WILL: Shrouded in Mystery

Judgement on will

There have been numerous cases where the Will of a person has been questioned by the courts. It is not uncommon for the High Court to find it suspicious and dispel the wishes of the testator only to be reversed by the Apex Court. A very similar situation took place in Mahesh Kumar (D) By Lrs. vs Vinod Kumar & Ors on 13 March, 2012. Honorable Justice G.S. Singhvi reversed the judgment given by a single judge in Madhya Pradesh High Court.

Although the apex court did agree with High Court that the will was shrouded in mystery however the Apex Court’s interpretation of will deemed it genuine and gave validity to its execution.  To quote Justice Sanghvi, “The fact that the appellant was present at the time of execution of Will dated 10.2.1992 and that the testator did not give anything to respondent Nos. 1 and 2 from his share in the joint family property are not decisive of the issue relating to genuineness or validity of the Will. The evidence produced by the parties unmistakably show that respondent No. 2 had separated from the family in 1965 after taking his share and respondent No. 1 also got his share in the 2nd partition which took place in 1985.”

The important part to notice here is that while taking into consideration if a will seems to be suspicious, then it is up to the appellate to dispel any suspicion.

The High Court strongly felt that the appellate failed to dispel the suspicion they had and the will was suspicious as even the Apex Court had to go into great depth before over-ruling the judgment.

In and all the most important part of this judgment is the fact that if a reasonable doubt or suspicion has been raised by the court, the burden of proof shall be with the executor of will (who is also the beneficiary).

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