Daughters have equal right to inherit property, says SC -THE HINDU- 12 AUG-2020
The Supreme Court has expanded a Hindu woman’s right to be a joint legal heir and inherit ancestral property on terms equal to male heirs.
What is the ruling?
A three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra ruled that a Hindu woman’s right to be a joint heir to the ancestral property is by birth and does not depend on whether her father was alive or not when the law was enacted in 2005.
The amended Hindu Succession Act gives daughters equal rights to ancestral property and will have a retrospective effect.
SC agreed with lead arguments made by senior advocate Bishwajit Bhattacharya that the substituted Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 confers the status of ‘coparcener’ to a daughter born before or after the amendment in the same manner as a son.
What is the 2005 law?
The Mitakshara school of Hindu law codified as the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 governed succession and inheritance of property but only recognised males as legal heirs.
The law applied to everyone who is not a Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jew by religion.
Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains and followers of Arya Samaj, Brahmo Samaj are also considered Hindus for the purposes of this law.
In a Hindu Undivided Family, several legal heirs through generations can exist jointly. Traditionally, only male descendants of a common ancestor along with their mothers, wives and unmarried daughters are considered a joint Hindu family.
Women were recognised as coparceners or joint legal heirs for partition arising from 2005.
Section 6 of the Act was amended in 2005 to make a daughter of a coparcener also a coparcener by birth, in the same manner as the son.
The law applies to ancestral property and to intestate succession in personal property — where succession happens as per law and not through a will.