SC and HC Judgments Online at MyNation

Judgments of Supreme Court of India and High Courts

Ramesh Verma(D) Tr.Lrs vs Lajesh Saxena (D) By Lrs & Anr on 24 November, 2016

Reportable

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CIVIL APPEAL NOS.8665-8668/2010

RAMESH VERMA(D) TR.LRS. Appellant(s)

VERSUS

LAJESH SAXENA (D) BY LRS ANR. Respondent(s)

J U D G M E N T

R. BANUMATHI, J.

1. These appeals arise out of the common judgment of the High Court of
Madhya Pradesh in First Appeal Nos.29, 30 31 of 1991 dated 31.07.1997.

2. The parties are related as under:-

      “Bhagwan Prasad Das              Smt. Jaydevi
      (Died in 1952)              (Widow died in 1972)

      Shri Jagan Verma            Prabhavati
      (Died in 1967)              (Widow died in 1984)

        Ramesh   Verma                                                Lajesh
Saxena
              (Def.         NO.1         died         on         10/10/2003)
(Plaintiff)




 Shyam Kishori Verma   Rajat Verma      Rajiv Verma        Meena Saxena

                                                             Sanjeev Kumar
                                                          (Respondent No.5)

3. The deceased first respondent herein/plaintiff had filed the suit for
partition on 26.02.1970 claiming 1/8th of the share in the family
properties. The trial Court by the judgment dated 31.01.1991 passed the
preliminary decree for partition being Civil Original Suit No.71A/1984 and
held that :-

“(i) Plaintiff Smt. Lajesh Saxena is entitled to get 1/12th share in
the joint Hindu family property;

(ii) Defendant No.1 Ramesh Verma is entitled to get 1/3rd share in
the property of Bhagwanprasad and 1/12th share in the property of Jagan
Verma totalling 5/12th of the whole;

(iii) Defendant No.3 Rajiv Verma and defendant No.4 Rajat Verma
are entitled to get jointly 1/12th share in the property of Prabhavati and
1/12th share in the property of Jaydevi i.e. total ½ share in the joint
Hindu family property.”

4. By holding so, the trial court accepted the execution of the Wills
being Exhibit D/2 dated 07.12.1969 executed by Jaydevi in favour of Rajiv
Verma and Rajat Verma and also Exhibit D/1 dated 23.10.1977 executed by
Prabhavati in favour of Rajiv Verma and Rajat Verma.

5. Being aggrieved by the judgment and decree of the trial Court,
deceased Ramesh Verma preferred an appeal before the High Court of Madhya
Pradesh (FA No.29/1991). Sanjeev Kumar, son of plaintiff Lajesh Saxena as
also the plaintiff-Lajesh Saxena filed appeals before the High Court in FA
No.30/91 and FA No.31/1999, respectively.

6. After hearing the parties, the High Court vide its judgment dated
31.07.1991, allowed the appeal FA No.31/91 filed by Lajesh Saxena holding
that plaintiff is entitled to 1/3rd share in stead of 1/12th share in the
Joint Hindu Property. Consequently, FA No.29/91 and FA No.30/91 filed by
Ramesh Verma and Sanjeev, respectively, were disposed of. The High Court
held that the execution of the Will Exhibit D/1 (dated 23.10.1977), Exhibit
D/2 Will (dated 07.12.1969) and Exhibit D/1/C (dated 22.05.1984 executed by
Prabhavati) were not proved in accordance with Section 68 of the Indian
Evidence Act and disbelieved the genuineness of all the three Wills.

7. Being aggrieved, Ramesh Verma (since deceased) through his legal
heirs preferred these appeals.

8. We have heard learned counsel for the parties at considerable length.

9. Learned Senior Counsel for the appellants submitted that after the
death of Jagan Verma 1/3rd share of the property devolved upon Ramesh Verma
and the same will be governed by survivorship under the Hindu Mitakshara
coparcenary law and the High Court was not right in holding that under
Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act females have right to seek partition
and dividing the share in property among Jaydevi, Prabhavati and his son
and daughter, namely, Ramesh Verma and Lajesh Saxena. It was further
submitted that the High Court has not appreciated the findings recorded by
the trial Court in accepting the genuineness of the Wills Exhibits D/1 and
D/2 and the High Court erred in disbelieving the genuineness of those two
Wills. Learned Senior Counsel has taken us at length through Exhibits D/1
and D/2. It was further submitted that, in any event, if a dwelling house
is occupied by the members of the family, then the right of any female heir
to claim partition is suspended till the time the male heirs choose to
divide their respective shares in terms of Section 23 of the Hindu
Succession Act and the first respondent being a married daughter of the
house is not entitled to claim her share and this aspect was not properly
appreciated by the High Court.

