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-Report by Sakshi Tanwar

The current petition for Letters of Administration has been filed by the mother [petitioner no.1], father [petitioner no.2], and brother [petitioner no.3] of the late Dr. Shruti Maitri,who died in Delhi on March 8, 2019. The LoA has been claimed in relation to properties.

FACTS

The second respondent is admittedly the deceased’s spouse, while respondents 3 and 4 arebodies formed to administer superannuation money in the Australian state of New SouthWales. According to the petitioners’ acknowledged case, the deceased married the secondrespondent in Delhi on December 3, 2017, in accordance with Hindu norms. According totheir claim, the deceased was injured on 02/03 February 2019 and travelled to India on 01March 2019 for necessary medical procedures and treatment. The petitioners also state thatthe deceased was admitted to a hospital on March 4, 2019, and underwent surgery onMarch 5, 2019. According to reports, the deceased developed a pulmonary embolism as aresult of post-operative complications on March 7, 2019, and died on March 8, 2019. The petition was based on an assumption that the first petitioner had been nominated as the beneficiary of the superannuation funds. In terms of an intimation dated 19 August 2019,the first petitioner was informed by respondent no. 3 of the proposed release of all monies standing to the credit of the superannuation fund of the deceased in favour of the secondrespondent.

APPEALANT’S CONTENTION

The petitioners maintained that because the deceased was an Indian citizen working inAustralia on a work permit, her inheritance would be administered under Indian law. Thepetitioners claimed in paragraph 35 of the current petition that the deceased had identifieda flat in Australia and, since she had not been given Permanent Resident status in thatcountry, the flat was purchased in the name of the second respondent. It is conceded thatthe flat was mortgaged and the instalments in respect thereof were paid out of the jointaccount maintained by the deceased and the second respondent. The petition for the grant of LoA was essentially based on the petitioners’ assertion that because the deceased and the second respondent purchased the properties in Australia together, with the formermaking substantial investments therein, the petitioners would be entitled to the grant of LoA by virtue of being the parents. Their claimed case was that the second respondent, thehusband,

is barred from pre-marriage and paternal assets. On 19 December 2019, the Court granted an injunction restraining the second respondent from either alienating or creating third-party interests in the immovable property in Australia or receiving superannuation funds standing to the credit of the investments made by the deceased. The Court also restrainedRespondent No. 3 from releasing any payments to either the second respondent or any third party.

RESPONDENT’S CONTENTION

The second respondent has filed objections to this petition, citing records kept by the FirstState Super Trustee Corporation, a body corporate established under the SuperannuationAdministration Act, 19965, as well as records kept by the State Super Financial ServicesAustralia Limited, to argue that the second respondent was the sole beneficiary of thesuperannuation funds. Reliance was also placed on the adjudicatory orders passed by theAustralian Financial Complaints Authority8 which too had recognized the right of thesecond respondent to be the sole beneficiary of all funds of the deceased held withrespondent no.3.

JUDGEMENT

The law, as it presently stands, does not envisage a parent who may have incurredexpenditure in the upbringing of a child being viewed as a creditor. Accordingly, and forall the aforesaid reasons, the petition fails and shall stand dismissed.

READ FULL JUDGEMENT: https://bit.ly/40QREgG

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