Hindu Succession Act: India
This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.
Wife’s brother not legal heir to her husband: SC
SC said that a woman's brother could not claim right over property inherited by his sister from her husband.
It also said that woman's brother could not be part of his sister's matrimonial family
The Supreme Court has ruled that a woman's brother could neither be part of his sister's matrimonial family nor claim right over property inherited by his sister from her husband.
A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and R Banumathi ordered Durga Prasad, who had claimed to be part of the family of his widowed sister to inherit tenancy rights over a prime property in Dehradun, to vacate the premises within four weeks or face contempt of court.
The property was rented out to one Hem Ram Sharma in 1940. After Sharma's death, his son Baldev inherited the tenancy rights. On Baldev's death, his wife Lalita became the tenant. Lalita died in 2013. The deceased had no children and died intestate (without a will). Her brother Durga Prasad claimed tenancy rights on the ground that he was part of the family and also a legal heir as he had been living with his sister in the rented premises and running a medical business with her. Writing the judgment for the bench, Justice Banumathi looked into the UP Urban Buildings (Regulation of Letting, Rent and Eviction) Act, 1972 to understand whether the deceased woman's brother could qualify either as a member of her family or her legal heir. "Durga Prasad is neither an 'heir' nor falls under the definition family as per Section 3 of the UP law," the bench said.
Finding that the deceased was a Hindu woman, the court decided to examine it according to provisions of Hindu Succession Act. "Language used in Section 15 of Hindu Succession Act clearly specifies that the property inherited from the husband and father-in-law would devolve upon the heirs of husband/father-in-law from whom she inherited the property," the bench said.
"Since Durga Prasad does not fall under the category of 'heir' of Lalita's husband, the tenancy of the suit premises will not devolve on him (Durga Prasad) nor can he be called an heir," Justices Misra and Banumathi said. Examining the other aspect -whether Durga Prasad formed part of the family, the bench said, "He being brother of the deceased tenant, he cannot be held to be 'family' as the inclusive list given under the Act clearly omits 'brother and sister' and the same cannot be read therein as the list has to be read and interpreted strictly." Rejecting Prasad's argument that he had been living with his sister for a long period to lay claim to the rented property, the SC said, "He being the brother of deceased Lalita had no reason to normally reside with his married sister. Be it noted, in her written statement filed in the release application, Lalita had not averred that her brother Durga Prasad was living with her and that he was taking care of her."
Conversion of heir to another religion
Act disqualifies not the convert but descendants of the convert
In a landmark judgment, the Gujarat high court has ruled that a Hindu woman, who married a Muslim and renounced her Hindu faith to embrace Islam, is entitled to inherit her father's ancestral property as per the Hindu Succession Act.
In an ordered signed on Wednesday , Justice J B Pardiwala interpreted the Hindu inheritance laws and concluded, “The Hindu Succession Act does not disqualify a convert (from inhering ancestral property). It only disqualifies the descendants of the convert who are born to the convert after such conversion from inheriting the property of any of their Hindu relatives.“
With this, the high court ordered the state revenue authorities, who were of the opinion that since the woman had renounced her Hindu religion voluntarily does not have any right to share in her Hindu father's property , to correct entries in revenue record by entering the woman's name into the list of heirs.
The case involves Nasimbanu Firozkhan Pathan (nee Nainaben Bhikhabhai Patel) from Vadodara. She renounced Hinduism and embraced Islam on July 11, 1990 before marrying Firoz Khan on January 25, 1991, as per the Muslim rituals. Nasimbanu's father Bhikhabhai Patel passed away in 2004 leaving behind sizeable parcels of land in the village. When she staked claim to the property and applied for entering her name in the list of heirs, her siblings opposed her eligibility .
Interestingly , deputy collector held that the Muslim woman was entitled to inherit the property . The district collector and the state revenue secretary , however, overturned the decision and said that as Nasimbanu voluntarily embraced Islam, the provisions of the inheritance laws for Hindus cannot be enforced in her case.After hearing the case, Justice Pardiwala elaborated on how provisions existing in pre-existing Hindu Shastric laws for disqualification of Hindu women for succession or maintenance were pushed aside by the modern inheritance law in Independent India.
