Case BriefsHigh Courts

Jharkhand High Court: A Division Bench of Dr Ravi Ranjan, CJ and Sujit Narayan Prasad, J. addressed an appeal in which the daughter-in-law of a deceased employee of State-owned respondent company Central Coalfields Limited (CCL) sought for payment of family pension as well as other dues accrued to her mother-in-law after the death of her father-in-law.

In the present matter, the father-in-law of the appellant was an employee of the respondent company. When he died, the appellant’s mother-in-law, who was the nominee, and deceased employee’s son could not get a family pension as they both died. After their death, the appellant agitated her grievance for payment of dues. When asked to produce a succession certificate by the respondent company, she challenged it by way f filing a writ petition. The learned Single Judge dismissed the petition holding that since appellant herein was not the only legal heir upon whom the entire estate would devolve, she must obtain a succession certificate from a court of competent jurisdiction. Aggrieved thereby, the present appeal was filed.

The counsel for the appellant N.K.P. Sinha argued that the earlier writ petition was dismissed for want of impleading the other legal heirs whereas in the present case legal heirs have been brought on record but the court held that no such relief was ever sought in the writ petition filed by the writ petitioner previously. Also, the counsel contended that the daughter-in-law is entitled to receive the amount due to the absence of the original deceased employee.

The Court noted that Clause 64 of the Coal Mines Provident Fund Scheme states that the whole amount shall be payable to the person legally entitled to it and on the last proviso which further lays down that if the amount to be paid exceeds Rs 25,000 then no payment shall be made to a person unless he is in possession of succession certificate issued in his name by the competent court.

The counsel for the respondents further confirmed at the time of hearing that there is no other scheme available either today or at the time of the death of the member than the said scheme.

It was observed by the Court that there are other heirs of the deceased member upon whom the estate will devolve even as per the scheme as laid down under Clause 64 of the Coal Mines Provident Fund Scheme. Further, it was held that in such circumstances, this becomes a case of grant of succession certificate. Only upon the grant of succession certificate, one can come to the conclusion as to who would be entitled to receive the fund and in what share.

Thus, it was held by the Court that a succession certificate is important in this case. In view thereof, the appeal was dismissed for being bereft of merits. [Kamli Devi v. Central Coalfields Ltd., 2019 SCC OnLine Jhar 1945, decided on 03-12-2019]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Bombay High Court: In a case regarding the Indian Succession Act, 1925, a Division Bench of the Court comprising A.S. Oka and A.K. Menon, J.J. held that the production of a Succession Certificate is necessary for the transfer of credit from any deceased’s account to another person.

The bank had demanded a Succession Certificate from the petitioner when he went to the bank to transfer the credit in the deceased’s account under the will. The petitioner had contended that the Banks cannot insist on production of a Succession Certificate as the petitioner is making a claim on the basis of the registered will of the account holder and that it was not mandatory for the petitioner to obtain letters of administration on the basis of the will since the deceased was not a resident of Mumbai and the will doesn’t affect any property in Mumbai, placing reliance on the decisions of the Court in view of express provisions of Section 57 of the Succession Act.

The Court rejected the petition and held that the bank had not erred in its decision to not transfer the credit without a Succession Certificate as that serves as a valid discharge to the bank. However, it went on to observe that, in case, a competent court grants a Succession Certificate, the bank would have to follow the order and transfer the credit. [Amol Rajgonda Patil v. The Manager, Canara Bank, 2017 SCC OnLine Bom 1272, decided on 20-04-2017]

Case BriefsHigh Courts

Delhi High Court: A Bench comprising of Valmiki J. Mehta, J. dismissed the appeal filed by the appellant for revocation of the succession certificate granted to the legal heirs in a case filed by the sister of the deceased.

The appellant was the real sister of the deceased and she challenged the succession certificate granted to the daughter and the husband of the deceased, on the ground that they remained separated from the deceased before 35 years prior to her death, and the appellant is the nominee in the government records.

The Court took recourse to Section 15(1)(a) of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, and affirmed the conclusion of the lower court that the respondents being the daughter and husband of the deceased, are her legal heirs, and they are entitled to the succession certificate. The Court followed the Supreme Court judgment in Sarbati Devi v. Usha Devi, (1984) 1 SCC 424 and stated that nomination is not a will in law, thus rejecting the plea of the appellant that there is a nomination in her favour in the government records. The High Court dismissed the appeal by holding that in the absence of any will of the deceased in favour of the appellant, only those persons who are the legal heirs of the deceased under the Hindu Succession Act, can inherit her properties. [Rampali v.  State Govt. of NCT of Delhi , 2017 SCC OnLine Del 7999, decided on 24-04-2017]