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Supreme Court dismisses inheritance case, upholds limitation ruling

ISLAMABAD: In a recent judgment, the Supreme Court of Pakistan dismissed an inheritance case involving the petitioners’ claim on a property against respondents. The court upheld the concurrent findings of the appellate court and the high court on the question of limitation, thereby dismissing the petitioners’ case.

The legal battle began when the petitioners filed a suit for a declaration of their inheritance rights to the estate of their deceased predecessor. The trial court initially ruled in favor of the petitioners, but the respondents appealed to the district court. The appellate court overturned the trial court’s decision, finding that the petitioners had not challenged the inheritance mutation in their lifetime, despite knowledge of receiving compensation by the predecessor of the respondents, Abdur Rehman, in the year 1960-61.

The appellate court relied on the judgments of this Court and decided the issues of cause of action, estoppel, and limitation against the petitioners.

The petitioners then filed a revision petition in the High Court, which also upheld the appellate court’s decision on the issues of cause of action, estoppel, and limitation. The High Court relied on various judgments of the Supreme Court, including Kala Khan v. Rab Nawaz 2004 SCMR 517, Lal Khan v. Muhammad Yousaf PLD 2011 SC 657, and others.

The petitioners’ counsel argued that the trial court correctly applied the principle that limitation does not apply in cases of inheritance, while the appellate court and the High Court erred in non-suiting the petitioners on the ground of limitation. However, the Supreme Court carefully examined the previous judgments and found no such conflict in the Court’s opinions.

The court clarified that the period of limitation applies to suits for declaration of ownership rights under Article 120 of the Limitation Act 1908. In this case, the Court found that the period of limitation began running when Mst. Mehro and Mst. Afsro, the predecessor of the petitioners, had knowledge of Abdur Rehman’s actions and expired in 1967-68.

The court further ruled that the limitation period cannot start over again for the petitioners, who derive their right to sue from Mst. Mehro and Mst. Afsro.

Based on the above discussion, the Supreme Court found the petition meritless and dismissed it, declining to grant leave to appeal. This judgment serves as a reminder of the importance of timely legal action in inheritance disputes and the implications of the period of limitation in such cases.

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