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Bhaiya Ji Vs. Jageshwar Dayal Bajpai - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectFamily;Property
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Revn. No. 759 of 1974
Judge
Reported inAIR1978All268
ActsSuccession Act, 1925 - Sections 57, 213, 213(2) and 214
AppellantBhaiya Ji
RespondentJageshwar Dayal Bajpai
Appellant AdvocateK.N. Bajpai, Adv.
Respondent AdvocateV.P. Goel, Adv.
DispositionRevision dismissed
Excerpt:
.....57, 213 and 214 of indian succession act, 1925 - suit by petitioner for recovery of amount bequeathed by will - whether a probate or succession certificate is required to be obtained before decree can be passed in favour of plaintiff - combined effect of section 57 and 213 is that an executor or legatee has to obtain a probate of will only in case of will executed by hindu in respect of immovable property situated within territory of bengal, bombay and madras - recovery of debt to a deceased person can be made only by holder of documents mentioned in section 214 - claims made on survivorship or in respect of rent revenue or profits payable are exceptions. - - there is nothing in section 214 like sub-section (2) of section 213 laying down that the provisions of this act could not..........not apply to hindu wills. the court has been debarred from passing a decree against a debtor of a deceased person for payment of his debt to a person claiming on succession to be entitled to the effects of the deceased person or to any part thereof except on the production, by the person so claiming, of one of the things mentioned in clauses (i) to (iv). the purpose of section 214 is to make clear that no debt to a deceased person can be recovered through the court except by a holder of one of the documents specified, the only exception being either whether the claim is made on survivorship, or whether it is in respect of rent, revenue or profits payable in respect of land used for agricultural purposes. section 214 does not make, as already said above, any distinction between hindus,.....
Judgment:
ORDER

K.C. Agarwal, J.

1. This revision is directed against the judgment of the Civil Judge, Etawah, dated 30th Oct. 1973, deciding Issue No. 6 against Bhaiyaji alias Nagendra Prasad Bajpai the applicant.

2. Briefly stated, the facts necessary to appreciate the controversy are these. One Smt. Bitto Kuer was the aunt of the plaintiffs. She owned considerable property. Jageshwar Dayal (since deceased), who was impleaded as defendant in the suit, used to manage the same. During the lifetime of Smt. Bitto Kuer, the defendant made negotiations on her behalf for the sale of her properties, which ultimately fructified. On the transfer having been made by Smt. Bitto Kuer, the defendant received a sum of Rs. 11,000/- on her behalf. Smt. Bitto Kuer, however, died on 14-8-1971. During her lifetime she executed a will bequeathing her estate including the amount in question to the plaintiffs. In the suit, the plaintiffs claimed the said amount on the basis of the will.

3. The suit was contested by the defendant Jageshwar Dayal. He raised a number of grounds. I am, however, not concerned with all of them, excepting one which was to the effect that the plaintiffs could not get the decree without obtaining a probate or a succession certificate.

4. The trial court framed Issue No. 6 as a preliminary issue on the above controversy, and taking the view that the plaintiffs could not get the decree in the suit without producing a probate or a succession certificate, decided the issue against them. Aggrieved, the plaintiffs preferred a revision before the learned District Judge. The revision was dismissed by the impugned order dated 4-5-1974. Hence this second revision.

5. The sole controversy which arises for determination in this case is whether a probate or succession certificate was required to be obtained by the plaintiffs before a decree could be granted in their favour. Sri K. K. Bajpai, counsel appearing for the plaintiffs, contended that as the provisions of Section 214 read with Section 213 of the Indian Succession Act did not apply to a Hindu living in Uttar Pradesh, the courts below committed an error in holding that the suit of the plaintiffs could not be decreed without obtaining a probate or succession certificate.

6. In order to appreciate the above controversy, reference may be made to Section 57 read with Section 213 of the Indian Succession Act. A reading of the aforesaid two provisions would indicate that the provisions of Section 213 requiring an executor or legatee to obtain a probate of the will under which the right is claimed shall only apply in case of wills made by any Hindu, Budhist, Sikh or Jain where such wills are of the classes specified in Clauses (a) and (b) of Section 57. Clauses (a) and (b) of Section 57 would indicate that these provisions are applicable to all wills and codicils made by any Hindu, Budhist, Sikh or Jain within the territories mentioned in Clause (a) and also to all such wills and condicils made outside those territories and limits so far as the same related to immovable property situated within these territories or limits. A combined reading of these two provisions would show that where the parties to the will are Hindus but the properties in dispute are not in Bengal, Bombay and Madras, Sub-section (2) of Section 213 of the Indian Succession Act applies and Sub-section (1) has no application. As a consequence, a probate will not be required to be obtained by a Hindu in respect of a will made regarding the immovable properties situate in Uttar Pradesh. The same view was taken by our High Court in Nobat Ram v. Smt. Gyatri Devi (1968 All LJ 69).

7. The question involved in the instant case is however, different. Here the problem which arises for decision is whether Section 214 of the Indian Succession Act applies or not. There is nothing in Section 214 like Sub-section (2) of Section 213 laying down that the provisions of this Act could not apply to Hindu wills. The court has been debarred from passing a decree against a debtor of a deceased person for payment of his debt to a person claiming on succession to be entitled to the effects of the deceased person or to any part thereof except on the production, by the person so claiming, of one of the things mentioned in Clauses (i) to (iv). The purpose of Section 214 is to make clear that no debt to a deceased person can be recovered through the court except by a holder of one of the documents specified, the only exception being either whether the claim is made on survivorship, or whether it is in respect of rent, revenue or profits payable in respect of land used for agricultural purposes. Section 214 does not make, as already said above, any distinction between Hindus, and non-Hindus. It treats everybody alike. The only necessary thing is that there should be a relationship of debtor and creditor between the person from whom money is claimed and the deceased at the time of the latter's death. It may, however, be pointed out that Section 214 does not debar the filing of the suit. It merely debars a court from passing a decree. If a suit has been filed, the court is forbidden from passing a decree on the basis of a debt against the debtor of the deceased. Reference in this, connection may be made to a decision of a Division Bench of this Court in Kundan Lal v. Banwari Lal (1969 All LJ 946).

8. Learned counsel for the applicants, however, contended that the decision given in Kundan Lal's case (1969 All LJ 946) (supra) is in conflict with the earlier decision of Nobat Ram (1968 All LJ 69), (supra) and that as Nobat Ram's decision was not overruled in Kundan Lal's case I should refer the matter to a larger Bench. I am unable to accede to the request of the learned counsel. As already noticed, the controversy involved in Nobat Ram's case was with regard to the applicability of Section 213. In that case, the claim made was of immovable properties situated in U. P. and not a debt. Accordingly, relying on Sub-section (2) of Section 213, the learned Civil Judge held that a probate was not required to be obtained. In the case of Kundan Lal (supra), however, the claim preferred was for the recovery of money on the basis of a mortgage debt. In Kundan Lal's case, the Division Bench was not called upon to consider Section 213. The similar position obtains in the present case. The suit of the plaintiffs was for the recovery of a debt alleged to be due to the deceased. Hence, the two cases are distinguishable from each other.

9. The other point urged by the learned counsel for the applicants that the suit was not filed on the basis of succession and, therefore, Section 214 did not apply, does not require an elaborate discussion Inasmuch as it is clear that the expression 'on succession' used in Section 214 covers a case of a person claiming right on the basis of will as well.

10. In the result, the revision fails and is dismissed with costs.


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