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Smt. Jagat Nandini and anr. Vs. Inder Pal - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectInsurance
CourtAllahabad High Court
Decided On
Case NumberFirst Appeal from Order No. 172 of 1978
Judge
Reported in[1986]60CompCas272(All)
ActsInsurance Act, 1938 - Sections 39 and 44(2); Indian Succession Act, 1925 - Sections 372
AppellantSmt. Jagat Nandini and anr.
Respondentinder Pal
DispositionAppeal allowed
Excerpt:
- - it is also urged that the application made by him for revocation is not covered under any of the clauses of section 383 of the indian succession act, 1925, and that yogesh kumar, who, too, was a nominee under the policy, was as well an applicant for the succession certificate......namely, yogesh kumar. he also left four daughters. on or about august 1, 1975, an application for succession certificate under section 372 of the indian succession act, 1925, was made by smt. jagat nandini, appellant no. 1, for herself and as guardian for appellant no. 2 (yogesh kumar). in the application, the four aforesaid daughters were also mentioned against column 3. inder pal, the respondent, it appears, was a nominee under the policy; yogesh kumar, appellant no. 2, son of dina nath sachan, was a co-nominee along with inder pal. succession certificate was granted in favour of the applicant on december 23, 1976. the respondent applied thereafter under section 383 of the indian succession act, 1925, for revocation of the succession certificate. this application of the respondent has.....
Judgment:

P.D. Agrawal, J.

1. The dispute in this appeal lies within a narrow compass. One Dina Nath Sachan died on May 23, 1973. During his lifetime, Dina Nath Sachan had obtained a life insurance policy for a sum of Rs. 50,000 and the policy is dated April 28, 1971. The deceased left his widow, who is appellant No. 1 before us, and a minor son impleaded as appellant No. 2, namely, Yogesh Kumar. He also left four daughters. On or about August 1, 1975, an application for succession certificate under Section 372 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925, was made by Smt. Jagat Nandini, appellant No. 1, for herself and as guardian for appellant No. 2 (Yogesh Kumar). In the application, the four aforesaid daughters were also mentioned against column 3. Inder Pal, the respondent, it appears, was a nominee under the policy; Yogesh Kumar, appellant No. 2, son of Dina Nath Sachan, was a co-nominee along with Inder Pal. Succession certificate was granted in favour of the applicant on December 23, 1976. The respondent applied thereafter under Section 383 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925, for revocation of the succession certificate. This application of the respondent has been allowed under the impugned order dated January 17, 1978, passed by the Second Civil Judge, Kanpur, whereas in modification of the succession certificate earlier granted, the court directed that the respondent is entitled to one-half of the decretal amount and has also required the Life Insurance Corporation to pay the amount under the policy accordingly to the respondent.

2. Aggrieved, the appellants have approached this court.

3. Learned counsel for the appellants contends that in the capacity as the nominee, the respondent could have no right to claim succession certificate for himself. It is also urged that the application made by him for revocation is not covered under any of the clauses of Section 383 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925, and that Yogesh Kumar, who, too, was a nominee under the policy, was as well an applicant for the succession certificate. From the side of the respondent it has been argued that the person entitled to receive the amount covered under the policy is the respondent in the capacity as the nominee and in the presence and in whose favour the succession certificate has been granted.

4. Having heard learned counsel for the parties, there is no room to doubt any longer that the capacity of the nominee under the life insurance policy is purely that of an agent. He collects the amounts from the insurer and pays it to the persons entitled to receive the same and, as such, gets no interest to the estate of the deceased. He is not even a beneficiary in respect of the estate left by the deceased. This has been made amply clear by the law laid down by the Supreme Court in Smt. Sarbati Devi v. Smt. Usha Devi [1984] 55 Comp Cas 214 (SC), which has affirmed the Full Bench decision of this court in Raja Ram v. Mata Prasad [1973] 43 Comp Cas 53 (All) [FB]. This proposition indeed is not disputed from the side of the respondent before me. It was submitted, however, that since the respondent is considered as an agent, the succession could not have been issued in favour of the appellants. I am unable to agree. Since the persons entitled to succeed to the estate of the deceased would be the heirs under the concerned law in case the assured died intestate, the respondent can lay no claim to any share in the estate. The amount covered under the policy becomes part and parcel of the estate of the deceased and to this estate the persons entitled to recover shall only be those who are heirs either under the personal law governing the same or under a will in case the deceased left any. For the respondent, the averment made in the application which he moved for revocation was that the certificate had been obtained fraudulently inasmuch as it was not disclosed that the premium under the policy was paid out of the private business of the respondent under the belief that his half share would be paid on the maturity of the policy as he had been named therein as co-nominee. According to him, as stated in the application, the policy amount represents the profits of the business in which the respondent had half share. Without entering into the veracity or otherwise of these averments, suffice it to say that this cannot constitute one of the grounds for revocation of the succession certificate as is manifest on a perusal of Section 383 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925. None of the clauses thereunder can be said even remotely to enable the respondent to seek revocation of the succession certificate, which has been issued in favour of the appellants. In case the respondent has any claim over the policy amount, he may proceed against these heirs representing the estate of the deceased. But on that account he cannot lay claim for himself to the grant of succession certificate in full or even in part.

5. Learned counsel for the respondent relying upon Kesari Devi v. Dharma Devi [1963] 33 Comp Cas 93 (All) submitted that in view of the observations made therein, the person entitled to receive the insurance amount is the respondent and not the appellants. In that case, the dispute was as between the widow of the assured on the one hand and the widow of the nominee on the other. The view taken appears to have been that in the circumstances, the person entitled to obtain the amount shall be the widow left by the nominee. This cannot be said to hold the field any longer in view of what was decided by a Full Bench of this court later in Raja Ram v. Mata Prasad [1973] 43 Comp Cas 53 (All) [FB] and in the face of the law laid down by the Supreme Court in Sarbati Devi's case [1984] 55 Comp Cas 214 (SC) in paragraphs 4 and 6 of this decision, it is manifest that the view of this court in Kesari Devi's case [1963] 33 Comp Cas 93 (All) can no longer be said to be justified. As against heirs entitled to the estate of the deceased, the nominee cannot have a superior right. In so far as the daughters of Dina Nath Sachan are concerned, all of them were arrayed as parties in the application made for succession certificate. None of them raised objection or claim as against these, who prayed for succession certificate being granted to them. The respondent, it is worthy of note, did not seek revocation on the ground that the daughters of Dina Nath Sachan have been deprived of the interest in the amount. The ground on which he relied for revocation was that he had a share in the premium money and, therefore, the policy amount ought to be paid to him in his right and not to those who under the personal law governing the parties succeed to the estate. This is unacceptable.

6. Consideration being had to the above, in my opinion, the order made by the court below whereby succession certificate granted on December 23, 1976, was revoked impugned in appeal is incapable of being sustained.

7. The appeal succeeds accordingly and is allowed. The order dated. January 17, 1978, passed by the Second Civil Judge, Kanpur, is set aside. Costs on parties. Respondent's application for revocation of the succession certificate shall stand rejected.


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