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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • When an unprivileged Will is in question the requirements laid down in section 63 must be complied.
  • Sheer mechanical submission is not sufficient to succeed under section 63 of The Succession Act of 1925.
  • When a matter in appeal stage conducting a fact finding inquiry is impermissible under the Civil Procedure Code following section 100.
  • Section 47 and 48 of The Succession Act application can be used to question an ownership claimed under the Doctrine of Escheat.

BACKGROUND

  • The cause of action has arisen over a land situated in Kurukshetra of Haryana with the extend of 1043 Marlas.
  • The original owner of the land was Kishan Singh, from whom Harnam Singh came into possession.
  • The absence of blood relativeness between Harnam and Kishan Singh and genuineness of the Will was contested by the State of Haryana.
  • The court in first instance accepted the mutation of land yet the Assistant Collector did not acknowledged the Will. Hence, by way of applying the doctrine of escheat it was transferred under the ownership of the State.
  • Harnam Singh contested this matter at the Trial Bar; joining the paternal nephews of late Kishan Singh’s as defendants who did not contest their rights.
  • The Trial Bar agreed upon the decision given by the court in first instance.
  • The matter was further taken into the High Court by Harnam Singh, in which a controversial decision to the prior was delivered.
  • The second appeal which was made to High Court took the stance of Will being proved under the Section 63 of the Succession Act 0f 1925 by way of examining of facts.

OBSERVATIONS OF THE SUPREME COURT

  • The testimonials given by the witnesses and the individual who claimed to be the one who scribed the Will were refused to accept.
  • Claimed Thumb impression of the original owner Kishan Singh wasn’t a match.
  • Evidence given by the witnesses of the Will were in contradiction.
  • The second appellate court’s decision granted by the High Court was found in fault as it disregarded the findings of court of first instance and the first appellate court.
  • Since the matter was at appeal stage holding an inquiry for fact finding by the High Court was considered to be impermissible by the Supreme Court.
  • Hence, the division bench set aside the decision of High Court and re-established the decision of the Court in first instance and Trial Court’s decision.
  • Further, in the petition made by the Haryana State to the Supreme Court the descendants of Kishan Singh has contested. Therefore, the court left the question of ownership of land claimed by State of Haryana by considering Section 47 and 48 of The Succession Act of 1925.

QUESTIONS

  • What are your thoughts on unprivileged Wills?
  • Do you think section 63 of Succession Act can be met by mechanical compliance?
  • Should the Doctrine of Escheat have the power to override section 47,48 of Succession Act?
  • Do you believe the view taken by the Supreme Court rendered Justice?

Share your questions & opinions in the comments section below.

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