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Kerala HC: Production of Succession Certificate Mandatory When Decree Amount of Demised Decree Holder Comes Under ‘Debts’ Or ‘Securities’

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High Court of Kerala Antiques fraud Investigation

Debangana Ray

Published on July 17, 2022 at 19:29 IST

The Kerala High Court held that the production of succession certificate is mandatory as per Section 214(1)(b) of the Succession Act when the decree holder dies in cases where the decree amount comes under the category ‘debts’ or ‘securities’.

Justice A Badharudeen further added that when the decree holder dies after the deposit has been made, an exemption is made for the production of succession certificate.

In this case, when an appeal against the award passed by the Sub Court was considered by the Apex Court, the compensation amount was enhanced. Accordingly, the judgment debtor deposited the compensation amount.

However, the decree holder passed away prior to it. The legal heir of the deceased decree holder alleges that the Sub Judge insisted for the production of succession certificate to disburse the amount.

Considering the provision contained in Section 214(1)(a) and (b) of the Indian Succession Act, production of succession certificate as mandated under section 214(1)(b) of the Succession Act is mandatory.

However, there is an exception that when the decree holder dies after depositing the amount before the court, production of succession certificate is not necessary to withdraw the amount by the legal representatives.

Similarly, compensation arising out of motor accident or compensation, arising out of land acquisition proceedings or cases involving grant of compensation under the Electricity Act, etc. would not come under the purview of `debts’ or `securities’.

Therefore, in such cases, the production of succession certificate is not mandatory, and the legal representatives or legal heirs, as the case may be, have to convince their status before the court concerned otherwise to realise the compensation.

Furthermore, when one of the decree holders dies, involving `debt’ as contemplated under Section 214(1)(b) of the Succession Act, the surviving decree holder can execute decree on his own behalf and on behalf of the legal representative of the deceased decree holder and in such case, succession certificate is not necessary.

The Court thereby held that legal heirs of a deceased decree holder need not produce a succession certificate as envisaged under Section 214(1)(b) of the Succession Act for disbursing the compensation amount as it is outside the preview of the definition of debts and securities.

Further, directed the Sub Court to consider the cheque application filed by the petitioner without insisting on the production of succession certificate.