Our Legal Correspondent

Kolkata, March 11

MR Justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta of the Calcutta High Court today discharged the caveatable interest of Mr K.K. Birla, Mr B.K. Birla and Mr Yashovardhan Birla in the probate petition of Mr R.S. Lodha over the will of Priyamvada Devi Birla in 1999. The court, however, retained the caveatable right of Mr G.P. Birla.

The court allowed the right of Mr Lodha on the ground that he is the sole executor of the will of Priyamvada Devi, made in 1999, and the property for which the will was made was received by Priyamvada Birla from M.P. Birla on his demise, as per the Hindu Succession Act, 1956; as such, Mr Lodha has a constructive right to file caveat, it was stated.

The Birlas had filed petitions challenging the caveatable interest of Mr Lodha in the mutual will of 1982 made by M.P. Birla.

The court directed that Mr Lodha's caveat over M.P. Birla's 1982 will be treated as part of the probate proceedings of the 1982 will.

It also said that Mr G.P. Birla must be added as a party in the probate petition of the 1999 will.

Mr Lodha had filed a petition challenging the caveatable interest of the four Birlas in the probate matter, but during arguments the court did not make any strong opposition to Mr G.P. Birla just as the counsel for Mr Lodha too did not raise any staunch opposition. The court also allowed Mr Lodha the right to file caveat in the will made by M.P. Birla in 1982.

On the prayer of the Birla group, the court stayed the order for four weeks.

While discharging the caveatable interest of the three Birlas, the court held that co-trusteeship, co-ownership and co-sharing do not create any caveatable interest for the Birlas.

In the case of Mr K.K. Birla, it was held that he is no way connected with Priyamvada's will.

With regard to the caveat of Mr B.K. Birla and Mr Yash Birla, the court held that they were not actual executors but only nominees; hence, they cannot be termed as coparcener. The court, however, held that the status of Mr Yash Birla as nominated executor of M.P. Birla's will appears to be valid, while opining that the appointment of Mr B.K. Birla in Priyamvada's will was not a valid one.

While allowing the right of Mr G.P. Birla, the court held that he was one of the executors of Priyamvada's 1982 will.

Four Special Officers appointedIn another development, following a petition filed by Ms Radha Mohta and Ms Laxmibai Newar, the two sisters of M.P. Birla, for appointment of a Receiver to prepare an inventory of the personal effects including antiques and other valuables worth crores of rupees of Priyamvada Devi, the court today appointed a team of four Special Officers for the purpose, and directed it to submit a report after four weeks. Mr Ahin Chowdhury, Senior Advocate, has been named as head of the team.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 12, 2005)
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