The farm of Sultanpur Khurd being the property of B, A bequeathed it to C ; and bequeathed another farm called Sultanpur Buzurg to his own executors with a direction that it should be sold and the proceeds applied in payment of B’ debts. B must elect whether he will abide by the will, or keep his farm of Sultanpur Khurd in opposition to it.
184. Person deriving benefit indirectly not put to election —
A person taking no benefit directly under a will, but deriving a benefit under it indirectly, is not put to his election.
The lands of Sultanpur are settled upon C for life, and after his death upon, D, his only child. A bequeaths the lands of Sultanpur to B, and 1,000 rupees to C. C dies intestate shortly after the testator, and without having made any election. D takes out administration to C, and as administrator elects on behalf of C’s estate to take under the will. In that capacity he receives the legacy of 1,000 rupees and accounts to B for the rents of the lands of Sultanpur which accrued after the death or the testator and before the death of C. In his individual character he retains the lands of Sultanpur in opposition to the will.
185. Person taking in individual capacity under will may in other character elect to take in opposition —
A person who in his individual capacity takes a benefit under a will may, in another character, elect to take in opposition to the will.
The estate of Sultanpur is settled upon A for life, and after his death, upon B. A leaves the estate of Sultanpur to D, and 2,000 rupees to B, and 1,000 rupees to C, who is B’s only child. B dies intestate, shortly after the testator, without having made any election. C takes out administration to B, and as administrator elects to keep the estate of Sultanpur in opposition to the will, and to relinquish the legacy of 2,000 rupees. C may do this, and yet claim his legacy of 1,000 rupees under the will.
186. Exception to provisions of last six sections —
Notwithstanding anything contained in sections 180 to 185, where a particular gift is expressed in the will to be in lieu of something belonging to the legatee which is also in terms disposed of by the will, then, if the legatee claims that thing, he must relinquish the particular gift, but he is not bound to relinquish any other benefit given to him by the will.
Under A’s marriage-settlement his wife is entitled, if she survives him, to the enjoyment of the estate of Sultanpur during her life. A by his will bequeaths to his wife an annuity of 200 rupees during her life, in lieu of her interest in the estate of Sultanpur, which estate he bequeaths to his son. He also gives his wife a legacy of 1,000 rupees. The widow elects to take what she is entitled to under the settlement. She is bound to relinquish the annuity but not the legacy of 1,000 rupees.
187. When acceptance of benefit given by will constitutes election to take under will —
Acceptance of a benefit given by a will constitutes an election by the legatee to take under the will, if he had knowledge of his right to elect and of those circumstances which would influence the judgment of a reasonable man in making an election, or if he waives inquiry into the circumstances.
(i) A is owner of an estate called Sultanpur Khurd, and has a life interest in another estate called Sultanpur Buzurg to which upon his death his son B will be absolutely entitled. The will of A gives the estate of Sultanpur Khurd to B and the estate of Sultanpur Buzurg to C. B, in ignorance of his own right to the estate of Sultanpur Buzurg, allows C to take possession of it, and enters into possession of the estate of Sultanpur Khurd. B has not confirmed the bequest of Sultanpur Buzurg to C.
(ii) B, the eldest son of A, is the possessor of an estate called Sultanpur. A bequeaths Sultanpur to C and to B the residue of A’s property. B having been informed by A’s executors that the residue will amount to 5,000 rupees, allows C to take possession of Sultanpur. He afterwards discovers that the residue does not amount to more than 500 rupees. B has not confirmed the bequest of the estate of Sultanpur to C.
188. Circumstances in which knowledge or waiver is presumed or inferred —
(1) Such knowledge or waiver of inquiry shall, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, be presumed if the legatee has enjoyed for two years the benefits provided for him by the will without doing any act to express dissent.
(2) Such knowledge or waiver of inquiry may be inferred from any act of the legatee which renders it impossible to place the persons interested in the subject-matter of the bequest in the same condition as if such act had not been done.
A bequeaths to B an estate to which C is entitled, and to C a coal mine. C takes possession of the mine and exhausts it. He has thereby confirmed the bequest of the estate to B.
189. When testator’s representatives may call upon legatee to elect —
If the legatee does not, within one year after the death of the testator signify to the testator’s representatives his intention to confirm or to dissent from, the will, the representatives shall, upon the expiration of that period, require him to make his election; and, if he does not comply with such requisition within a reasonable time after he has received it, he shall be deemed to have elected to confirm the will.
190. Postponement of election in case of disability —
In case of disability the election shall be postponed until the disability ceases, or until the election is made by some competent authority.
