Letters of Administration can be revoked on the ground that all the legal heirs were not impleaded in the petition under Indian Succession Act: Supreme Court

Letters of Administration can be revoked on the ground that all the legal heirs were not impleaded in the petition under Indian Succession Act: Supreme Court

The Supreme Court ruled that Letters of Administration can be revoked on the ground that all the legal heirs were not impleaded in the petition under Indian Succession Act. 

Background 

The appellants sought Letters of Administration of a registered Will deed said to have been executed by one Thankappan Nadar in favour of the appellant brother of the testator and his two sons. After the grant of Letters of Administration, another brother of the testator filed an application for revocation of the Letters of Administration on the ground that all the legal heirs were not impleaded in the proceedings for the grant of Letters of Administration. The Civil Court dismissed the application for revocation but the order was set aside in appeal. Aggrieved, the legatee is on appeal before the Court. 

Argument 

The appellants contended that what was filed by them was a petition under Section 276(1) and that therefore, the requirement to make a mention about the details of the family and other relatives of the deceased, contained in Section 278(1) cannot be imported into Section 276.  

Decision 

The division bench of Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice V. Ramasubramanian observed that as per Section 263, the grant of Letters of Administration may be revoked for “just cause”. Explanation (a) under Section 263 states that just cause shall be deemed to exist where the proceedings were defective in substance.  Illustration (ii) under Section 263 deals with a case where “the grant was made without citing parties who ought to have been cited”.

The court noted that some of the colonial statutes contain Illustrations which form part of the statutes themselves.  The Indian Succession Act, 1925 is one such enactment.

The court said that the High Court was right in holding that a just cause existed for revoking the grant. Hence, it does not find any error in the order of the High Court warranting their interference. Therefore the court dismissed the appeals.

Case title: Swaminathan & Ors. v/s Alankamony (dead) Through lrs.

Citation: Civil appeal no.798­799 of 2013 

Click here to read the Order/Judgment

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