It is well established that the probate court while granting probate in respect of a will decides only the question of the genuineness and validity of the will and does not go into the question of title much less decide the said question in respect of any of the items said to belong to the said estate.
Ishwardeo Narain Singh Vs. Sm. Kamta Devi and Others, wherein it is held that-
The Court of Probate is only concerned with the question as to whether the document put forward as the last will and testament of a decerned person was duty executed and attested in accordance with law and whether at the time of such execution the testator had sound disposing mind. The question whether a particular bequest is good or bad is not within the purview of the Probate Court.
Mrs. Hem Nolini Judah (since deceased) and after her Legal Representative Mr. Marlean Wilkinson Vs. Isolyne Sarojbashini Bose and Others,
It was held that questions of title tire not decided in proceedings for the grant of probate or letters of administration whatever therefore might have happened in those proceedings would not establish the title. Where on an application for letters of administration-
Questions of title are not decided in proceedings for the grant of probate or letters of administration. Whatever therefore might have happened in those proceedings would not establish the title. Where on an application for letters of administration certain preliminary issues were framed one of which related to estoppel with respect to the opposite party’s right to a property and the application was obviously dismissed under Order 27 Rule 2 Civil P.C. for the reason that the applicant did not appear no question of res judicata as to the title to that property can arise against the applicant by reason of that dismissal.
Chiranjilal Shrilal Goenka (Deceased) through Lrs. Vs. Jasjit Singh and Others, : It was held following the dictum in Ishwardeo Narain Singh’s case.
In Ishwardeo Narain Singh v. Smt. Kamta Devi this Court held that the Court of probate is only concerned with the question as to whether the document put forward as the last will and testament of a deceased person was duly executed and attested in accordance with law and whether at the time of such execution the testator had sound disposing mind. The question whether a particular bequest is good or bad is not within the purview of the probate court. Therefore the only issue in a probate proceedings relates to the genuineness and due execution of the will and the court itself is under duty to determine it and preserve the original will in its custody. The Succession Act is a self-contained code insofar as the question of making an application for probate, grant or refusal of probate or an appeal carried against the decision of the probate court. This is clearly manifested in the fascicule of the provisions of the Act. The probate proceedings shall be conducted by the probate court in the manner prescribed in the Act and in no other way. The grant of probate with a copy of the will annexed establishes conclusively as to the appointment of the executor and the valid execution of the will. Thus it does no more than establish the factum of the will and the legal character- of the executor. Probate court does not decide any question of time or of the existence of the property itself.
Ghulam Quadir v. Special Tribunal 2001 AIR SCW 4022: wherein it was held:
There cannot be any dispute to the legal proposition that the grant of probate establishes conclusively as to the appointment of the executor and the valid execution of the will However, it does not establish more than the factum of the will as probate court does not decide question of title or of the existence of the property mentioned herein.
Banarsi Dass v. Teeku Dutta ILR 2005 Kar. 3270 (SC) The Supreme Court while dealing with the scope of a succession certificate held
14. The main object of a succession certificate is to facilitate collection of debts on succession and afford protection to the parties paying debts to the representatives of deceased persons. All that the succession certificate purports to do is to facilitate the collection of debts, to regulate the administration of succession and to protect person who deal with the alleged representatives of the deceased persons. Such a certificate does not give any general power of administration on the estate of the deceased. The grant of a certificate does not establish title of the grantee as the heir of the deceased. A succession certificate is intended as noted above to protect the debtors, which means that where a debtor of a deceased person either voluntarily pays his debt to a person holding a certificate under the Act, or is compelled by the decree of a Court to pay it to the person, he is lawfully discharged. The grant of a certificate does not establish a title of the grantee as the heir of the deceased, but only furnishes him with authority to collect his debts and allows the debtors to make payments to him without incurring any risk.
S 263 ⇔ The grant of probate or letters of administration may be revoked or annulled for just cause.
