The Bombay High Court on Monday rejected the application of Jaidev Thackeray, the estranged son of the late Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray, seeking a share in the properties left behind by his father.
Turning down Jaidev's plea as "not maintainable", Justice R D Dhanuka said his court, being a testamentary court, had no jurisdiction to entertain such a claim.
A testamentary court is one which hears the petitions seeking probate of a will.
Jaidev Thackeray. File Pic
In the present case, Udhav Thackeray, Bal Thackeray's youngest son, has filed a probate petition, to get his father's will certified by the court.
Jaidev filed 'a caveat', opposing the probate and questioning the will which cuts him out of the family property.
He claimed that Bal Thackeray would not have denied him a share in the property.
The High Court, however, held that Jaidev did not follow the correct procedure; he filed a caveat and pleaded that it may be treated as 'letters of Administrations'.
The letters of Administration is a formal document issued by a court appointing a manager of the assets and liabilities of the estate of the deceased person.
Justice Dhanuka said Jaidev should have filed a separate application for letters of Administration or he should have filed a separate suit seeking partition of family property.
His present plea for share in the property cannot be entertained because a testamentary court does not have the powers to decide such claim, the Judge opined.
The Court posted the matter to June 23 for framing of issues.
A month ago, the High court had refused to grant interim relief to Jaidev, who had sought to restrain the beneficiaries of his father's will from selling or disposing of the family properties.
Uddhav Thackeray, who took over as Shiv Sena president after his father's death in November 2012, is one of the beneficiaries of Bal Thackeray's will.
Justice Dhanuka had observed that under the Indian Succession Act, his court does not have the powers to grant interim protection in respect of properties.
"This court cannot decide on title issues while hearing a testamentary suit. Such remedies are available under the Code of Civil Procedure which the applicant (Jaidev) can avail of by filing an independent civil suit," the HC had observed.
After Uddhav moved the High Court to probate the will, Jaidev filed an application challenging it. So the the probate petition filed by Uddhav was converted into a testamentary suit.
The estate left behind by Bal Thackeray includes property and bank deposits worth Rs 14.85 crore.
The court had earlier also refused to express any opinion on Jaidev's allegation that Uddhav, being the leader of a political party, would use his influence to get the will executed. According to Jaidev's affidavit, his father's property was worth much more than what is stated in the probate petition; the suburban Bandra bungalow 'Matoshri' itself was worth Rs 40 crore, it said.
Although he had separated from his father some years ago, the two had a cordial relationship and the senior Thackeray could not have signed a will in which Jaidev had not been given any share in the family property, he said.
The will bequeaths the first floor of Thackeray bungalow to his grandson Aishvarya, the son of Jaidev and his divorced wife Smita.
The second floor has been bequeathed to Uddhav and his sons Aditya and Tejas.
The ground and third floors have been given exclusively to Uddhav.
Jaidev, and Madhavi, the widow of Thackeray's eldest son Bindumadhav who died in a road accident some years ago, get no share.
Madhavi has not contested the will.
Former Sena Rajya Sabha MP and senior advocate Adhik Shirodkar, lawyer Anil Parab, architect Shashi Prabhu and Thackeray's personal assistant Ravindra Mhatre are named as executors of the will.
Advocate Shirodkar passed away recently. Dr Jalil Parkar, Bal Thackeray's personal physician, is the witness in whose presence he signed the will.