The Andhra Pradesh High Court recently upheld dedication of entire property to Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam by a well-known family who had committed suicide by setting themselves on fire in the year 1994.
DVS Tirupati Rao, his wife and three daughters, had committed suicide 21.02.1994. Just before the death, the daughters of DVS Tirupati Rao wrote three documents by which they purported to give their properties to the deities mentioned therein.
Thereafter, a suit was filed by one Damera Madhava Vidhyardhi against R Siva Kumar for a declaration that he is the close and sole legal heir to the properties of the late DVS Tirupati Rao. The Executive Officer, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam, was added as a second defendant in the suit who produced the documents sent to it by the daughters of Tirupati Rao.
Earlier the trial court decreed the suit in favour of the plaintiff, but the high court set aside the same and remanded matter to trial court. The court, thereafter, held that there is a dedication in favour of Lord Venkateshwara Swamy.
Justice DVSS Somayajulu observed that the finding of the lower court that these are dedications and not a gift in the legal sense or a will is correct.
Referring to the documents, the court said: “The family was conscious of the fact that the death was imminent. Both the sisters clearly mentioned in their documents that they are self-immolating themselves and unifying themselves with Lord Venkateshwara Swamy. They have also stated clearly that these documents are being written just before their death and if there are any mistakes, the same should be overlooked. It is also mentioned that there are no legal heirs and the property should go to the deities mentioned therein. “
The court further observed: “Even the ultimate survivor, as per the legal fiction of Section 21 of the Hindu Succession Act, is the last sister D. Rekha Devi. By operation of this section, she should be treated as sole surviving coparcener and therefore, the contents of Ex.B.3 by which the entire property is dedicated to Sri Venkateshwara Swamy varu and to Sri Kalahasti Eswara is held to be a valid dedication. This Court agrees with the finding of the lower Court that the letters addressed by the daughters of late D.V.S. Tirupati Rao constitute a dedication to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam/second defendant.”