The conditions to be satisfied before a person is recognised as a Bandhu are the following:
(i) Test of Degree:
In Ramachandra v. Vinayak, 42 Cal. 348 (PC), the question was whether the paternal grandfather’s son’s son’s daughter’s daughter’s son was a heritable bandhu.
The claimant S traces his relationship to P through two female links (D1; D2). So he is a Bandhu. But is he within the circle of heritable bandhus? The claimant traces his relationship through his mother. So he should not be beyond 5 degrees from the common ancestor. S is 6 degrees from the common ancestor (counting himself as one degree).
The Privy Council held that the claimant was not a heritable bandhu. Ameer Ali, J., held that Bandhu is a technical concept and has to satisfy the test as to degree [i.e., 5 degrees on the Mother’s side and 7 degrees on the father’s side].
It was contended that this test of degree applied only for purposes of marriage but not for purposes of inheritance. This contention was rejected by the Privy Council. So a heritable bandhu should satisfy the test of degree and be a Sapinda as defined in the Mitakshara.
(ii) Test of Mutuality:
Though the claimant may satisfy the test as to degree, he will not be treated as a heritable bandhu unless the propositus (deceased owner) also satisfies the test as to degree. Then each will be a sapindas of the other and the test of mutuality would be satisfied.
(iii) Line Theory of Sarvadhikar:
(A) Calcutta View:
In Umaid Bahadur v. Udoi Chand, 6 Cal. 119 (FB) the question was whether the Father’s daughter’s daughter’s son of the propositus was a heritable bandhu. He satisfied the two tests indicated above and was held to be a heritable bandhu. Then the Calcutta High Court by way of an orbiter dictum observed that the Father’s daughter’s daughter’s son’s son would not be a heritable bandhu.
This obiter dictum proceeded upon the line theory of Dr. Sarvadhikari. According to Dr. Sarvadhikari there should be no female link above the grandparents. That is, there should be only male ancestors above the grandparents. Here D the great grandparent of S (claimant) is a female. So under the line theory he would not be a heritable bandhu.
This was the obiter dictum of the Full Bench of the Calcutta High Court. The Calcutta High Court, however, in a later case, Panchu Gopal v. Bata Mall, 1949 Cal. 157 rejected the theory of Sarvadhikari.
(B) Allahabad View:
A Full Bench of the Allahabad High Court followed the obiter dictum of the Calcutta High Court and adopted the view of Dr. Sarvadhikari in Gajadhar v. Gauri Shanker, 1932 AIL 417 (FB) : (1932) 54 All. 698 (FB). The daughter’s son’s daughter son was held to be outside the circle of heritable Bandhu relationship.
(C) Madras View:
In Nagamtna v. Lingareddi, AIR 1947 Mad. 437 (FB) the question was whether the Father’s daughter’s son’s daughter’s son was a heritable bandhu.
Here there is a female link above the grandparent of the claimant. According to the obiter dictum of the Calcutta High Court the claimant would not be a heritable bandhu. But the Madras High Court dissented from that view.
It held that the line theory of Sarvadhikari which requires that Bandhus should be in certain lines only and not in certain other lines is not based upon textual authority and is unsound. So according to the Madras High Court there are only two tests for heritable bandhu relationship.