Heirs to get money, not nominees: HC/মৃত ব্যক্তির ব্যাংকের টাকা নমিনি নয়, পাবে উত্তরাধিকারী- এ মর্মে রায় দিয়েছেন হাইকোর্ট

মৃত ব্যক্তির ব্যাংকের টাকা নমিনি নয়, পাবে উত্তরাধিকারী- এ মর্মে রায় দিয়েছেন হাইকোর্ট

রোববার (০৩ এপ্রিল) বিচারপতি নাঈমা হায়দার ও বিচারপতি খিজির আহমেদ চৌধুরী সমন্বয়ে গঠিত হাইকোর্টের দ্বৈত বেঞ্চ এ ব্যাংক হিসাবধারী কোনো ব্যক্তির মৃত্যুর পর ব্যাংকে রক্ষিত টাকা এখন থেকে নমিনির পরিবর্তে হিসাবধারীর উত্তরাধিকারী পাবে- মর্মে এক মামলার চূড়ান্ত নিষ্পত্তি করে এ রায় দেন।

মামলার বিবরণীতে দেখা যায়, ২০১৪ সালের মার্চে বাংলাদেশ ব্যাংকের ডেপুটি ডিরেক্টর শহিদুল হক চৌধুরী তার দ্বিতীয় স্ত্রীকে নমিনি করে ৩০ লক্ষ টাকার সঞ্চয়পত্র রাখে।

পরে শহিদুল হক মারা গেলে তার দ্বিতীয় স্ত্রী পুরো টাকা একাই ভোগ করতে চাইলে মৃত শহীদুলের প্রথম পক্ষের সন্তানরা টাকা দাবি করে মামলা করে। তবে নিম্ন আদালত রায় দেন, নমিনি যে সেই টাকা পাবে।

এ রায়ের বিরুদ্ধে হাইকোর্টে আপিল করলে, রোববার মৃত ব্যক্তির ব্যাংকে থাকা টাকা নমিনি নয়, উত্তরাধিকারীরা পাবেন বলেন রায় দিলেন আদালত।

Heirs to get money, not nominees: HC

The High Court (HC) on Sunday delivered a judgment declaring the legal heir as the owner of money of savings account with the bank, not the nominees in case of death of savings account holder.

The HC bench of Justice Naima Haider and Justice Khizir Ahmed Choudhury passed the order over a civil revision petition.

Advocate MI Faruki and advocate Nazneen Nahar Dipu stood for the petitioner in the court. 

Advocate Nazneen Nahar Dipu said that as a result of this verdict, the nominees can withdraw money but the legal heirs will be the owner of the money.

For explanation

Right of legal heirs against nominees–

On 3 April 2016, the Supreme Court of Bangladesh delivered a historical judgment in establishing right of the legal heirs as against that of the nominees. A former deputy director of Bangladesh Bank had Tk. 30 lakh deposited in his bank account and he made his second wife the sole nominee. Upon death of the depositor, his children of the first wife went to lower civil court seeking succession certificate which the court rejected holding the second wife as the lone inheritor of the savings. This decision of the lower civil court was challenged in the High Court Division (HCD) by the plaintiff. The HCD bench of Justice Naima Haider and Justice Khizir Ahmed Choudhury altering the lower court’s decision declared that, only legal heirs are the owner of the money from savings account of the banks not the nominee.

The legal position of the nominee has been a controversial issue in Bangladesh for a long time. Previously, under section 4 of the Government Savings Banks Act of 1873, a nominee was the absolute owner of the deposited money in the event of the death of the depositor excluding all rights of the legal heirs. Legal heirs were entitled to inherit only when the depositor dies without making any nomination. In such cases the legal heirs were required to obtain a succession certificate under the Succession Act of 1925.

Indian and Pakistani courts had interpreted laws regarding nominee in a different way. In a landmark case of Sarbati Devi v Usha Devi, AIR (1984) SC 346, the Supreme Court of India held that “the nomination only indicates the hand which is authorised to receive the amount, on the payment of which the insurer gets a valid discharge of its liability under the policy.” While subsequent decision of the court extended the application of this rule in other instances of nomination such as bank savings, post office savings etc.

The Pakistani Supreme Court in Amtul Habi v Musarrat Parveen, PLD (1974) SC 185 laid down the same principle while holding that a nomination does not constitute a gift or bequest, “and, therefore, a nomination shall not deprive the legal heir of the nominator.” In Bangladesh, however, prior to this decision there was no direction from the higher court on this issue.

The main purpose of the system of nomination in banking system is the smooth transaction of money. If the depositor does not leave any nominee, then the money will be transferred only after fulfilling certain formalities, which can be a hassle for both the bank and the heirs. But if nomination is made then the burden of the bank authority is reduced and it can easily hand over the money to the nominee.

The decision also made the nominee system consistent with the Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act of 1937. The previous system was a circumvention of Muslim law of succession which was against the application on personal laws in family affairs.

With this judgment the rules regarding nominee, which was a contradiction to the rule of succession under personal law, is correctly interpreted by establishing the rights of the legal heirs. Now the nominee is merely a trustee, whose obligation is to distribute the money among the heirs. Obviously if the nominee is a legal heir then he will get his portion according to the rule of succession. However, it will be interesting to see whether the application of this rule will also be extended to laws such as the Post Office National Savings Certificate Ordinance of 1944 or the Insurance Act of 2010.

Although the conflicting situation regarding rights of the nominee and the legal heirs is settled by this decision, a comprehensive and acceptable definition of nominee is still required. And for this the legislative body should act with accordance with the direction of the HCD and make necessary amendment to the respective laws.

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