Issueless widow’s properties mostly vest not with her husband’s parents or relatives
Over the last decade, India's digital ecosystem has experienced a massive transformation. This has mainly been driven by technological innovation that has put the country in the fast lane by solving affordability, access, and digital inclusion problems. To further strengthen the idea of a digitally connected India, Bharti Airtel, a leading telecom provider in India, is now joining hands with Google to flag off a historic partnership. This long-term, multi-year agreement will see the two stalwarts come together to accelerate the growth of India's digital ecosystem. The partnership is set to expand India's digital ecosystem by boosting network capabilities, ensuring last-mile network distribution and payments ecosystem, and making technology truly equitable.
Airtel to receive a whopping $1Billion from Google
Google will invest up to $1Billion in Bharti Airtel as part of its Google for India Digitization Fund. The partnership comprises a $700 million (Rs. 5,224.4 crores) equity investment in Bharti Airtel at a price per share of Rs. 734. Another $300 million will be used over the next five years on multiple commercial agreements, which will include Airtel's plans to make smartphones more affordable to empower almost 350 million feature phone users in India. The partnership aims to achieve this through innovative affordability programs that will accelerate digital inclusion across India.
The association fulfils Google's vision to increase its footprint and pull more people to use the internet, which India, with a population of about 1.3 billion, readily offers. Experts state that this will allow telcos, like Airtel, to drive up 4G data usage and revenue, especially at this crucial point where it is gearing for 5G auctions by mid-2022 and subsequent 5G network rollouts.
Gearing India up to become digitally savvy
The partnership is a landmark moment in India's digital future as the two giants join hands to potentially co-create India-specific 5G network use cases with cutting-edge implementations. This will allow for faster deployment of 5G networks and services in the country, which will benefit not just consumers but the two companies as well. The partnership also opens up the scope for the two tech giants to rejig the cloud ecosystem in India. Airtel serves over one million small and medium businesses with its enterprise connectivity offering, and this partnership will help accelerate digital adoption.
Talking about the partnership, Sunil Bharti Mittal, chairman of Bharti Airtel, said, "Airtel and Google share the vision to grow India's digital dividend through innovative products. With our future-ready network, digital platforms, last-mile distribution and payments ecosystem, we look forward to working closely with Google to increase the depth and breadth of India's digital ecosystem."
Speaking about the deal, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, added, "Airtel is a leading pioneer shaping India's digital future, and we are proud to partner on a shared vision for expanding connectivity and ensuring equitable access to the Internet for more Indians."
Partnership to benefit individuals and businesses
This strategic partnership is set to bolster India's digital strength by letting both Airtel and Google work alongside various device manufacturers to bring down the barriers to owning a smartphone across different price points. Currently, a massive segment of India's 1.3 billion population accesses the internet through feature phones. Affordability and lack of adequate use cases have been primary reasons why telcos and device makers have struggled to upgrade them to smartphone users. The recent 20-25% price hike in prepaid tariffs by operators has further slowed down the conversion. Google's commercial and equity investment in Airtel will go a long way in making smartphones more affordable to more people.
The partnership will also empower businesses to progress on their digital transformation journeys and build a solid digital ecosystem for consumers. By building an open technology ecosystem, the two giants will extend innovative digital services to customers and businesses. As a part of its first commercial agreement, Airtel and Google will work together to build on Airtel's extensive offerings that cover a range of Android-enabled devices to consumers via innovative affordability programs.
Airtel's significant efforts in 5G adoption
Over the last five years, Airtel almost single-handedly changed the 5G roadmap in India. After becoming the first telco in the country to test the technology way back in 2018, Airtel conducted several path-breaking experiments in the 5G space in 2021. In an industry first, it conducted a cloud gaming demonstration on live Airtel 5G, in which popular Indian gamers Mortal and Mamba participated. The company also joined hands with Tata Consultancy Services and successfully tested innovative use cases from TCS' Neural Manufacturing™ solutions suite on Airtel's ultra-fast and low latency 5G network.
