A division bench of Justice AS Oka and Justice AK Menon of the Bombay High Court has rejected a petition filed by one Amol Patil who sought withdrawal of money from his deceased grandmother’s account without the demand of any succession certificate or probate.
It was the case of the petitioner that his grandmother, Shevantibai Bhimgonda Patil, made a registered will dated December 12, 2007.
Under the said will, a specific bequest is purportedly made in favour of the petitioner in respect of the amount standing to her credit in her bank account in Ratnakar Bank Limited.
Another bequest is made in favour of the petitioner in respect of movable and immovable assets, which are not specifically mentioned.
Shevantibai died on February 7, 2014.
On the basis of the said will, Amol applied to Canara Bank as well as Ratnakar Bank seeking withdrawal of amounts lying to the credit of the two banks.
Thereafter, Canara Bank called upon the petitioner to produce a succession certificate.
Vishwanath Rajure, counsel for the petitioner, placed reliance on judgments of the high court which held that in such cases it is not mandatory to obtain letters of administration or probate under Section 57 of the Indian Succession Act.
After perusing the said will, the court noted that the petitioner is survived by her son and six married daughters.
The bench, therefore, held that the bank rightly insisted on production of a succession certificate and observed:“Under Section 370 of the Succession Act, on production of a Succession Certificate, the Banks will get a valid discharge. In the present case, admittedly, the petitioner is not a nominee appointed by the deceased account holder. The petitioner is not a natural legal heir who is entitled to succeed to the assets of the deceased as per the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956.
We find no error in the approach adopted by the bank when it insisted on the petitioner producing a Succession Certificate. This will enable the Banks to obtain a valid discharge.”
Thus, the petition was rejected. However, the court observed that on production of such certificate, the money can be released without demand of any other documents.
Read the Order here.