Explanation. —Just cause shall be deemed to exist where—
(a)the proceedings to obtain the grant were defective in substance; or
(b)the grant was obtained fraudulently by making a false suggestion, or by concealing from the Court something material to the case; or
(c)the grant was obtained by means of an untrue allegation of a fact essential in point of law to justify the grant, though such allegation was made in ignorance or inadvertently; or
(d)the grant has become useless and inoperative through circumstances; or
(e)the person to whom the grant was made has wilfully and without reasonable cause omitted to exhibit an inventory or account in accordance with the provisions of Chapter VII of this Part, or has exhibited under that Chapter an inventory or account which is untrue in a material respect.
(i)The Court by which the grant was made had no jurisdiction.
(ii)The grant was made without citing parties who ought to have been cited.
(iii)The Will of which probate was obtained was forged or revoked.
(iv)A obtained letters of administration to the estate of B, as his widow, but it has since transpired that she was never married to him.
(v)A has taken administration to the estate of B as if he had died intestate, but a will has since been discovered.
(vi)Since probate was granted, a latter Will has been discovered.
(vii)Since probate was granted, a codicil has been discovered which revokes or adds to the appointment of executors under the Will.
(viii)The person to whom probate was, or letters of administration were, granted has subsequently become of unsound mind.
Comment: The list is not exhaustive by the way of Explanation or illustration
Indian Succession Act is the result of Consolidation of following Acts:-
(1) The Succession (Property Protection Act) Act xix of 1841
(2) The Indian Succession Act x of 1865
(3) The Parsees Intestate Succession Act xxi of 1865
(4) The Hindus Wills Act xxi of 1870
(5) The Married Women’s Property Act HI of 1874, S.2
(6) The Probate and Administration Act V of 1881, Act VI of 1889, Act II of 1890, and Act VIE of 1903.
(7) The District Delegates Act VI of 1881
(8) The Succession Certificate Act VH of 1889
(9) The Native Christian Administration of Estate Act VII of 1901
Supreme Court Judgments [on Revocation ]
More References :
- Anil Behari Ghosh Vs. Smt. Latika Bala Dassi and ors.
- Krishna Kumar Birla Vs. Rajendra Singh Lodha and Others, (2008) 3 CLT 39 : (2008) 2 CLT 550 : (2008) 3 CTC 43 : (2008) 4 JT 82 : (2008) 4 SCALE 202 : (2008) 4 SCC 300 : (2008) AIRSCW 2557
- Chiranjilal Shrilal Goenka (Deceased) through Lrs. Vs. Jasjit Singh and Others, (1993) 2 JT 341 : (1993) 2 SCALE 146 : (1993) 2 SCC 507 : (1993) 2 SCR 454
- Smt. Rukmani Devi and Others Vs. Narendra Lal Gupta, AIR 1984 SC 1866 : (1984) 2 SCALE 589 : (1985) 1 SCC 144 : (1985) 17 UJ 196
- Anil Behari Ghosh Vs. Smt. Latika Bala Dassi and Others, AIR 1955 SC 566 : (1955) 2 SCR 270
- Ishwardeo Narain Singh Vs. Sm. Kamta Devi and Others, AIR 1954 SC 280
- Mrs. Hem Nolini Judah (since deceased) and after her Legal Representative Mr. Marlean Wilkinson Vs. Isolyne Sarojbashini Bose and Others, AIR 1962 SC 1471 : (1962) 3 SCR 294 Supp
- Mrs. Nalini Navin Bhagwati and others Vs. Chandravadan M. Mehta, (1996) 8 AD 414 : AIR 1997 SC 1055 : (1996) 10 JT 258 : (1996) 8 SCALE 60 : (1997) 9 SCC 689 : (1996) 7 SCR 631 Supp : (1997) AIRSCW 1053 : (1997) 1 Supreme 57
- Harsh Dhingra Vs. State of Haryana and Others, AIR 2001 SC 3795 : (2001) 8 JT 296 : (2001) 6 SCALE 500 : (2001) 9 SCC 550 : (2001) 124 STC 586 : (2001) AIRSCW 4202 : (2001) 7 Supreme 370