The request of a legal heir of the deceased applicant for substitution cannot be refused on the grounds that others are not implicated – SC

The Supreme Court recently observed that the request of the son-appellant to substitute himself as the legal representative of the deceased-mother cannot be rejected when it is recognized that the appellant is the son of the deceased-mother.

The bench of Judge Dinesh Maheshwari and Judge Aniruddha Bose held like this- “Leaving aside every other aspect of the matter, it is only apparent that the appellant is indeed the son of the deceased plaintiff. Thus his right, whether by way of testamentary succession or intestate succession, in as the legal heir of the deceased plaintiff cannot be rejected. Under these conditions, the request he had made to replace him as the legal representative of the deceased plaintiff could not be rejected by the court of first instance.”

The relevant aspects of this case are that the Appellant’s mother had died in January 2020. Subsequently, the Appellant submitted a request to have him replaced as the deceased Applicant’s legal representative claiming that the Applicant , his mother, had signed a will. in 2016 in his favor with respect to his entire estate.

Given the factum of the existence of other legal heirs of the deceased plaintiff, the trial judge came to the conclusion that the appellant’s request for substitution should be dismissed and ordered accordingly.

The appellant appealed to the High Court against the above order. The High Court dismissed the Appellant’s petition on the ground that he, that is the present Appellant, should have taken steps to implead the other legal heirs of the deceased Applicant either as joint plaintiffs , or as defendants to assert its right to the property in question.

The son-appellant appeared in person while Master G. Balaji appeared for the respondent.

The Supreme Court noted that since the appellant was admittedly the deceased plaintiff’s son, his request to replace him as the deceased plaintiff’s legal representative could not be dismissed by the court of first instance.

Accordingly, the Court reversed the rescission of the impugned orders and reinstated said request for reconsideration by the trial court in accordance with law.

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