A bench of Justices Abhay Oka and Amjad Sayed dismissed an appeal filed by Purshottam Raheja and upheld a ruling of Justice Roshan Dalvi passed in 2011.
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court appeal bench on Tuesday confirmed that a person who claims to have an interest in the title of a bequeathed property need not be heard by court when it is certifying the genuineness of the will.
A bench of Justices Abhay Oka and Amjad Sayed dismissed an appeal filed by Purshottam Raheja and upheld a ruling of Justice Roshan Dalvi passed in 2011, which had barred his plea to be a caveator and challenge a will left by his brother.
The HC said a claim based on title interest in the property cannot be tested in a probate petition—a petition filed in court to have a will certified as valid and genuine. Purshottam's brother Shrichand Raheja, who was in real estate and other businesses, had died in 2010 and left a will. Purshottam moved the HC with a caveat that he must be heard as a family arrangement had left him a share in the property. The land in Byculla is worth a long legal fight that the brother launched against his sister-in-law Asha Raheja and her children. He also claimed an interest, as a creditor.
Ravi Kadam, counsel for Purshottam, had argued that any slight interest gives rise to a caveatble interest, and to challenge the execution of a Will.
Counsel Pravin Samdani and Sharan Jagtiani, who appeared for the widow and her children, argued that a title claim doesn't give him caveatable interest, besides he was not even a class I heir and other heirs did not object to the Will. "If his claim is accepted, every probate plea will be converted to a suit by a creditor." A suit necessitates a trial, which means further delay in will being declared valid or invalid. Besides, Jagtiani argued that on facts, there was no evidence to back his claim of being a creditor.
The HC said he cannot file a Caveat but must proceed in a separate civil suit.
The HC however, stayed its order for 12 weeks, to enable Purshottam to go in appeal, further to the apex court.