SHAMITA SINGHA Vs. RASHMI AHLUWALIA
LAWS(SC)-2020-6-37
SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Decided on June 18,2020

Shamita Singha Appellant
VERSUS
Rashmi Ahluwalia Respondents





Cited Judgements :-

YADHU MOHAN VS. RAJESH KUMAR P.R. [LAWS(KER)-2021-9-17] [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

ANIRUDDHA BOSE,J. - (1.)The petitioners in this proceeding are both daughters of Late Pawan Kumar Singha (deceased). They seek transfer of a suit for partition and certain other ancillary reliefs instituted in the Delhi High Court. The said suit has been registered as CS(OS)No.2888 of 2014. The plaintiff in that suit is Rashmi Ahluwalia, who is the widow of the deceased. She was the second wife of the deceased. The petitioners in this proceeding, Shamita Singha and Masoom Singha are daughters of Pawan Kumar Singha, deceased, from his first marriage, which was later dissolved. Both of them have been impleaded as defendants in that suit for partition. The third defendant in that suit is Ms.Sanjana, who is the daughter of Rashmi Ahluwalia, from her first marriage. It has been pleaded in the plaint that after her marriage to the deceased, Sanjana was "accepted/adopted" by the deceased Pawan Kumar Singha as his own daughter. Sanjana is the second respondent in this petition. The first petitioner, Shamita Singha has applied for grant of Letters of Administrations to the estate of the deceased Pawan Kumar Singha on the basis of his Will dated 15th January, 2014. A petition to that effect has been filed in the Testamentary and Intestate jurisdiction of the Bombay High Court. That petition, filed on 22nd April 2016, has been registered as "T. Petition No. 821 of 2016". Rashmi Ahluwalia and said Ms. Sanjana Ahluwalia, have put in appearance in the Testamentary Petition. They question, inter-alia, the legality of the Will and contend that it is forged.
(2.)So far as the suit in the Delhi High Court is concerned, this has been instituted prior in time, on 18th September, 2014. In the CS(OS) No. 2888 of 2014, Rashmi Ahluwalia has claimed partition of the estate of the deceased and has sought declaration to the effect that she is entitled to 1/4th share of the estate. The schedule of assets forming part of the petition for Letters of Administration and the table of assets given in the suit for partition have several common movable and immovable properties. Thus, the assets which the petitioners claim to have been bequeathed to them by the testator also forms subject-matter of the suit for partition.
(3.)The petitioners' case argued by Ms. Arora, learned counsel, is that the Probate Court has exclusive jurisdiction in matters relating to legality of a will and for that reason, her plea is that it would be expedient that the suit instituted in the Delhi High Court should be transferred to the Probate Court. Ms. Arora has relied on a decision of this Court in the case of Nirmala Devi v. Arun Kumar Gupta and Others (2005) 12 SCC 505 in support of her submission that the suit for partition can be clubbed together with a Testamentary proceeding. This argument is founded on the reasoning that the decision in the Testamentary proceeding on the question of validity of the Will shall have direct impact on the partition suit. Ms. Mishra, learned counsel for the respondents, on the other hand has pressed for continuance of the suit in the Delhi High Court. It is her submission that both the proceedings can simultaneously run in the respective fora in which they have been instituted. Her alternative plea is that the Suit for partition having been instituted before the Probate Proceeding, the latter ought to be transferred to the Delhi High Court, if clubbing together of the two proceedings is at all warranted. She has drawn my attention to Section 270 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 to contend that the Delhi High Court also has jurisdiction to try the Probate Proceeding.
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