The Bombay high court (HC) on Wednesday once again suggested that the Thackeray brothers – Shiv Sena chief Uddhav and his elder brother Jayadev – should try to amicably settle issues related to inheritance. Though Jayadev’s side was willing to give it a try, Uddhav side appeared to be reluctant.
Uddhav’s counsel, advocate Rajesh Shah, said his client would require some time to consider the suggestion, citing the bitterness that has grown between the brothers over the years.
During the hearing on the testamentary suit filed by Uddhav seeking probate (court validation) of the will executed by his father, the late Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, justice Gautam Patel said the issues could perhaps be resolved through the mediation of someone who is trusted by both sides. The judge has now posted the testamentary suit for further hearing, on January 6.
Bal Thackeray’s will lies at the centre of a bitter legal battle between the siblings, as their father purportedly bequeathed all his movable and immovable properties to Uddhav, leaving nothing to Jayadev or the family of his other son, late Bindumadhav.
Jayadev, estranged from his father years ago, has questioned the validity of the will that was signed by his father on December 13, 2011. He contended his father suffered from cognitive dysfunction and could not have signed the will in such an ailing condition.
The Sena supremo had named four party leaders as executors of his will – Anil Parab, Suresh Prabhu, advocate Adik Shirodkar, and his personal assistant, Ravindra Mhatre.
Uddhav and the four executors approached HC by filing a testamentary petition, which was converted into a suit after Jayadev sought to contest it, staking claim to one-third of the estate left behind by his father.
So far, the court has examined advocate Flanian D’souza as a witness in the case, who prepared Bal Thakeray’s wills. During his cross examination, the lawyer revealed the late Sena supremo had made eight to nine wills between 1997 and 2011, and maintained he had not deleted the names of any of the beneficiaries named in them.