Analysis of Suspicious Circumstances in Probate Proceedings

In the realm of probate law, the court’s meticulous analysis of suspicious circumstances plays a pivotal role in determining the validity of contested Wills. This case delves deep into the legal intricacies surrounding the execution of a Will, emphasizing the importance of removing all doubts and suspicions to ensure justice prevails. Let’s explore the court’s approach to scrutinizing contested Wills and the burden of proof in probate proceedings.


  • The respondent No 1 attempted to put forward a direct contest of the petition seeking probate and moved an application for further cross-examination of the appellant.
  • The property involved in the dispute had a history of transfers from the original owner, father of the contesting parties.
  • The contested Will aimed at making provisions for the residence of the elder and widowed daughter of the testatrix.
  • Various witnesses, including attesting witnesses, were examined to provide their accounts of the events surrounding the execution of the Will.
  • The relations between the appellant, respondent No 1, and respondent No 2 had complexities, including discord and strained relations mentioned in the testimonies.
  • The Trial Court dealt with applications from the respondents regarding further cross-examination and objections to the petition seeking probate, leading to differing outcomes.
  • The immovable property subject to bequeath and dispute was detailed with its address, dimensions, and past dealings.
  • The mother testatrix was described as not having high educational qualifications, and relations between the family members were highlighted in the evidence presented.
  • The trial proceedings involved a mix of testimonies from witnesses, respondents, and the appellant regarding the execution of the Will and the familial relationships.

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  • The Trial Court framed issues to determine the validity of the Will dated 20-5-2003 of Smt. Amarjeet Mamik.
  • The appellant and attesting witnesses testified in support of the contested Will.
  • Documentary evidence included the contested Will marked as Ex. PW1/H.

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  • Suspicion permits the Court to imagine doubtful facets of a case in testamentary jurisdiction.
  • Various circumstances including manner of making the Will, contradictions in witness statements, and suspicious findings have been considered in impugned judgments.
  • The Will’s sanctity is not solely based on handwritten portions.
  • The probate proceeding is a matter of the Court’s conscience, requiring removal of all suspicious circumstances.
  • Filing or non-filing of written statements by any party is insignificant in probate proceedings.
  • The appellant’s different stand on the third page of the Will, as found in written arguments filed in the High Court, is noted.
  • The existence of a third page to the Will is contested by the appellant’s arguments.
  • The overall assessment of the Court based on close scrutiny of unusual features and circumstances weighs in determining the validity of the Will.
  • Interlineations in the Will may indicate additions made post-execution, weakening the propounder’s case.
  • The appellant has argued that the suspicious circumstances surrounding the Will in question have not been adequately explained by the respondents.
  • The appellant has pointed out inconsistencies in the testimonies of the witnesses and questioned the manner of writing and executing the document.
  • The appellant has emphasized the importance of satisfying the requirements of Section 63 of the Succession Act for the due execution of a Will.
  • The appellant has contended that the respondent No.1, being the elder daughter of the testatrix, has the right to contest the Will.
  • The appellant has referred to various legal provisions and decisions to support her argument that the Will in question is genuine.
  • The appellant has raised doubts about the standing and stance of the respondents in questioning the Will.

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  • The propounder of a Will has the burden of proving its authenticity, with testamentary capacity and the testator’s signature being mandatory requirements.
  • In cases where there are suspicious circumstances surrounding the Will’s execution, the propounder must explain and remove these suspicions to the court’s satisfaction.
  • Even if a Will seems unnatural by cutting off or reducing the share of near relations, if suspicions are dispelled, the court must still give effect to the Will.
  • The onus of proving the Will shifts to the propounder to provide clear evidence if they have benefited substantially from the Will’s execution.
  • Provisions in legal rules do not demand blind adherence but require the court to exercise judgment based on the evidence presented.
  • Requisite pleadings and evidence are essential in cases where suspicious circumstances exist, and the propounder or caveator bears the burden of proof accordingly.
  • The court’s approach in evaluating a Will should be open, vigilant, and circumspect, considering all evidence before making a judgment.
  • Detailed analysis, attestation requirements under the law, and removal of all legitimate suspicions are crucial for the court to accept a Will as legitimate.
  • Section 61 of the Succession Act states that a Will obtained by fraud, coercion, or importunity is void.
  • Section 63 requires the testator to sign the Will or have it signed by another person in their presence and direction, with the intention of giving effect to the Will.
  • Extrinsic evidence is inadmissible in case of patent ambiguity or deficiency in the Will as per Section 81 of the Succession Act.
  • A Will or bequest void for uncertainty under Section 89 of the Succession Act.
  • Section 59 allows every person of sound mind to dispose of their property by Will, with specific rules for execution.
  • The material findings of the Trial Court and the High Court support the conclusion that the testatrix did not execute the document as her Will with full understanding.
  • The appeal is dismissed based on these findings.
  • The appellant showed lack of forthrightness during the proceedings.
  • Costs are to be borne by the appellant due to the dismissal of the appeal.
  • There are doubts about whether the document truly represented the last wishes of the testatrix regarding the succession of her estate.


  • The testator is giving, devising, and bequeathing her entire share in the immovable property to her youngest daughter, Mrs. Kavita Kanwar.
  • Mrs. Kavita Kanwar is directed to either construct a residential facility on the terrace for her elder daughter, Mrs. Pamela Mehta, or demolish the building and become the sole owner of the entire new construction except for a specified portion for Mrs. Pamela Mehta.
  • Any future assets acquired by the testator will devolve upon Mrs. Kavita Kanwar.
  • The testator revokes any previous wills or codicils made.
  • The costs of the appeal are quantified at Rs. 50,000 and to be divided equally between respondents No 1 and No 2.
  • The testator leaves the credit balance in her bank accounts to her son, Col. Prithivijit Mamik, clarifying that he will not inherit any of her immovable assets.


Case Number: C.A. No.-003688-003688 / 2017

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