Sunday, 13 October 2019

Supreme Court: Witnesses To Sale Deed/Will Need Not Necessarily Know Its Contents

The main issue is whether Ratankuwarbai, who was an illiterate
lady and suffering from cancer, has executed these documents or
not. The defendants examined Antar Singh and Laxman Singh who are
witnesses to all the three documents. As far as Laxman Singh is
concerned, he clearly stated that at the time of registration of
the sale-deeds and the Will, the sub-Registrar concerned had read
out the subject matter of the three documents in short to
Ratankuwarbai. He also heard the sub-Registrar at that time. It
has been contended that both these witnesses have stated that they
were not aware of the contents of the documents, when they signed
as witnesses. The witnesses need not necessarily know what is
contained in the documents. Furthermore, when these witnesses
state that the sub-Registrar had told the gist of the documents to

the deceased then they become aware of the nature of the documents
at the time of registration thereon. In fact both Antar Singh and
Laxman Singh had deposed with regard to transfer of the
consideration.

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
Civil Appeal No(s). 8827/2011

HEMKUNWAR BAI Vs  SUMERSINGH

Dated:September 25, 2019.

This appeal is directed against the judgment of the High Court
whereby it reversed the judgment and decree of the Trial Court
decreeing the suit of the plaintiff - appellant before us.
Devisingh was the original owner of the suit property. On the
death of Devisingh in the year 1961, the property was mutated in
favour of his widow Ratankuwarbai in terms of the Madhya Pradesh
Land Revenue Code.
On 06.04.1995, Ratankuwarbai executed two sale-deeds [Exhibit
D-1 and D-2] in favour of her nephews - Manohar Singh and Sumer
Singh. On the same day, as far as his entire remaining property
which was not the subject matter of the two sale deeds, she
executed a Will in favour of Inder Singh. It would be pertinent to
mention that Manohar Singh, Sumer Singh and Inder Singh are real
brothers being the sons of sister of Devisingh.
It is an admitted fact that Ratankuwarbai was suffering from
throat cancer and had undergone some treatment and a document dated
17.04.1995 has been placed on record. Unfortunately, Ratankuwarbai
expired on 21.07.1995. Soon thereafter, on 18.09.1995 Hemkuwarbai
filed a civil suit for declaration that the two sale-deeds and the
Will are sham and fraudulent documents and not binding upon her.

She claimed to be in possession of the property and she prayed for
a declaration that she be declared to be the owner in possession of
the suit property and also prayed that the respondents be injuncted
from interfering in her possession. The defendants contested the
suit and the entire defence is based on the sale deeds and the Will
being validly executed documents.
Both sides led evidence and the Trial Court, on consideration
of the evidence, came to the conclusion that the defendants had
failed to prove the source of the consideration for the sale deeds
and transfer of the consideration to Ratankuwarbai. There were
also some discrepancies with regard to time as to when the
possession of the suit property was allegedly handed over to the
defendants. There are some other discrepancies pointed out but
those are minor in nature.
The main issue is whether Ratankuwarbai, who was an illiterate
lady and suffering from cancer, has executed these documents or
not. The defendants examined Antar Singh and Laxman Singh who are
witnesses to all the three documents. As far as Laxman Singh is
concerned, he clearly stated that at the time of registration of
the sale-deeds and the Will, the sub-Registrar concerned had read
out the subject matter of the three documents in short to
Ratankuwarbai. He also heard the sub-Registrar at that time. It
has been contended that both these witnesses have stated that they
were not aware of the contents of the documents, when they signed
as witnesses. The witnesses need not necessarily know what is
contained in the documents. Furthermore, when these witnesses
state that the sub-Registrar had told the gist of the documents to

the deceased then they become aware of the nature of the documents
at the time of registration thereon. In fact both Antar Singh and
Laxman Singh had deposed with regard to transfer of the
consideration.
We are not going into the factual aspect of the matter at this
stage which is in the nature of the second appeal. The findings
were given by the Trial Court which findings have been upset by the
High Court. It may be possible to urge both the views but it
cannot be said that the finding of the High Court is a perverse
finding which could not be given in the facts and circumstances of
the case. On the basis of the evidence, the High Court has taken a
view which is a possible view. This Court in second appeal does
not ordinarily enter into factual aspect of the matter and
therefore, we find no merit in the appeal and the same is
accordingly dismissed.
The Receiver appointed is discharged and he shall give
accounts as per the order of the Trial Court.
…....................J.
[DEEPAK GUPTA]
…....................J.
[ANIRUDDHA BOSE]
NEW DELHI;
September 25, 2019.

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