10. Per contra, learned Senior Counsel appearing for the respondents has
taken us through the judgment of the High Court and submitted that in the
light of the contradictory statements of the attestors and scribes to the
Will, the High Court rightly held that the Wills Exhibits D/1 and D/2 were
not proved in accordance with Section 68 of the Indian Evidence Act. It was
further submitted that since Jagan Verma died in the year 1967 i.e. after
the enactment of Hindu Succession Act, the succession of Jagan Verma would
be governed by Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act and the High Court has
rightly held that plaintiff-Lajesh Saxena would be entitled to 1/3rd share
in the house property. Taking us through the relevant portion of the
judgment of the High Court, learned Senior Counsel submitted that the High
Court has recorded a clear finding that the house property is not “wholly
occupied” by the family members and hence rightly held that the house
property is also partable and that the respondent-plaintiff is entitled to
1/3rd share in the house property and the judgment of the High Court does
not warrant interference.

11. On the death of Bhagwan Das in 1952, a notional partition has taken
place and as per Section 82 of Madhya Bharat Land Code, his son Jagan
Verma, grandson-Ramesh Verma and wife-Jaydevi are each entitled to get
1/3rd share in the property of Bhagwan Das. On such partition when a share
has fallen to Jagan Verma, it became his separate property and no longer a
Mitakshara property. After the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 devolution of
Jagan Verma’s property is only by succession and not by survivorship.

12. We are not impressed with the submission that Section 6 of the Hindu
Succession Act, 1956 is not applicable for the devolution of property of
Jagan Verma. Section 6 deals with the question of coparcener in a
Mitakshara coparcener dying after coming into operation of the Hindu
Succession Act
, without making any testamentary disposition of his
undivided share in the joint family property. The initial part of Section
6
stresses that the Act does not interfere with the special rights of those
who are members of Mitakshara property except to the extent that it seeks
to ensure the female heirs as specified in Class I of the Schedule, a share
in the interest of a coparcener in the event of his death, by introducing
the concept of a notional partition immediately before his death. Proviso
to Section 6 operates where the deceased has left surviving him, a
daughter, or any female as specified in Class I of the Schedule. In the
case at hand, Jagan Verma has left the female heirs namely his wife
Prabhavati and daughter Lajesh Saxena and, therefore, the devolution of the
property of Jagan Verma was governed by the provisions of Hindu Succession
Act
and the High Court rightly increased the share of Jagan Verma’s
daughter Lajesh Saxena.

13. A Will like any other document is to be proved in terms of the
provisions of Section 68 of the Indian Succession Act and the Evidence Act.
The propounder of the Will is called upon to show by satisfactory evidence
that the Will was signed by the testator, that the testator at the relevant
time was in a sound and disposing state of mind, that he understood the
nature and effect of the disposition and put his signature to the document
on his own free will and the document shall not be used as evidence until
one attesting witness at least has been called for the purpose of proving
its execution. This is the mandate of Section 68 of the Evidence Act and
the position remains the same even in a case where the opposite party does
not specifically deny the execution of the document in the written
statement.

14. In Savithri v. Karthyayani Amma reported as (2007) 11 SCC 621 at page
629, this Court has held as under:-

“A Will like any other document is to be proved in terms of the provisions
of the Succession Act and the Evidence Act. The onus of proving the Will
is on the propounder. The testamentary capacity of the testator must also
be established. Execution of the Will by the testator has to be proved.
At least one attesting witness is required to be examined for the purpose
of proving the execution of the Will. It is required to be shown that the
Will has been signed by the testator with his free will and that at the
relevant time he was in sound disposing state of mind and understood the
nature and effect of the disposition. It is also required to be
established that he has signed the Will in the presence of two witnesses
who attested his signature in his presence or in the presence of each
other. Only when there exists suspicious circumstances, the onus would be
on the propounder to explain them to the satisfaction of the Court before
it can be accepted as genuine.”

