Kerala High Court Upholds Family Court Decision in Property Dispute

Overview of the Case

IOn March 15, 2024, the Kerala High Court in Ernakulam, led by Justice Anu Sivaram and Justice C. Pratheep Kumar, reviewed a petition challenging a Family Court decision regarding a property dispute. The petitioner sought a declaration that a sale deed executed in favor of the respondents was invalid and requested the property to be reconveyed to him. The case involved multiple legal documents and forensic evidence to determine the authenticity of signatures.

Legal Proceedings and Forensic Evidence

The petitioner produced a receipt (Exhibit P3) allegedly signed by his wife, which he claimed proved his ownership of the disputed property. The receipt was sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in Thiruvananthapuram for verification. The FSL’s report (Exhibit P5) concluded that the signatures on the receipt did not match the known signatures of the respondent, leading the Family Court to dismiss the petitioner’s claim. Dissatisfied with the FSL report, the petitioner filed an application (I.A. No. 1 of 2023) to set aside the report, arguing that the disputed signature on the revenue stamp differed from the sample signatures taken on plain paper.

High Court’s Decision

The High Court examined the evidence and found no reason to doubt the accuracy of the sample signatures collected by the Family Court. The court noted that the petitioner had ample opportunity to object to the FSL report and to cross-examine the expert who prepared it. The court observed that the petitioner’s delay in filing the application to set aside the FSL report and his failure to raise pertinent objections earlier indicated a lack of bona fides. The High Court upheld the Family Court’s decision, emphasizing that the petitioner had not presented sufficient grounds to invalidate the FSL report. The petitioner’s request for reconveyance of the property was dismissed, reinforcing the Family Court’s original ruling.

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