-Report by Himanshi
The recent judgement of Shri Mukund Bhatia vs State (Govt of NCT of Delhi) & ORS is concerned with the grant of Letters of Administration / Probate of the Will in respect of the immovable properties left behind by the Paternal Aunt of the petitioner.
The Paternal Aunt of the petitioner, Kumari Lajja Bhatia (hereinafter referred to as “The Testatrix”) was a permanent resident of 17/14, Old Rajinder Nagar, New Delhi – 110060. She expired as a spinster, leaving behind her nephew, petitioner herein; her brother, respondent no.2 herein; the wife and two sons of her pre-deceased brother, impleaded as respondent no.3 herein; and her sister, respondent no.4 herein.
The above-mentioned property acquired by Testatrix was a self-acquired property of her late father and by the virtue of the Will executed by him; the said property was bequeathed to the Testatrix. Thereafter, upon the death of the Testatrix, the said property has devolved upon the petitioner as per the Will, dated 15.01.2020, executed by her.
During her lifetime, she also purchased other immovable property in Pitampura, Delhi with a Conveyance deed dated 29.07.2004. As per the terms of the subject Will, the property is to be divided in the following manner:-
- 70% share of the said property shall devolve upon the petitioner;
- The remaining 30% share shall devolve upon Respondent No. 5 which is a religious trust.
Therefore, the present petition has been filed in the court with reference to sections 276 and 278 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 seeking the Probate of Will executed by the Testatrix in respect of the immovable properties left behind by her.
- The learned counsel for the petitioner alleged that during her lifetime she had executed the subject Will dated 15.01.2020 in the presence of two attesting witnesses namely Shri Vijay Vasandani and Shri Ashok Pohuja.
- The learned counsel also provides the details of the moveable assets in the form of fixed deposits, PPF and shares left behind by the Testatrix.
- They further contended that as per the affidavit of service filed by the petitioner, Respondent Nos. 3 to 5 were duly served. However, despite service, they failed to appear. Thereby, their right to file objections has been closed by the learned Joint Registrar (Judicial).
- The learned counsel further states that respondent no.2 has filed an affidavit giving his ‘No Objection’ for the transfer of property in favour of the petitioner as per the Will dated 15.01.2020.
Therefore the learned counsel for the petitioner submits that this is an uncontended case.
The petition is not contested by Respondent No. 2 and Respondent No. 3 to 5 has failed to appear despite service.
The Delhi HC in its judgement relied upon sec 68 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 which provides that where a document is required by the law to be attested, it shall not be used as evidence until at least one attesting witness has been called for proving its execution. In the present case, the two attesting witnesses approved that Late Kumari Lajja Bhatia had signed the Will in their presence. They further stated that the subject Will was executed by her voluntarily and when she was in sound disposing of mind. Hence, the requirements of Section 68 of the Act were fulfilled.
Apart from this, a citation was also directed to be published in two daily newspapers in the NCT of Delhi, Pune, Mumbai and Jaipur. No Objection has been received from any third person to grant Probate of Will dated 15.01.2020 in favour of the petitioner.
Considering all these facts, Delhi HC in this particular case held that the unchallenged and rebutted testimony of the petitioner which is supported by the testimony of the two attesting witnesses proves the authenticity of the Will dated 15.01.2020. Thereby, the petitioner being the nephew and beneficiary is entitled to the Probate of Will.
READ FULL JUDGEMENT: https://bit.ly/3o0tKBK