Shruti Desai


April 13, 2024

A person generates wealth for his survival, comfort and luxury. He earns wealth for growth of his family and children. When becomes old same children start talking of inheritance of his wealth while he is living. There are various provisions of law to bequeath property : a. after death of a person, which is WILL or Vasiyat. When you make a WILL your inheritance is governed by Indian Succession Act 1925. This is very common practice and people always make WILL during their lifetime. This WILL or Vasiyat operates or say becomes live after death of make of WILL. This is where entire drawback or lacuna lies. Court even permits registered WILL in a way rewrites last wish of the deceased. Is it correct to do that? Once challenge to the WILL is permitted the Probate application is converted into Suit. Which takes decades to come up for hearing. Resultant the parties to avoid litigation and waste of time settle the claim in most of the matters. The question arises is whether this was the last wish of the deceased? Answer is No. But it happens. b. Next is inheritance governed by personal law. i. For Hindus its Hindu Succession Act 1956. There are two school of thoughts Dayabhaga which is prevalent in West Bengal where son gets inheritance in fathers property only on death of the father. While in rest of India Mitakshara School of Law is followed. In this a child in the womb gets coparcenary rights in the family property. c. Hindu WILL requires to be probated. ii. Islamic Law 1. The Holy Quran 2. The Sunna – that is, the practice of the Prophet 3. The Ijma – that is, the consensus of the learned men of the community on what should be the decision on a particular point 4. The Qiya – that is, an analogical deduction of what is right and just in accordance with the good principles laid down by God. Muslim law recognizes two types of heirs, Sharers and Residuary. Sharers are the ones who are entitled to a certain share in the deceased’s property and Residuary would take up the share in the property that is left over after the sharers have taken their part. A will executed by a Muslim testator is not subject to the compulsory probate requirements under law. This would be a subject matter of Mohammedan personal law (which differs in its application among Shias and Sunnis). However they do file for probate for transfer of plot of land and other properties in Mumbai. d. In case of a Parsi section 213 (2) of the Indian Succession Act 1925 states that in case of a Parsi dying after the commencement of the Act, a probate is necessary if the WILL in question is made or the property bequeathed under the WILL is situated within the “ordinary original civil jurisdiction” of the Bombay high court. e. For WILL made by a Christian probate is not mandatory under Indian Succession Act 1956. COMMENTS: To obtain probate it takes long-time. Now a days 3-4 years even if not contested. So, […]

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February 13, 2024

To understand the case query we must first learn the provisions of the Indian Succession Act of 1925 IS AN EXECUTOR A TRUSTEE? “There is a distinction between a trustee and an executor, in that the former has only the power to pay what is vested in him as trustee to the persons for whose use he holds it, but has no general power to receive and pay what is due to and from the estate, which is the office of the latter (vide paragraph 13, p. 12 of Williams). The same proposition appears in Halsbury’s Laws of England (3rd Edn., Vol. 16, p. 124, in paragraph 180)” Provisions of Indian Succession Act 1925 Sec 222:  Probate only to appoint an executor. (1) Probate shall be granted only to an executor appointed by the will. (2) The appointment may be expressed or by necessary implication. Illustrations (i) A wills that C be his executor if B will not. B is appointed executor by implication. (ii) A gives a legacy to B and several legacies to other persons, among the rest to his daughter-in-law C, and adds “but should the within-named C be not living I do constitute and appoint B my whole and sole executrix”. C is appointed executrix by implication. (iii) A appoints several persons executors of his will and codicils and his nephew residuary legatee, and in another codicil are these words,– “I appoint my nephew my residuary legatee to discharge all lawful demands against my will and codicils signed of different dates”. The nephew is appointed an executor by implication. Grant of administration of universal or residuary legatees.— When—(a)the deceased has made a Will, but has not appointed an executor, or (b)the deceased has appointed an executor who is legally incapable or refuses to act, or who has died before the testator or before he has proved the Will, or (c)the executor dies after having proved the will, but before he has administered all the estate of the deceased, a universal or a residuary legatee may be admitted proving the Will and letters of administration with the Will annexed may be granted to him of the whole estate, or of so much thereof as may be unadministered.  Narration:  Thus, the test for finding out whether a person is an executor according to the tenor is to find out whether he is, by necessary implication, nominated by the testator in his stead to generally administer the estate and to pay the testator’s debts and to receive his dues in the performance of his will. An executor is placed in the stead of the testator and he has the right of action against the testator’s debtors and has also the right to dispose of the goods of the testator towards the payment of his debts and the performance of his will. An executor need not be expressly nominated; and if by necessary implication the testator recommends or commits to one or more the charge and office, or the rights which appertain to an executor, it amounts to as much as the ordaining or constituting him or them to be […]