Airtel has also conducted live 5G tests across cities, like Hyderabad and Kolkata, and has collaborated with several tech companies like Intel, Qualcomm, etc., on the 5G front. This association with Google is set to strengthen Airtel's position as a telecom stalwart in the country and help further its efforts towards 5G adoption.
Disclaimer: This article has been written on behalf of Airtel by Times Internet's Spotlight team.
Daughter (married) vs. son, wife
Cooperative societies and married daughters
The Times of India, Apr 21 2016
Dad can give property to married daughter over son and wife: SC
In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court has ruled that a man is legally entitled to nominate his married daughter to own his cooperative society flat after his death, over his wife and only son.
The West Bengal Cooperative Societies Rules, 1987, stipulate that the owner of a flat in a cooperative housing society can leave his house to any person “belonging to his family“.
Taking this rule as their defence, along with other provisions of the WB Cooperative Societies Act, 1983, Biswa Ranjan Sengupta's wife and son challenged the decision of the managing committee of Purbanchal Housing Estate, Salt Lake City , Kolkata, to transfer ownership of a flat to Indrani Wahi, Sengupta's married daughter.
Based on the objection, the deputy registrar of Cooperative Societies declined to record Indrani's name as the successor of the flat originally allotted to Sengupta, who in his last days was living with her because of “ill-treatment“ by his wife and son. Indrani's appeal was al lowed by a single judge of the high court, which directed the flat to be registered in her name. But a division bench of the HC said Indrani was a part shareholder of the property along with Sengupta's wife and son and that she could dispose of the property only with the express consent of other shareholders. Indrani appealed against this judgment in the apex court.
A bench of Justices J S Khehar and C Nagappan analysed the entire gamut of judgments on this issue and said: “There can be no doubt that where a member of a cooperative society nominates a person in consonance with provisions of the rules, on the death of such member, the cooperative society is mandated to transfer all the share or interest of such member in the name of the nominee. The rights of others on account of inheritance or succession is a subservient right. Only if a member had not exercised the right of nomination under Section 79 of the Act, then and then alone, the existing share or interest of the member would devolve by way of succession or inheritance.“
Writing the judgment for the bench, Justice Khehar said: “It is not necessary for us to deal with the issue whether Indrani Wahi, being a married daughter of the original member, Biswa Ranjan Sengupta, could be treated as a member of the family of the deceased because the single judge, as also the division bench of the HC, have concluded that she was a member of the family .“ The court noted that this concurrent finding was not challenged by Sengupta's only son.
Holding that the cooperative society had no option but to register Indrani as the owner of the flat, the SC bench said it would be open to Sengupta's son to pursue his case of succession or inheritance in other forum.
Women born before 2005 have right to ancestral assets
Have Same Rights As Men Since Birth: SC
Daughters got equal rights to ancestral property when the Centre amended the Hindu Succession Act in 2005, and the Supreme Court made it clear on Friday that the law applied to all women, including those born before the year.
A bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ashok Bhushan said the amended law stipulated that a daughter would be a “coparcener” (one who shares equally in inheritance of an undivided property) since birth, and have the same rights and liabilities as a son. It said her share in ancestral property could not be denied on the ground that she was born before the law was passed, and the law was applicable in all property disputes filed before 2005 and pending when the law was framed.
“The law relating to a joint Hindu family governed by the Mitakshara law has undergone unprecedented changes. The said changes have been brought forward to address the growing need to merit equal treatment to the nearest female relatives, namely daughters,” the bench said.
It added that the law was amended to give daughters equal status to sons’ in property matters. “These changes have been sought... on the touchstone of equality, thus seeking to remove the perceived disability and prejudice to which a daughter was subjected,” the bench said.
The court passed the order on a plea filed by two sisters seeking share in their late father’s property. Their brothers had refused to give them their share, forcing them to take legal recourse in 2002. The trial court dismissed their plea in 2007 and said they were not entitled to any share as they were born before 2005. Their appeal was rejected by the high court and they finally approached the apex court.
