Negotiable Instruments: Exhaustive Coverage by Adv Roma Bhagat. Register Now!
LCI Learning

Share on Facebook

Share on Twitter

Share on LinkedIn

Share on Email

Share More

Adv. G.Narayan ( Advocate & Legal Consultant)     03 October 2010

No Succession to Step Children

Can any one upload the recent Bombay High Court Judgement on denying  succession right to step children. The judgement was delivered last week by the Hon'ble Justice Mr. Roshan Dalvi . If possible give the case no..


 1 Replies

Tajobsindia (Senior Partner )     03 October 2010



Notice of Motion No.31 of 2010


Testamentary Suit No.112 of 2009


Testamentary Petition No.889 of 2009

Mr.Noel Dominic Pereira .. .. Plaintiff


Mrs.Pamela Ethel Kuhn & ors. .. Defendants

Mr.Francesca Von Geyer for Plff.


Date of reserving the order :
13th September, 2010

Date of pronouncing the order : 28th September, 2010


1.This Notice of Motion is taken out for dismissal of the Caveat filed by Defendant No.3. The Caveat of Defendant Nos.1 and 2, as the heirs of the deceased, is already filed. Defendant No.3 has sought to file the Caveat on the ground that he is the step-son of the brother of the deceased. The Plaintiff claims that he is not an heir of the deceased who is required to be served with

the citation. The deceased is one Merlyn Loretta Patton. Her pre-deceased brother was Derrick Patton.

Defendant No.2 in the suit is the son of Derrick Patton through his first wife. Derrick Patton had remarried. Defendant No.3 is the son of the second wife of Derrick Patton through her first husband.

2.To claim to be the heir of the deceased,  defendant No.3 must be shown to be having a blood relationship with the deceased. Under Section 27(b) of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 (the Act), such blood relationship may be by full blood or half blood. Such half blood relationship must also be shown to be with the deceased. Defendant No.3 is the step-son of Derrick, being the son of his second wife through her previous marriage. Defendant No.3 would be the step-brother of
Defendant No.2 who is the son of Derrick through his first wife. However, Defendant No.3 has no blood relationship with Derrick as also the deceased.

3.It has been held in the case of
Mrs.Mary Dowling vs. Mrs. Margaret Merwan, AIR 1991 Bombay 389 that the step daughter is not a child within the meaning of Section 37 of the Act.

Defendant No.3 claims to be the step-son of the brother of the deceased. Hence his relationship is further remote.

In the case of
Mary (supra), one step-daughter claimed to be the only heir of one John. The sisters of John claimed that the step-daughter was not the heir and, therefore, they were the only heirs. The succession to the estate of John was to be determined under Section 37 of the Act on the premise that John had left no child through any blood relationship as required under Section 27 of the Act. The Court considered the term Kindred or consanguinity_ under Section 24 of the Act.

Section 24 runs thus:-

24.Kindred or consanguinity.- Kindred or

consanguinity is the connection or relation of

persons descended from the same stock or common


Consanguinity, lineal or collateral under Sections 25 and 26 of the Act run thus:-

25. Linealconsanguinity.-(1)Lineal consanguinity

is that which subsists between two persons, one

of whom is descended in a direct line from the

other, as between a man and his father,

grandfather and great-grandfather, and so

upwards in the direct ascending line, or between

a man and his son, grandson, great-grandson and

so downwards int he direct descending line.

(2) Every generation constitutes a degree,

either ascending or descending.

(3) A person_ s father is related to him in the

first degree, and so likewise is his son; his

grandfather and grandson in the second degree;

his great-grandfather and great-grandson in the

third degree, and so on._

26. Collateral consanguinity. (1) Collateral

consanguinity is that which subsists between two

persons, who are descended from the same stock

or ancestor, but neither of whom is descended in

a direct line from the other.

(2) For the purpose of ascertaining in what

degree of kindred any collateral relative stands

to a person deceased, it is necessary to reckon

upwards from the person deceased to the common

stock and then downwards to the collateral

relative, a degree being allowed for each

person, both ascending and descending._

It was held that under either consanguinity, that is whether the person is descended in a direct line or not, there must be a common stock or ancestor. That relationship was held to be the relationship by blood.

Further that relationship by blood must be with the
deceased. That relationship by blood with the deceased may be by full blood or by half blood under Section 27(b) of the Act which runs thus:

Persons held for purpose of succession to be

similarly related to deceased.-For the purpose of

succession, there is no distinction5

(a) . . . . .

(b) between those who are related to a person

deceased by the full blood, and those who are

related to him by the half blood; or

(c) . . . . ._

Hence if any child is related to the deceased even by half blood, he would be entitled to succeed to the estate of the deceased. If the child has no
relationship with the deceased by blood, full or half, he would not be entitled to be called an heir and consequently, to succeed to his estate.

4.It has been similarly held under the Hindu Succession Act that sons do not include step-sons. (See
Lachman Singh vs. Kirpa Singh & ors., AIR 1987 SC 1616).

5.In this case, Defendant No.3 is related only to the second wife of Derrick by blood. He is not related to Derrick, his step-father, by blood. He is, therefore, not related to the deceased by blood. Consequently, he is not an heir under any of the provisions of the Indian Succession Act and consequently, citation need not have been served upon him and the Caveat sought to be filed by him is liable to be dismissed.

6.Hence the Notice of Motion is made absolute in terms of prayer (a). The Caveat is dismissed. The Suit shall proceed against Defendant Nos.1 and 2 only.


2 Like

Leave a reply

Your are not logged in . Please login to post replies

Click here to Login / Register