10 July 2023 7:48 AM GMT
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has made it clear that a Will under Section 27 of the Jammu and Kashmir Hindu Succession Act can be executed in favour of a person who is not even related to the executant.A single bench of Justice Vinod Chaterjee Koul said Will is statutorily recognized mode of "alteration of natural line of succession" delineated by Hindu Succession Act without any...
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court has made it clear that a Will under Section 27 of the Jammu and Kashmir Hindu Succession Act can be executed in favour of a person who is not even related to the executant.
A single bench of Justice Vinod Chaterjee Koul said Will is statutorily recognized mode of "alteration of natural line of succession" delineated by Hindu Succession Act without any prohibition, curbs, rider etc.
It therefore dismissed the contention of a petitioner that the Will executed by her step mother, allegedly in favour of an unrelated person, is bad in law. The Court observed,
"The argument that the respondent was not related to the executant and, therefore, was not competent to execute the Will in her favour, is without any legal force."
The bench was hearing a petition under Article 227 of the Constitution challenging lower court orders dismissing petitioner's plea to injunct the private respondent from acting in pursuance of the Will in question.
The petitioner claimed that after her father's second marriage to Ram Bhaiji, she was born to him from his first marriage to Chander Prabha. She also claimed that the respondent is not a daughter of Ram Bhaiji and in the Will, it is falsely stated that the respondent was born from the relationship between Ram Bhaiji and Charan Dass.
The trial court had rejected the plea stating that the Will was executed and registered in accordance with the law. It had further held that the respondent was, in fact, the daughter of the petitioner's father and had a rightful claim. Following dismissal of appeal against this order, the Petitioner instituted instant proceedings.
Adjudicating upon the matter, Justice Koul noted that the trial court in its assessment had determined that the Will in question was executed and registered before the Sub Registrar in the presence of the executant and two attesting witnesses. The endorsement from the Sub Registrar indicated that the executant acknowledged the execution of the Will after its contents were read to her.
“...therefore, a presumption of its due and valid execution/authenticity has to be drawn in favour of the respondent/defendant till such presumption is rebutted during the course of trial”, the bench held.
Dealing with petitioner's other contention that the Will was executed in favour of an unrelated person whereas Will can be executed in favour of a close relative only, the bench highlighted,
“Will is a mode of testamentary disposition which is recognized by Section 27 of Jammu and Kashmir Hindu Succession Act 1956. It is a statutorily recognized mode of alteration of natural line of succession-delineated by Hindu Succession Act without any prohibition, curbs, rider etc”.
Nevertheless, the Court held that the documents placed on record indicate that the respondent is not an outsider; she is the daughter of Charan Dass.
Based on these considerations the bench dismissed the petition.
Case Title: Chand Devi Vs Sonam Choudhary
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (JKL) 177
Click Here To Read/Download Judgment