Bombay high court.
Bombay high court.

High court rules not to impede justice, but to aid it: Bombay HC

A biological parent need not furnish surety while applying for letters of administration or succession certificates regarding interest in estate of their minor children, the court said
By Kanchan Chaudhari
PUBLISHED ON APR 16, 2021 10:01 AM IST

The high court’s rules are not meant to impede justice, but to aid it, the Bombay high court observed on Tuesday and declared that a biological parent need not furnish surety while applying for letters of administration or succession certificates regarding interest in estate of their minor children.

Justice Gautam Patel issued the clarification after noticing that the high court registry was routinely taking objections and demanding surety for the entirety of the minor child’s share in the estate from mostly poor widowed mothers.

“In more than one order, I have noted all our (HC) Rules are not meant to impede justice, but to aid it,” said justice Gautam Patel. “No court of justice can be blindsided by such a ruthless application of this or that rule,” the court added.

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The judge said in most cases, the petitioners were widowed at an uncommonly early age and were left with the duty of caring for minor children, some of them very young, and in at least two cases, they had aged parents or in-laws to look after as well. “In every single case, these widowed petitioners have had no independent income,” said the judge, adding, “They have no means of providing the surety, bond or justifying the surety for any part of the estate.”

The high court clarified that under the Bombay High Court (Original Side) Rules, a biological parent is not required to furnish or justify surety while applying for letters of administration or succession certificates for the purpose of his or her minor child’s interest in an estate.

“Rule 422(a)(ii) (of Bombay HC Rules) has no application at all to a birth parent who is the natural guardian of a minor. It follows that when an application for Letters of Administration or Succession Certificate is made by a parent and one of the heirs is the natural guardian of the Petitioner, no question arises of having to furnish surety or of justifying surety for the share of a birth minor in an estate,” said justice Patel.

The court added that in all matters where a birth parent seeks such letters of administration or succession certificates, the registry is not entitled to demand surety justifying the birth minor’s share in the property or estate in question.

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