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Court was hearing a plea by three individuals seeking the Grant of Probate for a will executed in 2012 by an unmarried woman who passed away in 2015
The Delhi High Court has clarified that a court can reject a will only if "substantial changes" are identified through "cuttings and overwriting."
Justice Rekha Palli, presiding over a single-judge bench, emphasized this principle in an order dated November 17.
The court stated that the impact of unsigned cuttings and overwriting would be contingent on the specific facts and circumstances of each case.
Justice Palli added that when a will contains cuttings and overwriting, the court must assess its effect, irrespective of whether it conforms to Section 71 of the Succession Act. Section 71 of the Act states that any alterations made to a will after its execution shall not have a legal effect unless its words or meaning have become illegible and undiscernible.
These observations were made during the hearing of a plea by three individuals seeking the Grant of Probate for a will executed in 2012 by an unmarried woman who passed away in 2015. A grant of probate is a court's recognition of a will's validity and the legal authorization of appointed executors to administer the assets.
According to the petitioners, they were executors of a will dated September 27, 2012, attested by two friends of the deceased woman. Upon recovery of the will, some overwriting and cuttings were discovered.
Justice Palli, while allowing the plea, deduced that the changes indicated in the will were not sweeping alterations that materially affected the bequeathals.
The court suggested that the deceased woman may have contemplated certain modifications to her will over time but could not implement them.
The court concluded that the identified cuttings and overwriting were not substantial enough to discredit the original will, which, in the court's opinion, reflected the deceased woman's final wishes regarding the distribution of her assets. Therefore, the court found no basis for rejecting the will's validity in its original form.
Case Title: Mr. Bhupinder Singh & Ors. v. State & Ors.
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