 must be satisfied. A gift is transfer of property without consideration. Moreover, a conditional gift only becomes complete on compliance of the conditions in the deed.

In the instant case, admittedly, the deed of transfer was executed for consideration and was in any case conditional subject to the condition that, the donee would look after the Petitioner and her husband and subject to the condition that, the gift would take effect after the death of the donor. There was no completed gift of the property in question by the Appellant to the Respondent and the Appellant was within her right in cancelling the deed. The judgment and order of the High Court cannot, therefore, be sustained. The appeal is allowed and the judgment and order under appeal is set aside.


Naramadaben Maganlal Thakker v. Pranivandas Maganlal Thakker and Ors. MANU/SC/1045/1997
: (1997) 2 SCC 255, Reninkuntla Rajamma v. K. Sarwanamma MANU/SC/0612/2014
: (2014) 9 SCC 445

Tags : Gift Condition Completion

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