Revocation of Probate: Landmark Judgment by Supreme Court of India

A groundbreaking judgment by the Supreme Court of India has been delivered in the case of revocation of probate, focusing on the legal battle between Bachittar Singh Randhawa and Smt. Beena Kumari Mehra. The decision sheds light on the intricate nuances of probate proceedings and emphasizes the significance of meticulous legal procedures. This ruling is poised to have far-reaching implications in the realm of legal matters, setting a new standard for probate revocation cases.


  • Calcutta High Court granted probate in favor of Bachittar Singh Randhawa on 04.06.1982.
  • Both the Single Judge and the High Court noted the inordinate delay in filing the application for revocation.
  • The Division Bench agreed with the trial court’s perspective in rejecting the revocation petition.
  • The Division Bench judgment dated 13.04.2017 dismissed the appeal against the Single Judge’s order dated 24.08.2015, which rejected the application for revocation of the probate related to Surjan Singh Randhawa’s Will.
  • Surjan Singh Randhawa purchased property with his brother Bachittar Singh Randhawa in the names of their respective wives.
  • Appellant’s mother’s signatures on the no objection certificate were allegedly forged.
  • Purported Will dated 15.06.1981 was claimed to be created after the deceased’s death to deprive the mother of her legal entitlement.
  • Application for revocation of the probate was rejected by the learned Single Judge on 24.08.2015.
  • Appellant was considered not entitled to any citation under the Indian Succession Act, 1925.
  • Appellant’s mother had filed an affidavit for consent instead of objecting to the grant.
  • Observation of an inordinate and inexplicable delay in filing the revocation application.
  • Appellant’s brothers were impleaded as proforma respondents.
  • Premises at 5/1C Belvedere Road, Kolkata was sold in 2010 to Rungta Mines Limited by Rajiv Singh Hanspal and others.
  • Surjan Singh Randhawa had two daughters, Smt. Gian Hanspal and Smt. Beena Kumari Mehra.
  • Probate petition filed by Bachittar Singh Randhawa was seeking grant in relation to the Will dated 15.06.1961.
  • Smt. Beena Kumari Mehra had filed a suit for partition including the premises 5/1C Belvedere Road, Kolkata against Smt. Gian Hanspal.
  • Suit filed by Smt. Beena Kumari was dismissed for non-prosecution.
  • Appellant filed an application for revocation of the probate granted in 1982 claiming false representation and lack of notice to the legal heir.
  • Registered gift deed dated 25.03.1964 was executed by Smt. Harnam Kaur Randhawa in favor of Smt. Gian Hanspal.
  • Appellant discovered about the probate through a conveyance deed which led to the filing of the revocation application in 2011.

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  • The main issue in the appeal is whether sufficient grounds were presented in the application for revocation of probate filed by the appellant.
  • The High Court’s decision to reject the application for revocation of probate and dismiss the appeal is being questioned.
  • The focal point of the issue lies in evaluating if the High Court erred in its judgement.

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  • Shri Siddharth Luthra argued that probate was granted without issuing any citation to the mother of the appellant, who was a legal heir.
  • Allegations were made regarding a forged no objection certificate signed by the appellant’s mother.
  • A suit for partition of the property was filed by the appellant’s mother, indicating lack of consent or awareness of the probate proceedings.
  • Issuance of citation was deemed necessary as per Rule 9 of the High Court Rules.
  • Section 283 of the Indian Succession Act grants discretion to the District Judge regarding issuing citations.
  • Argued that the probate proceeding was fraudulent and should have been set aside.
  • Respondent No.4 is a bona fide purchaser for value who bought the property based on the probate granted in favor of the vendors.
  • Rights of Respondent No.4 need to be protected from the dispute between the parties.
  • Suit for partition filed in April 1984 was dismissed for non-prosecution.
  • Smt. Beena Kumari Mehra did not pursue the matter further after the dismissal of the suit for partition.
  • Revocation of probate, if any, should not affect the rights of Respondent No.4.
  • Any claim for possession of the property is barred due to the dismissal of the partition suit.

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  • The High Court granted probate without issuing any citation to Smt. Beena Kumari Mehra, indicating an error in the probate proceedings.
  • The probate was obtained fraudulently and without serving any citation or notice of filing the application.
  • The appellant came to know about the probate proceedings through a conveyance deed executed by others, and inspected the records to discover alleged objections by Smt. Beena Kumari Mehra.
  • The probate was granted without contest, but key details of the probate proceedings were not mentioned in related legal documents.
  • The failure to mention the probate proceedings in the written statements raises doubts about the awareness and consent of involved parties.
  • The judgment discusses the discretionary power of the District Judge to issue citations, highlighting the importance of due diligence in probate proceedings.
  • The conclusion emphasizes the need for a citation to be issued in probate cases to ensure fairness and prevent prejudicial outcomes.
  • Citations shall be issued to show cause within four days for residents of Calcutta, or a specified day for those residing outside Calcutta.
  • In applications for letters of administration, a citation shall be issued to all relevant persons unless they have consented.
  • Proceedings for probate and letters of administration are regulated by the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908.
  • The District Judge has the power to examine the petitioner, require further evidence, and issue citations to interested parties.
  • The Will of Surjan Singh Randhawa was probated on 04.06.1982, despite being unregistered and dated 15.06.1961.
  • The District Judge’s powers under Section 283 apply to both probate and letters of administration petitions.
  • The Calcutta High Court has specific rules related to Testamentary and Intestate Jurisdiction, including citation of rightful parties in applications for probate or letters of administration.
  • In the case of Nistariny v. Brahmomyi, (1891) 18 Cal. 45, it was observed that when a will alters the devolution of property, the District Judge should direct special citations to persons affected by the will.
  • The Calcutta High Court in Kamona Soondury Dassee v. Hurro Lall Shaha, (1882) ILR 8 Cal 570, emphasized the need for special citations when a will changes property devolution.
  • The discretion vested in the District Judge under Section 250 of the Succession Act should be exercised with care, especially when a will alters property distribution.
  • In the case of Shyama Charan Baisya vs Prafull Sundari Gupta, AIR 1916 Cal 623, it was reiterated that special citations should be directed by the District Judge when a will changes the devolution of property.
  • A judgment in Harimati Debi and another vs Anath Nath Roy Choudhury, AIR 1939 Cal 535, highlighted the importance of removing doubt and suspicion, especially when an unregistered will is propounded after a long period.
  • The Calcutta High Court focused only on the probate revocation proceedings initiated by the appellant.
  • The court limited its review to the application filed by the appellant for revocation of probate dated 04.06.1982.
  • Shri Jayant Bhushan argued against the interference of the court citing ongoing probate proceedings and the impact of the dismissal of a partition suit filed by the appellant’s mother.
  • The scope of the consideration by the court is specifically restricted to the revocation of probate application.


  • The appeal is allowed and orders passed by the Single Judge and Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court are set aside.
  • The application for revocation of probate is allowed, and the probate dated 04.06.1982 is revoked.
  • The High Court is requested to expedite the proceedings due to the age of the case.
  • The application PLA No.90 of 1982 is revived before the Single Judge for consideration and decision in accordance with the law.
  • Each party will bear their own costs.


Case Number: C.A. No.-008455-008455 / 2019

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