19H. Notice of applications for probate or letters of administration to be given to Revenue-authorities; and procedure thereon. –
(1) Where an application for probate or letters of administration is made to any Court other than a High Court, the Court shall cause notice of the application to be given to the Collector.
(2) Where such an application as aforesaid is made to a High Court, the High Court shall cause notice of the application to be given to the Chief Controlling Revenue-authority [(Note: Subs. by Act 10 of 1901, s.3(2), for “of the Province”) for the local area in which the High Court is situated].
(3) The Collector within the local limits of whose revenue-jurisdiction the property of the deceased or any part thereof is, may at any time inspect or cause to be inspected, and take or cause to be taken copies of, the record of any case in which application for probate or letters of administration has been made ; and if, on such inspection or otherwise, he is of opinion that the petitioner has under estimated the value of the property of the deceased, the Collector may, if he thinks fit, require the attendance of the petitioner (either in person or by agent) and take evidence and inquire into the matter in such manner as he may think fit, and, if he is still of opinion that the value of the property has been under-estimated, may require the petitioner to amend the valuation.
(4) If the petitioner does not amend the valuation to the satisfaction of the Collector, the Collector may move the Court before which the application for probate or letters of administration was made, to hold an inquiry into the true value of the property :
Provided that no such motion shall be made after the expiration of six months from the date of the exhibition of the inventory required by section 277 of the (Note: See now the Indian Succession Act, 1925 (39 of 1925) Indian Succession Act, 1865, or, s the case may be, by section 98 of the Probate and Administration Act, 1881.
(5) The Court, when so moved as aforesaid, shall hold, or cause to be held, an inquiry accordingly, and shall record a finding as to the true value, as near as may be, at which the property of the deceased should have been estimated. The Collector shall be deemed to be a party to the inquiry.
(6) For the purposes of any such inquiry, the Court or person authorized by the Court to hold the inquiry may examine the petitioner for probate or letters of administration on oath (whether in person or by commission), and may take such further evidence as may be produced to prove the true value of the property. The person authorized as aforesaid to hold the inquiry shall return to the Court the evidence taken by him and report the result of the inquiry, and such report and the evidence taken by him and report the result of the inquiry, and such report and the evidence so taken shall be evidence in the proceeding, and the Court may record a finding in accordance with the report, unless it is satisfied that it is erroneous.
(7) The finding of the Court recorded under sub-section (5) shall be final, but shall not bar the entertainment and disposal by the Chief Controlling Revenue-authority of any application under section 19E.
(8) The State Government may make rules for the guidance of Collectors in the exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (3).
It has been that for valuation of property in respect of an application for letters of administration the court cannot decide the same without carrying out an inquiry. Lakshmi Prasak vs Badri Ram – AIR 1985 PAT 119.
It has been held that it is incumbent upon the Collector to afford an opportunity by giving notice to the petitioner and hearing him for probate. Only after such hearing the Collector can make the valuation of property in question. Trambak Lal Dayalal Kothari vs L.K. Dey – AIR 1982 CAL 217.