The Madras High Court was faced with a suit for grant of letter of administration wherein the it restated while applying the existing legal principles for proving genuineness of a will.
The judgement was delivered by the Madras High Court in the matter of R. Parthasarathy Vs. N. Mannamal and Ors., Testamentary Original Suit No. 1 of 2016 in O.P. No. 646 of 2014 and Second Appeal No. 329 of 2014 decided on 26.06.2018.
The Challenge before the High Court was whether the Plaintiff was still liable to proof the Will in accordance with Section 63 of Indian Succession Act 1925 on the face of evasive denial about the execution of the Will in the written statement. Another challenge was when a natural heir has been disinherited, whether the Will can be said to be suspicious in nature.
Relying on the judgement of Meenakshiammal (Dead) through LRs. Vs. Chandrasekaran 2005 (1) SCC 280 the court revisited the law on proving of a will. It was held that the requirement of proof of a Will is the same as any other document excepting that the evidence tendered in proof of a Will should additionally satisfy the requirement of Section 63 of the Indian Succession Act, 1925 and Section 68 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. If after considering the matters before it, that is, the facts and circumstances as emanating from the material available on record of a given case, the Court either believes that the Will was duly executed by the testator or considers the existence of such fact so probable that any prudent person ought, under the circumstances of that particular case, to act upon the supposition that the Will was duly executed by the testator, then the factum of execution of Will shall be said to have been proved. The conscience of the Court has to be satisfied by the propounder of Will adducing evidence so as to dispel any suspicions or unnatural circumstances attaching to a Will provided that there is something unnatural or suspicious about the Will.
Applying the above principles the Madras High Court arrived at the conclusion that the will in question was genuine in view of the following findings.
In the entire written statement as well as the cross examination of P.W. 1 by the defendant, the execution of the Will was not denied, except for a vague denial to the effect that if there had been a Will, the plaintiff would have effected mutation of records. However, the Court duly added that a mere admission or non-denial of the facts with regard to the Will is not sufficient to infer the proof of the document. The Will has to be proved in the manner known to law. For such proof atleast one of the attesting witness evidence is required. The testimony of the attesting witness was also found credible.
The Court was of the view that merely because the defendant, being one of the daughter of G. Ramasamy, has been excluded in the Will, the same cannot be a ground to defeat the execution of the testator. The Court has to respect the intention of the testator and on mere technicalities, such intention cannot be defeated.
Therefore, the Court granted the letter of administration in favour of the grandson of the testator being the ultimate beneficiary of the will.