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January 3, 2024

TOWER BUILDINGS IN MUMBAI BLISS OR BANE Mumbai was a peaceful place, with sophisticated and cool roads. Tall towers are now new skylines in Mumbai. Jam-packed traffic, roads on ventilators, metro, and coastal roads adorn the site of Mumbai city. Redevelopment of the old building is a booming business now. They are given TDR and additional FSI. But what if this tower falls or collapses? What if the SRA building collapsed and became unsafe? Is there any provision? How such towers will be constructed? What are the rights of flatholders and member’s? Will Insurance save the flat holders’ future? Before answering so many questions let us see the inter-alia relevant provisions of newly framed Development Control Rules for Greater Mumbai. Provisions relating to underdevelopment Control and Promotion Regulation 2034 [ DCPR 2034]. 33(6) Reconstruction of buildings destroyed by fire, or which have collapsed, or which have been demolished under lawful order Reconstruction of buildings that existed on or after 10th June 1977 and have ceased to exist for reasons cited above, shall be allowed to be reconstructed with FSI as per the Regulation No 30(C). Provided that if the area covered under a staircase/lift has not been claimed free of FSI as per the then prevailing Regulation as per the occupation plan, the area covered under staircases/lifts shall be considered while arriving at protected BUA in such cases the premium for entire staircase lift area in the proposed building as per these Regulations shall be recovered. This FSI will be subject to the following conditions: Reconstruction of the new building on the plot should conform to provisions of DP and these Regulations. Reconstruction will be subject to an agreement executed by at least 70 percent of the landlords and occupants each in the original building, within the meaning of the Mumbai Rents, Hotel and Lodging House Rates Control Act, 1947, and such the agreement shall make a provision for accommodation and re-accommodate the said landlord/all occupants in the new building on agreed terms and a certificate from a practicing advocate having a minimum of 10 years’ experience, is submitted confirming that on the date of application, reconstruction, agreements are executed by at least 70% of the landlords and occupants each in the original building with the developer/owner. The Advocate shall also certify that the agreements with occupants are valid and subsisting on the date of application. The Carpet area of residential/non-residential premises may be altered with the consent of occupants. Reconstruction shall be disallowed on set-back areas or areas required for road-widening and such areas shall be handed over to the Corporation. These provisions shall not apply to buildings wholly occupied by warehouses and godowns. If the building is reconstructed with existing FSI/BUA prior to its collapse/demolition, then the requirements of front & marginal open spaces shall be as per the Regulation No.41(5) of these Regulations. Provisions of R.No.41(5) is as under: Provisions in open spaces for plots in Reconstruction/Redevelopment Schemes under the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority Act, 1976, Slum Rehabilitation Authority and Redevelopment Scheme of municipal tenanted properties; in case of DCR 3(5),33(6),33(7),33(7)(A),33(7)(B),33(9),33(9)(A),33(9)(B),33(10), 33(10)(A),33(11),33(15)and 33(20)(A): The following […]

