M.Y. Eqbal, Amitava Roy
(i) Can long cohabitation of a man and a woman as husband and wife amounts to marriage?
(ii) Does the alleged wife has a declaration of ownership, possession and damages of the suit property of the alleged deceased husband?
(iii) Can the alleged wife's will regarding the properties inherited by the alleged deceased husband valid?
(iv) Does the sale deed executed between the alleged wife and third party valid?
• The appellants filed an appeal seeking declaration for the title of the suit property.
• Before filing of the appeal, the respondents had won entitlement of the suit property.
• The trial court dismissed the suit instituted by the respondent declaring the will executed by Phoolbasa Bai in favour of then defendants Nos 1-4 was legal and the sale effected by her during the pendency of the civil suit in favour of then defendant no.5 is also legal and valid.
• The respondents had filed an appeal to the High Court.
• The High Court decreed in favour of the respondentby recording a finding that Phoolbasa Bai was the legally married wife of Chhatrapati.
• Furthermore, the findings of the High Court made it evident that the will suffered from suspicious circumstances therefore declared it to be invalid but the sale deed executed by Phoolbasa Bai was valid and binding as the buyer Def No.5 bought in good faith.
• Then, the appellant filed the appeal in SC.
• It was contended that the judgement and decree in favour of the respondenttowards the declaration of ownership and possession of the suit property is erroful.
• The respondent supported the decision of HC contending that the appeal filed by the appellant to Supreme Court is wrong and does not have merit as the evidences prove otherwise.
The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal & upheld the decision of the HC. The Supreme Court held “the suspicious circumstance appears to be that when the Will was being executed, the thumb impression over the alleged Will was also taken by the beneficiaries and the document-writer was shown to be scribe of the document, whereas the document was not scribed by him. However, late Phoolbasa Bai although filed written statement before her death, but she did not whisper anything about the Will in the written statement. Admittedly, the Will was allegedly executed in 1977 whereas the written statement was filed some time in 1987. Taking into consideration all these facts, we do not filed any error in the conclusion arrived at by the High Court.The said finding, therefore, needs no interference by this Court.
For the reasons aforesaid, we do not find any merit in these appeals which are accordingly dismissed.”
-Para 20 & 21 (Dhannulal & Ors. vs. Ganeshram And Anr.)