IN AN interesting case, the Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court has the task of deciding which of two is the prevailing will and testament of Surendra Singh, the ruler of erstwhile princely state of Alirajpur (Jhabua district). Singh’s brother has contested the second will.
An IFS officer and former ambassador to Spain, divorcee Surendra Singh died without a heir at Shreemaya Hotel in Indore on March 30,1996, at the age of 74.
As per court records, Singh made the first will on November 5, 1984, in which he bequeathed all his property to various individuals including 55 per cent of sale proceeds of his house at Vasant Vihar in New Delhi to his brother Kamlendra Singh, 10 per cent each of the sale proceeds to his friends the erstwhile ruler of Kod (a guaranteed estate in the present Dhar district) Thakur Ram Pratap Singh and ex-ruler of Kathhiwada (Jhabua district) Kunwar Moti Singh and 25 per cent to Jyoti Rathore wife of Kamal Pratap Singh, who was Surendra Singh’s ADC at Alirajpur palace.
Cancelling the first will, Singh got a second will made on March 28, 1996, in which he bequeathed the entire sale proceeds of Vasant Vihar house designed by well-known architect Piloo Modi to Jyoti Rathore. The current market price of this house is approximately Rs 20 crore.
Contesting the second will, Kamlendra Singh, a retired BSF officer, moved an application for grant of probate under Section 276 of Indian Succession Act 1925 in the High Court in July 1996 saying that the 1984 will was the last will and testament (testimonial in which is contained and set forth the will of him who makes it, establishing or appointing his heirs and disposing as he thinks fit of his property after death) of his brother and that the one made in 1996 was not genuine.
Jyoti Rathore also filed a suit under Order 22, Rule 4 of Civil Procedure Code, stating that she was the sole legatee (beneficiary) of the 1996 will, which is the last will, and is therefore desirous of obtaining the property.
As Kunwar Moti Singh has passed away, his son Suryvaveer has been made party to the case and has been issued a notice. Similarly, Thakur Ram Pratap Singh too passed away in January 2005 and hence his daughter Madhuri Kumari has been made party to the case and notice has been issued to her also.
The notice sent to her earlier had been returned un-served, as Madhuri Kumari is said to be residing in Jaipur at present. The bench of Justice N K Mody on Friday ordered to serve fresh notice to Madhuri Kumari to inform her about the succession case. Advocates B M Masani and R T Thanevala appeared on behalf of Kamlendra Singh and Jyoti Rathore respectively.