Gratuity, Benevolent Fund and other Service Benefits Not Claimable in Life Time are not Part of Tarkah: SHC
A very interesting case regarding what forms Tarkah or estate, came up before the Sindh High Court wherein the Appellant, Mst. Naz Bibi, challenged the decree of the Appellate Court which ruled that 50% of the services benefits and National Saving Certificates is the right of the respondent, the deceased’s brother. The appellate court ruled so considering both of the properties as part of the Tarkah or estate.
The Appellant, the deceased person’s widow, challenged it before the SHC and maintained that it is not part of the Tarkah, hence the same cannot be distributed among the legal heirs as per the Sharia. Rather, she maintained, the said property left behind by the deceased should be distributed among the legal heirs as per the rules of the employer where the deceased was an employee.
The Court referred to the seminal judgment on the concept of Tarkah reported as PLD 1991 SC 731 and held that a property which was owned by the deceased or which could be claimed by him as his property in his time, only that property forms part of Tarkah. Any such property which becomes due to the legal heirs of a deceased upon his/her death does not form part of Tarkah. Hence, such property should be handed over to a legal heir who has been nominated by the employer in this regard.
Under the above mentioned rule, the NSC forms part of Tarkah of the deceased. However, a twist came in the case when the HC was informed that the rule of the employer institution provided that the National Saving Certificates have to be given to the widow alone in case of death of an employee. Meaning thereby, the employer had considered it not part of Tarkah while framing rules.
The Court ruled that if a property is part of Tarkah, nomination of one legal heir by the employer does not affect the inheritance right of other legal heirs. The same property which is part of the Tarkah must be distributed as per the Sharia shares of each legal heir. The rules framed by the employer will take a back seat and they will not prevail in such an eventuality.P L D 2023 Sindh 321