“Service Benefits Do Not Form Bequeathable Estate Of Any Government Servant”: Karnataka High Court

The Karnataka High Court on 16th March, 2023 has held that service benefits do not form the bequeathable estate of any government servant. This was in the case of Sujata & Others v. Nehru @ Kamagond Patil & others and was presided over by a single Judge bench of Justice C M Joshi.


The appellants are the original plaintiffs and they had filed suit for declaration and injunction against the defendant No.1 to declare that the plaintiffs’ have become owners of Land in R.S.No.684/1 measuring 14 acres of Honawad village and also that they have right to receive the service benefits, insurance etc., which were bequeathed by the deceased Kalpana in favour of the plaintiffs under a Will dated 04.03.2005. They contended that the deceased Kalpana was the sister of the plaintiffs and she was working as a primary School Teacher in Athani taluk and she has married defendant No.1. They lead marital life for a period of 6 months and thereafter there was a difference among them. During the life time of deceased Kalpana, the respondent No.1 who happens to be her husband, contracted a second marriage and then he neglected the deceased Kalpana. It is contended that the deceased Kalpana died on 12.05.2005 when she was seriously ill and hearing about the ill-health, the respondent No.1 took her to Hulagabali village and after 4 days she died there. It is contended that the deceased Kalpana was suffering from illness since 2004 and she had executed a Will on 04.03.2005 bequeathing the land allotted to her, the life insurance amount and also the service benefits to the plaintiffs. The said Will was duly registered. After the death of Kalpana, the respondent No.1 tried to get his name entered in revenue records of the land and attempted to receive service benefits. The same was objected by the appellants, which gave rise to the present litigation.


The Court dismissing the petition held that “In view of these authoritative to pronouncements, which has stood the test of time, it is clear that the service benefits do not form the bequeathable estate of any Government Servant. Under these circumstances, the judgments of the trial Court as well the first appellate Court cannot be found fault with. The substantial questions of Law raised by this Court are no more res-integra. It has been answered by the Apex Court in the aforesaid decisions. Therefore, the appeal is bereft of any merit and does not require any further consideration.”


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