PART VII - PROTECTION OF PROPERTY OF DECEASED
192. Person claiming right by succession to property of deceased may apply for relief against wrongful possession —
(1) If any person dies leaving property, moveable or immovable, any person claiming a right by succession thereto, or to any portion thereof, may make application to the District Judge of the district where any part of the property is found or situate for relief, either after actual possession has been taken by another person, or when forcible means of seizing possession are apprehended.
(2) Any agent, relative or near friend, or the Court of Wards in cases within their cognizance, may, in the event of any minor, or any disqualified or absent person being entitled by succession to such property as aforesaid, make the like application for relief.
193. Inquiry made by Judge —
The District Judge to whom such application is made shall, in the first place, examine the applicant on oath, and may make such further inquiry, if any, as he thinks necessary as to whether there is sufficient ground for believing that the party in possession or taking forcible means for seizing possession has no lawful title, and that the applicant, or the person on whose behalf he applies is really entitled and is likely to be materially prejudiced if left to the ordinary remedy of a suit, and that the application is made bona fide.
194. Procedure —
If the District Judge is satisfied that there is sufficient ground for believing as aforesaid but not otherwise, he shall summon the party complained of, and give notice of vacant or disturbed possession by publication, and, after the expiration of a reasonable time, shall determine summarily the right to possession (subject to a suit as hereinafter provided) and shall deliver possession accordingly:
Provided that the Judge shall have the power to appoint an officer who shall take an inventory of effects, and seal or otherwise secure the same, upon being applied to for the purpose, without delay, whether he shall have concluded the inquiry necessary for summoning the party complained of or not.
195. Appointment of curator pending determination of proceeding —
If it further appears upon such inquiry as aforesaid that danger is to be apprehended of the misappropriation or waste of the property before the summary proceeding can be determined, and that the delay in obtaining security from the party in possession or the insufficiency thereof is likely to expose the party out of possession to considerable risk, provided he is the lawful owner, the District Judge may appoint one or more curators whose authority shall continue according to the terms of his or their respective appointment, and in no case beyond the determination of the summary proceeding and the confirmation or delivery of possession in consequence thereof:
Provided that, in the case of land, the Judge may delegate to the Collector, or to any officer subordinate to the Collector, the powers of a curator:
Provided further, that every appointment of a curator in respect of any property shall be duly published.
196. Powers conferrable on curator —
The District Judge may authorise the curator to take possession of the property either generally, or until security is given by the party in possession, or until inventories of the property have been made, or for any other purpose necessary for securing the property from misappropriation or waste by the party in possession:
Provided that it shall be in the discretion of the Judge to allow the party in possession to continue in such possession on giving security or not, and any continuance in possession shall be subject to such orders as the Judge may issue touching inventories, or the securing of deeds or other effects.
197. Prohibition of exercise of certain powers by curators —
(1) Where a certificate has been granted under Part X or under the Succession Certificate Act, 18891 (7 of 1889), or a grant of probate or letters of administration has been made, a curator appointed under this Part shall not exercise any authority lawfully belonging to the holder of the certificate or to the executor or administrator.
(2) Payment of debts, etc., to curators.—All persons who have paid debts or rents to a curator authorised by a Court to receive them shall be indemnified, and the curator shall be responsible for the payment thereof to the person who has obtained the certificate, probate or letters of administration, as the case may be.
198. Curator to give security and may receive remuneration —
(1) The District Judge shall take from the curator security for the faithful discharge of his trust, and for rendering satisfactory accounts of the same as hereinafter provided, and may authorise him to receive out of the property such remuneration in no case exceeding five per centum on the moveable property and on the annual profits of the immoveable property, as the District Judge thinks reasonable.
(2) All surplus money realized by the curator shall be paid into Court, and invested in public securities for the benefit of the persons entitled thereto upon adjudication of the summary proceeding.
(3) Security shall be required from the curator with all reasonable despatch, and where it is practicable, shall be taken generally to answer all cases for which the person may be afterwards appointed curator; but no delay in the taking of security shall prevent the Judge from immediately investing the curator with the powers of his office.
199. Report from Collector where estate includes revenue-paying land —
(1) Where the estate of the deceased person consists wholly or in part of land paying revenue to Government, in all matters regarding the propriety of summoning the party in possession, of appointing a curator, or of nominating individuals to that appointment, the District Judge shall demand a report from the Collector, and the Collector shall thereupon furnish the same:
Provided that in cases of urgency the Judge may proceed, in the first instance, without such report.
(2) The Judge shall not be obliged to act in conformity with any such report, but, in case of his acting otherwise than according to such report, he shall immediately forward a statement of his reasons to the High Court, and the High Court, if it is dissatisfied with such reasons, shall direct the Judge to proceed conformably to the report of the Collector.