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December 30, 2022

 Let us first see the provisions of the Transfer of Property Act 1882 and the Hindu Succession Act 1956. Section 22 of The Hindu Succession Act 1956 Section 22 of the Act is as under:- “22. Preferential right to acquire property in certain cases – (1) Where, after the commencement of this Act, an interest in any immovable property of an intestate, or in any business carried on by him or her, whether solely or in conjunction with others devolves upon two or more heirs specified in class I of the Schedule, and any one of such heirs proposes to transfer his or her interest in the property or business, the other heirs shall have a preferential right to acquire the interest proposed to be transferred. (2) The consideration for which any interest in the property of the deceased may be transferred under this section shall, in the absence of any agreement between the parties, be determined by the court on application being made to it in this behalf, and if any person proposing to acquire the interest is not willing to acquire it for the consideration so determined, such person shall be liable to pay all costs of or incident to the application. (3) If there are two or more heirs specified in class I of the Schedule proposing to acquire any interest under this section, that heir who offers the highest consideration for the transfer shall be preferred. Explanation.- In this section, “court” means the court within the limits of whose jurisdiction the immovable property is situate or the business is carried on, and includes any other court which the State Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify in this behalf.” OBITER Smt. Laxmi Debi v. Surendra Kumar Panda and Others by the High Court of Orissa. In this case the submission that Section 22 of the Act would not cover succession in respect of agricultural lands was rejected.It was observed and held that “It is clear that the Parliament had omitted the phrase “save as regards agricultural land” from item No. 5 of the Concurrent List in order to have a uniform personal law for Hindus throughout India, and accordingly, it necessitated the enlargement of Entry No. 5. We have no doubt, therefore, that in view of the change in law, the Act will apply to agricultural lands also, and the decision in AIR 1941 FC 72 (K) would no longer hold good.” The High Court of Judicature at Allahabad, in Smt. Prema Devi vs. Joint Director of Consolidation (Headquarter) at Gorakhpur Camp and Ors. held:- In List 2, Entry No. 18 is as follows:– “Land, that is to say, right in or over land, land tenures including the relation of landlord and tenant, and the collection of rents; transfer and alienation of agricultural land; land improvement and agricultural loans; colonization.” This entry which is in the exclusive jurisdiction of the State Legislature is in the widest term. All laws relating to land and land tenures are therefore, within the exclusive jurisdiction of the State Legislature. Even personal law can become applicable to land tenures […]

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December 28, 2022

 When is a property jointly owned and cannot be partitioned by metes and bounds what remedy is available to parties? In the case of a property that is jointly held by the family, or which may be inherited by the family which consists of more than one sibling of the deceased how to partition the property? One alternative is division by metes and bounds. This can be done by parties under a registered agreement by executing a Deed of Partition or if there is more than one property then it can be done by executing a Deed of Family Arrangement and followed by executing a Deed of Conveyance or the document which is needed in the matter applicable to the facts and circumstances of the case. It could be of the nature of a Deed of Release, Deed of Relinquishment, Deed of Gift, or Deed of Exchange as the case may be. The same should be done by way of a registered deed. Now when in the following events : for example, a bungalow is jointly owned by the respective families of four brothers who passed away. The legal heirs of three brothers want to sell their undivided share in the property. But one branch of the deceased brother is objecting to the sale; another example, a bungalow cannot be divided or partitioned by metes and bounds because the legal heirs are more, and the area is less; the objecting party does not reside in the said inherited property; In such a case land is locked so even the generation of income from the same. What to do in such a case? In such cases, courts apply the principle of Owelty: what it is? OWELTY : In regard to partitions, the ground upon which the jurisdiction of courts of equity, was maintainable as it constituted a part of its appropriate and peculiar remedial justice. It is, that courts of equity were not restrained, as, courts of law were, to a mere, partition or allotment of the lands and ‘other real estate between the parties according to their respective interests in the same, and having regard to the true value thereof; but courts of equity might, with a view to the more-, convenient and perfect, partition or allotment of the premises, decree a pecuniary compensation to one of the parties for owelty or, equality of partition, so as to prevent an injustice or avoidable inequality.” ‘Lawrence -on Equity Jurisprudenoe (1929), Vol. I pp. 1227, 1228, s. 1147, also contains the following passage:- , The ordinary method of partition is to decree a physical severance of the separate interests, no sale being authorised unless a fair, partition is otherwise impossible, or at least prejudicial. There was no power of judicial sale at common law. The Court ordering physical partition may make its decree effective by compelling mutual conveyances by the parties of their respective interests. Owelty of partition may be awarded to equalize the shares of the parties and may be decreed to be a lien on the excessive allotment. Though only when necessary to a fair partition, and it should be […]

