RAJARAM JAIPURIA Vs. LAKSHMI KHANNA
HIGH COURT OF CALCUTTA
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D.K. Seth -
(1.)The landlord of a premises sought to intervene in the probate proceeding in respect of a Will executed by the tenant in favour of an alleged stranger who as executor had applied for probate. The learned Probate Court denied intervention by the landlord-appellant on the ground that the landlord has no interest in the property. Learned counsel for the appellant submits that by the Will the tenant had bequeathed the right of tenancy in the property of which the appellant is the landlord who had initiated a suit for eviction against the tenant-testator. Therefore, by reason of the Will, the right of the landlord-appellant in respect of recovery of the tenanted premises would be affected and that as a landlord the appellant has an interest in the property, a subject matter in the probate proceedings. Therefore, the said finding adversely affects his right.
(2.)After hearing the learned counsel for the appellants and the respondent, we are of the view that there is no substance in the submission of the learned counsel for the appellants. The appellant admittedly is the landlord of the testator against whom the former had instituted a suit for eviction since pending. He seeks to intervene and oppose the grant of probate on the ground that the legatee is not an heir neither he ordinarily resided with the testator. Under the Indian Succession Act, 1925, the objection to the grant of probate is restricted to certain grounds. A grant of probate may be opposed on the grounds: (a) that the Will was not duly executed, (b) that the deceased was not of sound mind, memory and understanding at the time of execution, (c) that the execution of the Will was obtained by undue influence, (d) that the execution of the Will was obtained by fraud, (e) that the deceased did not know and approved of the contents of the Will, and (f) instrument was not intended to operate as a Will, or that it has been revoked. It can also be opposed on the ground of discovery of another Will on certain conditions.
(3.)Thus, we find that the scope of objection to the grant of probate is very limited. Therefore, the locus standi to oppose the grant is confined or limited only among persons interested in the estate. One must show that he has an interest in the estate in order to establish his locus standi in a Probate Court (Pirojshah v. Pestonji, 34 Bom 429). He must show an interest in the estate of deceased either by inheritance or otherwise. The test for determination is that whether the person has sufficient interest to sustain caveat - that the grant would displace any right to which a caveator is otherwise entitled. If the answer is yes, he has an interest, if no; he has none (Swatantranandji v. Lunidaram, 39 BomLR 490). If one claims outside and independent of the Will or claims adversely to the testator and disputes his right to deal with the property, cannot be said to claim an interest in the estate of the deceased (Kashi Nath v. Duthin Gulzari, AIR 1941 Pat 475). A person claiming the property by paramount title cannot claim locus standi to oppose the grant of probate, Janki v. Ram Bahadur, (1938) Indian Ruling 18; In the goods of: Mahammad Basir, AIR 1964 Cal 34. If the person alleges that the property, which the deceased purports to dispose of by his Will, is not capable of being so disposed of, such person cannot enter a caveat against the grant of probate. The probate Court cannot go into the question of title or rights of the parties to determine the interest therein [Ishwardeo v. Kamta Devi, AIR 1954 SC 280; Paresh Chandra v. Bidhu Bhusan, 1955 1 Cal 429].
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