Article 14 not applicable to a Will, Genuiness not dependent on fair distribution
Written by Shaurya Mahajan
Today, the Supreme Court in the case of Swarnalatha vs Kalavathy noted that the exclusion of one of the natural heirs from the bequest in a Will, cannot by itself be a ground to hold that there are suspicious circumstances.
The observation was made by a bench comprising Justices Hemant Gupta and V. Ramasubramanian.
Advocate V. Prabhakar appeared for the appellant while the respondent was represented by Advocate Jayanth Muthraj .
In the mentioned case a probate was granted to the appellant by the District Court in respect of two last Wills and Testaments, one by the father and another by the mother, were set aside by the Madras High Court.
One of the suspicious circumstances, according to the High Court, was the total exclusion of the daughter from the bequest and the failure to mention in the Wills, the dates on which the daughter was paid certain amounts, are crucial.
The court referenced the Kanwar vs. Mrs. Pamela Mehta and Ors. Case and observed that suspicion created is essentially those where either the signature of the testator is disputed or the mental capacity of the testator is questioned.
The court concludingly noted ” In the matter of appreciating the genuineness of execution of a Will, there is no place for the Court to see whether the distribution made by the testator was fair and equitable to all of his children. The Court does not apply Article 14 to dispositions under a Will.”
Thus we can see that the Supreme Court has made it clear that’s Article 14 of the Constitution is not applicable to a will as well as that the genuiness of the will is not based on the fairness of distribution.