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November 14, 2022

 This  blog comes in wake of a judgment I came across of the Bombay High Court in the matter of  Karan Vishnu Khandelwal Omdham Cooperative Housing Society Ltd. Vs Deputy Registrar -K-West In this matter facts of the case were as under: Mannalal Surajmal Khandelwal (deceased) was owner of a flat no.1 and by virtue thereof, was entitled to share certificate. The deceased during his lifetime registered a nomination in the name of Petitioner- his grandson. The nomination was acknowledged by the managing committee of the society in it’s meeting held on and made an entry in the nomination register. Mr. Mannalal Khandelwal died intestate on 20thJanuary, 2011, leaving behind, Rajendra Mannalal Khandelwal (Son- Respondent No.2); Krishnakumar Mannalal Khandelwal (Son); and Petitioner- son of Vishnu Mannalal Khandelwal (predeceased son of deceased). That upon demise of Mannalal Surajmal Khandelwal, Respondent No.2 – Rajendra M. Khandelwal, made an application to the society, inter alia, seeking transfer of membership and the share certificate in his name. Along with the application, he submitted a No Objection cum Declaration’ and indemnity bond made and executed by Krishnakumar Mannalal Khandelwal. This way, the Respondent No.2 claimed 2/3rdshare and interest in the flat and sought transfer of proportionate interest in flat and claimed membership. The application was rejected by the society on 8thAugust, 2018. Whereafter, the Respondent No.2 preferred an appeal under section 23 (2) of the Maharashtra Societies Act (‘MCS Act’ for short), being Appeal No. 09 of 2019 before the Deputy Registrar. The Petitioner sought intervention in the said appeal. The Intervention was allowed. The Deputy Registrar vide order dated 8thFebruary, 2021 allowed the appeal and held that since the Respondent No.2 has acquired 2/3rdright in flat No.1, to that extent, his interest be noted in the society record. In consequence, the Deputy Registrar acknowledged 2/3rdundivided right of the Respondent No.2 and 1/3rdundivided right of the Petitioner in flat No.1 and directed to make entries in the society records. In revision, the Divisional Joint Registrar upheld the order of the Deputy Registrar and dismissed the revision application of the Petitioner. Feeling aggrieved by that order, the Petitioner has filed this petition. MATTER BEFORE BOMBAY HIGH COURT WHEN ERROR OF LAW OCCURRED The matter when came up before the Bombay High Court, the court observed that Registrar passed the impugned order in haste may be at the behest of respondent No.2. Therefore, the impugned order not only suffers from gross irregularity being passed in breach of principles of natural justice but also against the law, and therefore, deserves to be quashed and set aside. While passing the Judgement Bombay High Court relied upon Indrani Wahi Vs. Registrar of Co-operative Societies (Civil Appeal 4930/2006), held that the cooperative society was bound by nomination made by the deceased and it was bound to transfer the shares to the nominee While passing the Judgment Hon’ble Court it relied upon the provisions of Section 154-B(2) of Maharashtra Cooperative Societies (Amendment) Act, 2019. In any event, by. It reads under:     “154-13. On the death of a Member of a society, the society shall transfer share, right, title and interest in […]

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