200. Institution and defence of suits —
The curator shall be subject to all orders of the District Judge regarding the institution or the defence of suits, and all suits may be instituted or defended in the name of the curator on behalf of the estate:
Provided that an express authority shall be requisite in the order of the curator’s appointment for the collection of debts or rents; but such express authority shall enable the curator to give a full acquittance for any sums of money received by virtue thereof.
201. Allowances to apparent owners pending custody by curator —
Pending the custody of the property by the curator, the District Judge may make such allowances to parties having a prima facie right thereto as upon a summary investigation of the rights and circumstances of the parties interested he considers necessary, and may, at his discretion, take security for the repayment thereof with interest, in the event of the party being found, upon the adjudication of the summary proceeding, not to be entitled thereto.
202. Accounts, to be filed by curator —
The curator shall file monthly accounts in abstract, and shall, on the expiry of each period of three months, if his administration lasts so long, and, upon giving up the possession of the property, file a detailed account of his administration to the satisfaction of the District Judge.
203. Inspection of accounts and right of interested party to keep duplicate —
(1) The accounts of the curator shall be open to the inspection of all parties interested; and it shall be competent for any such interested party to appoint a separate person to keep a duplicate account of all receipts and payments by the curator.
(2) If it is found that the accounts of the curator are in arrear, or that they are erroneous or incomplete, or if the curator does not produce them whenever he is ordered to do so by the District Judge, he shall be punishable with fine not exceeding one thousand rupees for every such default.
204. Bar to appointment of second curator for same property —
If the Judge of any district has appointed a curator, in respect of the whole of the property of a deceased person, such appointment shall preclude the Judge of any other district within the same State from appointing any other curator, but the appointment of a curator in respect of a portion of the property of the deceased shall not preclude the appointment within the same State of another curator in respect of the residue or any portion thereof:
Provided that no Judge shall appoint a curator or entertain a summary proceeding in respect of property which is the subject of a summary proceeding previously instituted under this Part before another Judge:
Provided, further, that if two or more curators are appointed by different Judges for several parts of an estate, the High Court may make such order as it thinks fit for the appointment of one curator of the whole property.
205. Limitation of time for application for curator —
An application under this Part to the District Judge must be made within six months of the death of the proprietor whose property is claimed by right in succession.
206. Bar to enforcement of Part against public settlement or legal directions by deceased —
Nothing in this Part shall be deemed to authorise the contravention of any public act of settlement or of any legal directions given by a deceased proprietor of any property for the possession of his property after his decease in the event of minority or otherwise, and, in every such case, as soon as the Judge having jurisdiction over the property of a deceased person is satisfied of the existence of such directions, he shall give effect thereto.
207. Court of Wards to be made curator in case of minors having property subject to its jurisdiction —
Nothing in this part shall be deemed to authorise any disturbance of the possession of a Court of Wards of any property; and in case of a minor, or other disqualified person whose property is subject to the Court of Wards, is the party on whose behalf application is made under this Part, the District Judge, if he determines to summon the party in possession and to appoint a curator, shall invest the Court of Wards with the curatorship of the estate pending the proceeding without taking security as aforesaid; and if the minor or other disqualified person, upon the adjudication of the summary proceeding, appears to be entitled to the property, possession shall be delivered to the Court of Wards.
208. Saving of right to bring suit —
Nothing contained in this Part shall be any impediment to the bringing of a suit either by the party whose application may have been rejected before or after the summoning of the party in possession, or by the party who may have been evicted from the possession under this Part.
209. Effect of decision of summary proceeding —
The decision of a District Judge in a summary proceeding under this Part shall have no other effect than that of settling the actual possession; but for this purpose it shall be final, and shall not be subject to any appeal or review.
210. Appointment of public curators —
The State Government may appoint public curators for any district or number of districts; and the District Judge having jurisdiction shall nominate such public curators in all cases where the choice of a curator is left discretionary with him under this Part.
PART VIII - REPRESENTATIVE TITLE TO PROPERTY OF DECEASED ON SUCCESSION
211. Character and property of executor or administrator as such —
(1) The executor or administrator, as the case may be, of a deceased person is his legal representative for all purposes, and all the property of the deceased person vests in him as such.
(2) When the deceased was a Hindu, Muhammadan, Buddhist, Sikh, Jaina or Parsi or an exempted person, nothing herein contained shall vest in an executor or administrator any property of the deceased person which would otherwise have passed by survivorship to some other person.
212. Right to intestate’s Property —
(1) No right to any part of the property of a person who has died intestate can be established in any Court of Justice, unless letters of administration have first been granted by a Court of competent jurisdiction.
(2) This section shall not apply in the case of the intestacy of a Hindu, Muhammadan, Buddhist, Sikh, Jaina, Indian Christian or Parsi.
