1. The only question for decision in this regular second appeal filed by the plaintiff is whether the unregistered will, Exhibit DI. dated 13-5-1958, propounded by Surjit Singh defendant-respondent, No. 1 is a genuine document executed by Smt. Raj Kaur, widow of Sham singh while she was of a sound disposing mind. Raj Kaur had died about seven months after the date that the will bears. The finding of fact on the point cannot be easily disturbed in second appeal unless it can be shown that there was a gross misappreciation or misappraisal by the lower appellate Court of the evidence examined by the parties.
2. Raj Kaur's husband has died more than twenty years before her. Lal Singh Plaintiff-appellant and Waryam Singh defendant-respondent No. 2 were the real brothers of Raj Kaur's deceased husband. Surjit Singh defendant-respondent 1 is Raj Kaur's brother's grandson. By the disputed will Raj Kaur may appear to have preferred her own relations to that of her deceased husband who had died more than two decades earlier. This may, therefore, appear to be a natural disposition of the property. The appellant's real brother, who would have made a common cause with the appellant if the will had been a forgery had filed a joint written statement with the legatee conceding that the will propounded by Surjit Singh defendant-respondent was a genuine document. The appellant's brother may, therefore, appear to have been making a statement against his own pecuniary and proprietary interest. This by itself may appear to be a guarantee about the genuineness of the unregistered will propounded by defendant-respondent No.1.
3. The two attesting witnesses and the scribe of the will had been examined by Surjit Singh. The scribe is a teacher who is not shown to be in any manner interested in the parties. One of the attesting witnesses is a Sarpanch. There is nothing much to be said against these witnesses. If Surjit Singh was looking after the old widow as recited in the will, then there was nothing unnatural in the lady having been taken to village Chaudhriwala where the legatee's wife was reported to be lying ill in her parents house. One other reason given for taking the old lady to village Chaudhriwala was that the legatee had two brothers in village Budhni and the desire to keep the will a secret from them was that no bad blood may be created between the brothers. It is not easy for old people living in small villages to visit the tehsil or district headquarters to get such documents scribed by licensed petition-writers or to have them registered. The faulty reasoning of the trial court has been duly commented upon by the learned court of first appeal and I am inclined to agree with these comments.
4. The legatee's presence at the time of the execution of the will and his active participation in calling the scribe and the witnesses cannot be described as such an exercise of undue influence that the wishes of the deceased could be ignored. Shri Sarin, the learned counsel for the appellant, has relied on H. Venkatachala Ivengar v. B. N. Thimmajamma AIR 1959 SC 443, Ramachandra v. Champabai, AIR 1965 SC 354, Shashi Kumar Banerjee v. Subodh Kumar Banerjee, AIR 1964 SC 529 and Gorantla Thataiah v. Thotakura Venkata Subbaiah, AIR 1968 SC 1332. In this connection If the legatee's presence or active participation could be described as suspicious circumstances, then all suspicions may appear to have been removed in this case by the naturalness of the disposition and the stance taken in the case by the appellant's own real brother Waryam Singh, defendant-respondent No.2 Shri Setia, the learned counsel for the respondents relies on a Single Bench decision of this Court in Smt. Kartar Kaur v. Gurbax Singh (1970)72 Punj LR 69. in this connection.
5. I see no grounds for interference and dismiss the appeal with costs.
6. Appeal dismissed.