Statutory definitions

Settlement

Settlement means an instrument other than a will or codicil as defined by the Indian Succession Act, 1925 (39 of 1925), whereby the destination or devolution of successive interests in movable or immovable property is disposed of or is agreed to be disposed of;

The Specific Relief Act, 1963


(i) J. Kuppuswami Mudali and Others Vs. Mahalingam, wherein Madras High Court held that when a property is settled under a registered settlement deed and the settlee accepting the transfer by the settlement deed is presumed to be acted upon once settlee accepts transfer, the delivery of possession is not necessary. Further, held that the settlement cannot be cancelled once deed of settlement is acted upon.

(ii) S. Ganesan Vs. Bharathirajan, wherein Madras High Court held that unilateral cancellation of settlement deed is void. Further, the settlement deed would not be invalidated on the ground that possession was not handed over to the donee or because donee failed to mutate records in his favour.

(iii) Ananthi Vs. Ponnammal @ Vijayalakshmi, whereinMadras High Court held that title to the property cannot be established by Municipal Extracts and Tax receipts. The factum of adoption can be established by school leaving certificate and certain invitations relating to adopted daughter in respect of the estate of the adoptive father.

(iv) Ignatia Brito and Others Vs. T.P. Rego and Others, wherein a Division Bench of Madras High Court held that a primary test of whether any particular document is a Will or not is whether or not it is revocable. If it is irrevocable then it cannot be a Will. Another test is that of whether a document confers an immediate right to property. Where a document is not a Will under both these tests and is registered as a settlement deed when as a Will, it would not have required registration, the provision for unborn children and the appointment of the wife of the executant to perform functions such as might be performed by an executrix under a Will, will not change the deed for settlement into Will.

(v) Ramaswami Naidu Vs. M.S. Velappan and Others, wherein a Division Bench of this court held that if any instrument expressly made is not revocable, the said document should be construed as settlement deed.

(vi) Dhanalakshmi, T. Ravikumar, T. Geetha and T. Saravanan Vs. S. Thangavelu, wherein Madras High Court held that when a document contemplates instant disposition and the said document convey specifically, clearly and absolutely such instant disposition and transfer of interest in property in praesenti in favour of the beneficiary under the document, clearly establishes it is only a settlement and cannot be construed as a Will.

(vii) M. Venkatasubbaiah Vs. M. Subbamma and Others wherein Andhra Pradesh High Court held that even if there is a condition that the donee should maintain the donor and if he fails to maintain the donor, the gift deed cannot be revoked for neglecting to maintain the donor.

D.V. Loganathan Vs. Sub-Registrar and Another, Madras High Court has held as follows:

“6. In fact the registration of cancellation of the Settlement Deed is against the Public Policy as it was not open to the Sub-Registrar to register the cancellation of the Deed, when the Settlement Deed is unconditional and irrevocable. If at all the party who has executed the document is aggrieved by the Settlement Deed, he could have very well approached the Civil Court to set it aside, but certainly could not unilaterally cancel it, by getting the Deed of Cancellation registered with the Sub-Registrar. The Cancellation Deed and its registration, therefore, being without jurisdiction, is liable to be set aside.

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