213. Right as executor or legatee when established —
(1) No right as executor or legatee can be established in any Court of Justice, unless a Court of competent jurisdiction in India has granted probate of the will under which the right is claimed, or has granted letters of administration with the will or with a copy of an authenticated copy of the will annexed.
(2) This section shall not apply in the case of wills made by Muhammadans, and shall only apply—
(i) in the case of wills made by any Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh or Jaina where such wills are of the classes specified in clauses (a) and (b) of section 57; and
(ii) in the case of wills made by any Parsi dying, after the commencement of the Indian Succession (Amendment) Act, 1962 (16 of 1962), where such wills are made within the local limits of the ordinary original civil jurisdiction of the High Courts at Calcutta, Madras and Bombay, and where such wills are made outside those limits, in so far as they relate to immovable property situated within those limits.
The section provides that no right as executor or legatees can be established in any court of justice, unless a court of competent jurisdiction in India has granted probate of the Will under which the right is claimed; Gandabhal v. Noshir, AIR 1994 Guj 18.
214. Proof of representative title a condition precedent to recovery through the Courts of debts from debtors of deceased persons —
(1) No Court shall—
(a) pass a decree against a debtor of a deceased person for payment of his debt to a person claiming on succession to be entitled to the effects of the deceased person or to any part thereof, or
(b) proceed, upon an application of a person claiming to be so entitled, to execute against such a debtor a decree or order for the payment of his debt, except on the production, by the person so claiming of—
(i) a probate or letters of administration evidencing the grant to him of administration to the estate of the deceased, or
(ii) a certificate granted under section 31 or section 32 of the Administrator- General’s Act, 1913 (3 of 1913), and having the debt mentioned therein, or
(iii) a succession certificate granted under Part X and having the debt specified therein, or
(iv) a certificate granted under the Succession Certificate Act, 18893 (7 of 1889), or
(v) a certificate granted under Bombay Regulation No. VIII of 1827, and, if granted after the first day of May, 1889 having the debt specified therein.
(2) The word ‘‘debt’’ in sub-section (1) includes any debt except rent, revenue or profits payable in respect of land used for agricultural purposes.
215. Effect on certificate of subsequent probate or letters of administration —
(1) A grant of probate or letters of administration in respect of an estate shall be deemed to supersede any certificate previously granted under Part X or under the Succession Certificate Act, 18893 (7 of 1889), or Bombay Regulation No. VIII of 1827, in respect of any debts or securities included in the estate.
(2) When at the time of the grant of the probate or letters any suit or other proceeding instituted by the holder of any such certificate regarding any such debt or security is pending, the person to whom the grant is made shall, on applying to the Court in which the suit or proceeding is pending, be entitled to take the place of the holder of the certificate in the suit or proceeding:
Provided that, when any certificate is superseded under this section, all payments made to the holder of such certificate in ignorance of such supersession shall be held good against claims under the probate or letters of administration.
216. Grantee of probate or administration alone to sue, etc., until same revoked —
After any grant of probate or letters of administration, no other than the person to whom the same may have been granted shall have power to sue or prosecute any suit, or otherwise act as representative of the deceased, throughout the State in which the same may have been granted, until such probate or letters of administration has or have been recalled or revoked.
PART IX - PROBATE, LETTERS OF ADMINISTRATION AND ADMINISTRATION OF ASSETS OF DECEASED
217. Application of Part —
Save as otherwise provided by this Act or by any other law for the time being in force, all grants of probate and letters of administration with the will annexed and the administration of the assets of the deceased in cases of intestate succession shall be made or carried out, as the case may be, in accordance with the provisions of this Part.
Chapter I - Of Grant of Probate and Letters of Administration
218. To whom administration may be granted, where deceased is a Hindu, Muhammadan, Buddhist, Sikh, Jaina or exempted person —
(1) If the deceased has died intestate and was a Hindu, Muhammadan, Buddhist, Sikh or Jaina or an exempted person, administration of his estate may be granted to any person who, according to the rules for the distribution of the estate applicable in the case of such deceased, would be entitled to the whole or any part of such deceased’s estate.
(2) When several such persons apply for such administration, it shall be in the discretion of the Court to grant it to any one or more of them.
(3) When no such person applies, it may be granted to a creditor of the deceased.
219. Where deceased is not a Hindu, Muhammadan, Buddhist, Sikh, Jaina or exempted person —
If the deceased has died intestate and was not a person belonging to any of the classes referred to in section 218, those who are connected with him, either by marriage or by consanguinity, are entitled to obtain letters of administration of his estate and effects in the order and according to the rules hereinafter stated, namely: —
(a) If the deceased has left a widow, administration shall be granted to the widow, unless the Court sees cause to exclude her, either on the ground of some personal disqualification, or because she has no interest in the estate of the deceased.