M.C. Desai, J.
1. This is an appeal from an order of a District Judge granting probate of a will purported to have been executed on 17-11-1936 by one Deo Saran Rai in the presence of four attesting witnesses including Sri Ram Vishal Misra, Jang Bahadur Rai and Raghuraj Singh. The grant of probate was opposed by the appellants on several grounds all of which were reject-ed by the learned District Judge.
2. In this appeal only one ground was pressed before me and it is that the application for probate by the respondents was not verified by at least one of the attesting witnesses of the will as required under S- 281 of the Succession Act. Sri Ram Vishal Misra was actually examined in Court and Raghuraj Singh and Jang Bahadur Rai apparently were alive when the petition was filed (they had been summoned as witnesses by one of the parties in this case), but not one of the witnesses verified the petition and there is no explanation in the petition itself for the non-verification. So it was contended that the application should have been dismissed for non-compliance with the provision of. Section 281 of the Succession Act.
3. Verification of a petition required under Section 281 is similar to verification required of pleadings, including a plaint, under Order VI, Rule 15, C. P. C., and has no greater effect or value. Omission to verify, or defective verification of, a pleading is a mere irregularity within Section 99, C. P. C. and is never fatal. The provision of Section 281 of the Succession Act is less drastic than that of Order VI, Rule 15 and an omission to verify, or a defective verification of, a petition for probate cannot have a more serious effect than that of a plaint. A pleading must be verified by the party or by some other person acquainted with the facts of the case; a petition for probate is, however, required to be verified by an attesting witness. A petitioner for probate has no legal authority over an attesting witness and cannot Compel him to verify the petition.
He may be bound to get the petition verified but an attesting witness is not bound to verify it at his instance and he would be helpless if the latter for any reason refuses to verify it even though it contains nothing but the facts. Therefore, the Legislature has deliberately laid down that the petition should be verified only if an attesting witness is procurable, that is, can be procured by the petition for the purpose of verification. If a petition is not verified by an attesting witness, the petitioner can always excuse himself on the ground that he could not procure any attesting witness to verify it. I, therefore, respectfully agree with the view expressed in Rama Sinha v. Murtibai, 68 Ind Cas 940: (AIR 1923 Nag 41) (A), that the provision in Section 281 is merely directory and not mandatory, i.e., non-compliance with it was not intended to lead to the rejection of the petition.
4. No other argument was advanced and the appeal is dismissed with costs.