Agreeing with their plea, the SC set aside the HC order and said the year of birth was not a criterion to decide whether a woman was covered under the amended law.
“...This amendment now confers upon the daughter of the coparcener as well the status of coparcener in her own right in the same manner as the son and gives same rights and liabilities in the coparcener properties...,” the bench said.
SC verdict 2020: equal rights for daughters
Putting the last nail on male primacy in division of Hindu ancestral property, the Supreme Court in a landmark judgment cleared the legal cobwebs to declare daughters will have inheritance rights equal to those of sons from properties of fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers right from the codification of the law in 1956.
A bench of Justices Arun Mishra, S Abdul Nazeer and M R Shah ironed out the confusion arising from the apex court’s conflicting interpretations of the amended Section 6 of Hindu Succession Act (HSA), which came into force from September 9, 2005.
The bench said that irrespective of whether the father was alive or not, daughters born before September 9, 2005, too, could claim equal right in inheritance.
However, daughters, while claiming coparcenary rights, won’t be able to question disposal or alienation of ancestral properties by the existing coparceners prior to December 20, 2004, as provided in the amended Section 6.
A daughter is a daughter all her life: SC
The provisions contained in substituted Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, confer status of coparcener (equal rights in inheritance) on the daughter born before or after amendment in the same manner as son with same rights and liabilities. The rights can be claimed by the daughter born earlier with effect from September 9, 2005,” Justice Mishra said in the 121-page judgment.
The court asked other coparceners in a Hindu joint family not to be alarmed by the judgment. “It is only a case of enlargement of the rights of daughters. The rights of other relatives remain unaffected as prevailed in the proviso to Section 6 as it stood before the amendment,” the Supreme Court said.
The three-judge bench also examined the retrospective application of Section 6 and ruled that daughters would get the rights from 1956 when the law came into being. However, it clarified that the newly-conferred rights through judicial interpretations would not be available to reopen alienation of ancestral property done so earlier through existing coparceners.
Coparcenary property is one which is inherited by a Hindu from his/her father, grandfather or great-grandfather. Analysing the Mitakshara system applicable in various forms to property owned by Hindu families, Justice Mishra quoted a common saying noted in a 1996 judgment of the SC to sum up the bench’s view towards daughters, “A son is a son until he gets a wife. A daughter is a daughter throughout her life.” The Centre, through solicitor general Tushar Mehta, had unequivocally conveyed that coparcenary was a birthright of daughters. Justice Mishra elaborated on it and said if daughters had a birthright, it would be incongruous to constrain it with the condition that to enjoy that right, her father must be alive.
“As the right is by birth and not by dint of inheritance, it is irrelevant that a coparcener, whose daughter is conferred with the rights, is alive or not,” the bench further stated.
2022: SC extends women’s right to father’s property to before ’56
New Delhi: The Supreme Court conferred daughters with equal right to father’s property even prior to codification of Hindu personal laws and enactment of the Hindu Succession Act in 1956 and said that the law of inheritance would apply to partition of properties even if the father had died intestate before 1956.
A bench of Justices S Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari gave the judgment and said self-acquired properties of a person, who died intestate in 1949, would devolve on his sole daughter, despite the man admittedly living in a joint family, and could not have passed on to the deceased person’s brother on the basis of the survivorship law in force prior to 1956 and upon his death to his children. Justice Murari said, “Since the property in question was admittedly the self-acquired property of Marappa Gounder, despite the family being in state of jointness upon his death intestate, his sole surviving daughter Kupayee Ammal will inherit the same by inheritance and the property shall not devolve by survivorship. ”
The SC had in August 2020 ruled that daughters will have inheritance rights equal to those of sons in the properties of fathers, grandfathers and great-grandfathers right from the codification of the Hindu laws in1956.
