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Chunilal Kothari and ors. Vs. Smt. Gopi Devi Mimani and ors. - Court Judgment

LegalCrystal Citation
SubjectCivil
CourtSupreme Court of India
Decided On
Case NumberCivil Appeal No. 1608 of 1966
Judge
Reported in1969(1)LC683(SC)
ActsIndian Succession Act - Sections 254
AppellantChunilal Kothari and ors.
RespondentSmt. Gopi Devi Mimani and ors.
DispositionAppeal dismissed
Excerpt:
.....- letter of administration - section 254 of indian succession act - suit filed by respondent for grant of letters of administration to estate of her father - she claimed to be sole heir since her mother was insane - appellants opposed said claim of respondent for grant of letter of administration - appellants contended that respondent was illiterate person and was incapable of managing property - court observed that respondent was natural daughter of deceased - she was presumptive heir - any other person or administrator general not entitled to letter of administration - court granted letter of administration to respondent. - order 8 rule 5: [s.b. sinha & dr. mukundakam sharma, jj] written statement - averments in plaint not traversed in written statement held, same would be..........circumstances obtaining in the present case the grant should have been made in favour of the administrator general and not to respondent no. 1. we are entirely at a loss to understand how in the presence of the natural daughter of the deceased who could fully protect and look after the estate not only in the interest of her insane mother but also in her own personal interest as she is the presumptive heir any other person or even the administrator general should have been granted letters of administration. the high court has looked at all the relevant statutory provisions contained in the indian succession act as also the english practice and nothing has been pointed out to us which can persuade us to interfere with the order which has been made. it has been directed by the high court.....
Judgment:

Grover, J.

1. This is an appeal by certificate from a judgment of the Calcutta High Court arising out of an original suit filed by the respondent for grant of letters of administration to the estate of her father late Meghraj Kothari.

2. The following genealogical table shows the relationship of the parties ;

Routhmull @ Bulakidas Kothari (d) Mathura Bai widow

Pannalal Kothari (d)

|

-------------------------------------------------------------------

| | | | |

Meghraj (d) Kissengopal Chunilal Heerall Kanhaiyalal

| | |

| | |

Gohurbai widow | Girdharilal (alleged)

lunatic since 1944 | adopted by Meghraj but

| | adoption not proved.

| ----------------

| | |

| Sri.Gopal Har Godal

|

|

----------------------------

| |

Gopidevi(daughter) Girdharilal (alleged)

adoptedson. but adoption

not proved.

Meghraj Kothari died on April 18, 1953 in Calcutta. In May 1953 respondent No. 1. Smt. Gopi Devi Mimani filed a petition in the High Court for an order that letters of administration to the estate of the deceased be granted to her having effect throughout the Union of India. She claimed to be the sole heir and legal representative of the deceased and it was stated in her application that since Smt. Goharbai, her mother, was insane a right be reserved for her to apply for grant of letters of administration in the event of her gaming sanity bat that her right to maintenance and residence be declared to from a charge upon the assets of the deceased A special citation was issued to the appellants Chumlal, Heeralal and Kanhaiyalal and respondents Shri Gopal and Hargopal. A special citation was also issued to one Smt. Mathurabai. Upon receipt of the special citation the appellants and respondent Shri Gopal entered caveats and Smt. Mathurabai opposed the said application of respondent No. 1 for grant of letters of administration in her favour. An affidavit was filed on behalf of Smt. Goharbai through her brother Gangadas Binani to the effect that she was the sole her of the deceased. However, the prayer of respondent No. 1 was supported by Gangadas Benani for grant being made to her subject to the right of residence and maintenance of Smt. Goharbai. The matter remained pending till May 1962 when P. C. Mahk, J., made an order granting letters of administration to the estate of the deceased not to respondent No. 1 but to Gangadas Benani the brother of her mother who was the widow of the deceased. The appellants preferred an appeal which was disposed of in February 1964. Learned Judges Constituting the division bench enquired from the counsel for respondent No. 1 whether she was willing to admit that Smt. Goharbai was the sole heir of the estate of Megh-raj Kothari and whether she was prepared to admit her claim. On February 17, 1964 an affidavit was allowed to be filed by to that effect. A direction, was made issuing a limited grant to respondent No. 1 under Section 254 of the Indian Succession Act.

3. The sole argument raised on behalf of the appellants is that respondent No. 1 was not a fit person for the grant of letters of administration to the -estate of the deceased because she had throughout been denying the right of the real heir, namely, her mother who as a widow of the deceased was entitled to succeed to his estate. Secondly she was an illiterate person and was incapable of managing any property. The real person who would get complete control of the estate would be her husband who was hostile to the appellants. This is how the division bench of the High Court dealt with the matter.

'It is necessary and convenient to appoint Gopi Devi to administer the estate having regard to the consanguinity, amount of interest, the safety of the estate and probability, that it will be properly administered by her. She is the daughter and the only child of the deceased and of Goharbai who on account of her lunacy is not competent to apply for the grant. On account of her natural affection for her mother, she is the person most likely to look after the interest of Goharbai. She is the heir presumptive of Goharbai. Having regard to her interest she will look after the safety of the estate, and is likely to administer it properly'.

4. In our opinion no possible exception can be taken to the view of the High Court. None of the appellants can have any better claim nor has such claim been made to the grant of the letters of administration to the estate of the deceased. All that has been submitted is that in the circumstances obtaining in the present case the grant should have been made in favour of the Administrator General and not to respondent No. 1. We are entirely at a loss to understand how in the presence of the natural daughter of the deceased who could fully protect and look after the estate not only in the interest of her insane mother but also in her own personal interest as she is the presumptive heir any other person or even the Administrator General should have been granted letters of administration. The High Court has looked at all the relevant statutory provisions contained in the Indian Succession Act as also the English practice and nothing has been pointed out to us which can persuade us to interfere with the order which has been made. It has been directed by the High Court that respondent No. 1 should furnish security to the satisfaction of the Registrar, Original Side, to the extent of Rs. 2,75, 500. The Grant is limited for the use and benefit of Smt. Goharbai until she becomes of sound mind. Thus her interests have been fully safeguard.

The appeal is wholly devoid of merit and is dismissed with costs.


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