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Succession Can Only Be Granted To Legal Heirs Of A Person Who Dies Intestate

In Rampali vs State Govt. of NCT of Delhi, the Delhi High Court has held that in cases where someone dies without a will, succession can only be granted to the legal heirs of that person, not the nominee.

Justice Valmiki Mehta was hearing an appeal against an order by the trial court dated January 18, 2017, wherein the application for revocation of succession certificate filed by the appellant was rejected.

The succession certificate was granted to Sonia Yadav and Bhim Singh, daughter and husband of deceased Kamla Devi, who passed away on April 25 last year.

The appellant, Rampali, is the deceased’s sister.

She sought revocation of the succession certificate on two grounds.

One, the father and daughter had not been residing with the deceased for 35 years and secondly, in government records, Rampali was Kamala Devi’s nominee.

The trial court dismissed this application on the ground that Sonia Yadav and Bhim Singh were the legal heirs of Kamla Devi under Section 15 (1)(a) of the Hindu Succession Act and that nomination is not a will in law and it does not make a nominee owner of the property.

Justice Valmiki concurred with the trial court’s position and held that nomination is not a will in law was settled in the case of Smt Sarbati Devi and Another Vs Smt Usha Devi AIR 1984 SC 346 by the Supreme Court.

Dismissing Rampali’s appeal, the court observed: “The present case is indeed a hard case because the petitioners of the succession certificate case are walking away with the property of the deceased Smt. Kamla Devi although Smt. Kamla Devi had separated from the petitioners of the succession certificate case before 35 years prior to the death of Smt. Kamla Devi. However, in the view of the settled legal position that nomination is not a Will, and in the absence of the any Will of Smt. Kamla Devi in favour of the present appellant, who is the real sister of deceased Smt. Kamla Devi, only those persons who are legal heirs under the Hindu Succession Act inherit the properties.

Accordingly, this Court has no option but to dismiss the present appeal.”

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