Escheat: Forum for adjudication of claim

Escheat: Intestate death resulting in vesting of property in Government.

Collector taking over the property u/s. Section 29 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. No recourse made to Administrator General Act, 1963. No adjudication of facts by a Judicial Forum. Validity of.

Section 29 in The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 is as under:

29 Failure of heirs .—If an intestate has left no heir qualified to succeed to his or her property in accordance with the provisions of this Act, such property shall devolve on the government; and the government shall take the property subject to all the obligations and liabilities to which an heir would have been subject.

Section 29, it may be noted, embodies a principle but does not provide a procedural mechanism for adjudication upon disputed questions. The canvas of the controversy before the Court is an abundant indication of matters which were seriously in dispute. The contention of the state that the property would devolve upon it as a result of Mohan Lal being presumed to be dead and having left behind no legal heir is seriously in question. Such a matter could not have been adjudicated upon by the Collector by assuming to himself a jurisdiction which is not conferred upon him by law. Continue reading “Escheat: Forum for adjudication of claim”


Proof of attestation of Will.

Will: Conditions for proper and legal attestation.

Should the two attesting witnesses be present at the same time when the will is executed?

Evidence Act, 1872; Section 68.

View of Kerala High Court:

For valid attestation unlike the English Law, as it stood before the amendment of English Wills Act, 1837 Indian Law does not insist that the two attesting witnesses also should be present at the same time when the will is executed. It is possible for executing a will with proper attestation by the attesting witnesses signing at different times and without knowing each other. Since the requirement of Section 63 Succession Act is only that there should be two attesting witnesses in the will and that there is no insistence that the attesting witnesses also should be present at the same time, we find it difficult to extend the provision of Section 68 of the Evidence Act so as to make it obligatory even when only one attesting witness is called and the propounder is not in a position to call the other witness, to elicit a fact which the attesting witness called may not be in a position to speak honestly before the court. We feel that such an insistence would only be an addition of an unnecessary technicality and that it may lead to witness called for proving, execution and attestation of wills deposing falsehood before the court. In this view, we find it difficult to follow the decisions reported in AIR 1946 Bom 12; AIR 1949 Bom 266, AIR 1974 AP 13; AIR 1981 Mad 252.