15. It is not necessary for us to delve at length to the facts of the
matter as also the evidence adduced by the parties before the High Court.
Suffice it to note that the execution of the Wills has to be proved in
accordance with Section 68 of the Indian Evidence Act.

16. Insofar as the execution of the first Will dated 07.12.1969 is
concerned, the witnesses Shyam Mohan Bhatnagar and scribe Mahesh Narayan
have stated that the testator Jaydevi executed the Will and witnesses Shyam
Mohan and R.P. Johri have signed. Witness Johri was the brother-in-law of
Ramesh Verma and thus interested witness. Scribe Mahesh Narayan is known to
mother-in-law of Ramesh Verma. After referring to their evidence, High
Court held that execution of the Will has not been proved. Further, the
High Court in its judgment has pointed out the contradictions in their
evidences and recorded the factual finding that the Will could not have
been executed in the manner as alleged by the witnesses. We do not find any
reason to interference with the factual findings recorded by the High
Court.

17. Likewise, insofar as the findings recorded by the High Court
regarding Will Exhibit D/1-Will dated 23.10.1977, the same was said to have
been notarized by the neighbour of Ramesh Verma, namely, Bhagwati Prasad
Singhal and said to have been attested by Shivaji Rao Tambat. In respect of
Will Exhibit D/1 also, after referring to the evidence that Ramesh Verma
told that there is a Will and hence witnesses and Prabhavati signed the
Will, the High Court has recorded factual finding that Ramesh has manouvred
the Will and the execution of Exhibit D/1 Will is not acceptable. We do
not find any reason to interfere with the factual findings arrived at by
the High Court.

18. Insofar as the submissions of the learned Senior Counsel regarding
the dwelling house property are concerned, the High Court in its judgment
in paragraphs 17 and 18 has pointed out that a portion of the house
property has been let out. After referring to the evidence of Ramesh
Verma, it has been pointed out by the High Court that presently the
bungalow (Kothi) is now let out for marriage purposes and at the time of
his giving evidence rent of Rs.400 per day was collected.

19. As rightly submitted by learned Senior Counsel for the respondents
the expression dwelling house “wholly occupied” occurring in Section 23 of
the Hindu Succession Act assumes importance. When it is brought in
evidence that the house property is not wholly occupied by the family
members and the High Court was right in holding that the house property is
also available for partition and the deceased plaintiff Lajesh Saxena is
entitled to 1/3rd share. The findings recorded by the High Court are based
upon facts and evidence and are unimpeachable and we do not find any reason
to interfere with the conclusion arrived at by the High Court.

20. Accordingly, the appeals are liable to be dismissed and they are
dismissed. Parties are to bear their respective costs.

………………..J
[R.K. AGRAWAL]

………………J.

[R. BANUMATHI]

November 24, 2016;

New Delhi.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Not found ...? HOW TO WIN 498a, DV, DIVORCE; Search in Above link

All Law documents and Judgment copies
Laws and Bare Acts of India
Landmark SC/HC Judgements
Rules and Regulations of India.

STUDY REPORTS

Copyright © 2021 SC and HC Judgments Online at MyNation
×

Free Legal Help, Just WhatsApp Away

MyNation HELP line

We are Not Lawyers, but No Lawyer will give you Advice like We do

Please read Group Rules – CLICK HERE, If You agree then Please Register CLICK HERE and after registration  JOIN WELCOME GROUP HERE

We handle Women Centric biased laws like False Sectioin 498A IPC, Domestic Violence(DV ACT), Divorce, Maintenance, Alimony, Child Custody, HMA 24, 125 CrPc, 307, 312, 313, 323, 354, 376, 377, 406, 420, 497, 506, 509; TEP, RTI and many more…

MyNation FoundationMyNation FoundationMyNation Foundation