‘Partition suit to include property given as dowry’
Bengaluru: Joint familyproperty given as dowry, giftor otherwise during weddingof the daughter-plaintiff, whoclaimed a right of partitionwith her siblings under Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, would have to be included in the partition. The Karnataka HC hasmade this observation whileupholding the decision of acity civil court in Bengaluru. “I’m of the consideredopinion that a beneficiary ofSection 6 of the Hindu Succession Act can’t claim a benefitby way of partition as regardto joint family propertieswithout reference to properties already received by her atthe time of wedding as dowry/gift or otherwise. The saidproperties at an undisputedpoint of time forming partof the joint family propertyand the plaintiff having received it, they would alsohave to be made part of thepartition,” Justice SurajGovindaraj observed. Based on an applicationfiled by one V Somashekar,the civil court had ordered in clusion of two properties,including the one acre land atPallerayanahalli village,Tumakuru district in thepartition suit filed by hissister Hemalatha along withanother brother. It was contended that at thetime of her wedding, a nominal sale deed was executed (bytheir father K Venkatesh) in favour of her father-in-law Channaiah, and that property wasamenable for partition since itwas given as dowry. As regards the secondproperty, a residential site at Laggere in Bengaluru, it was claimed that their father had executed a power of attorney in favour of Hemalatha and her husband Jayaramaiah on her wedding and subsequently, a sale deed was executed in their names in June 2006.
Challenging the August 8, 2018 order passed by the civil court, Hemalatha contended that both these properties were independently purchased and can’t be included in the partition suit. Justice Govindaraj pointed out that since there is a clear and categorical assertion that the nominal sale deed was executed by their father at the time of her wedding, it had to be established in the trial.
“It is for the parties to establish during trial whether the properties belonged to the joint family or not. If the properties belong to the joint family, then it would be amenable for partition. If the plaintiffs were able to establish that the properties had been independently purchased out of their own funds and they are not joint family properties, then they would not be amenable for partition,” he said.
Woman can be karta of HUF: HC
The Times of India Feb 01 2016
`Have The Same Rights As Men To Manage Property'
The eldest female member of a family can be its “karta“, the Delhi high court has ruled in a landmark verdict. A unique position carved out by Hindu customs and ancient texts, “karta“ denotes managership of a joint family and is traditionally inherited by men.
“If a male member of a Hindu Undivided Family (HUF), by virtue of his being the first born eldest, can be a karta, so can a female member. The court finds no rest riction in law preventing the eldest female co-parcenor of an HUF from being its karta,“ Justice Najmi Waziri said in a judgment made public earlier this week.
The karta occupies a position superior to that of other members and has full authority to manage property , rituals or other crucial affairs of the family . These include ta king decisions on sale and purchase of family assets, mutation of property etc.
The ruling came on a suit filed by the eldest daughter of a business family in north Delhi staking claim to be its karta on the passing of her father and three uncles. She was challenging her cousin brother. The family consisted of four broth ers, with the surviving eldest shouldering the responsibility of Karta. Trouble began when the brothers passed away . The eldest son of a younger brother declared himself to be the next Karta, but was challenged by the daughter of the eldest brother who is also the seniormost member of the family .
The term co-parcenor refers to rights derived in Hindu law to be the joint legal heir of assets in a family. Traditional Hindu view, based on treatises such as Dharmshastra and Mitakshara school of law, recognises only male inheritors to ancestral property . Amendments to the Hindu Succession Act in 2005 introduced section 6 that levelled the playing field for women.
The court termed it “rather odd“ that following the amendments, “while females would have equal rights of in heritance in an HUF property , this right could nonetheless be curtailed when it comes to the management of the same“.Section 6 of Hindu Succession Act, it pointed out, did not place any restriction on women becoming the Karta.
The HC ruling is important because it takes the 2005 reform in the Act to its logical conclusion. While the amendment restricted itself to providing women equal inheritance rights, the verdict now allows them to manage property and rituals of a joint family.
Justice Waziri underlined that the “impediment which prevented a female member of a HUF from becoming a Kar ta was that she didn't possess the necessary qualification of co-parcenership“, but section 6, “a socially beneficial legislation“, removed that bar.
Justice Waziri said Section 6 gave “equal rights of inheritance to Hindu males and females, its objective is to recognise the rights of female Hindus and to enhance their rights to equality apropos succession. Therefore, courts would be extremely vigilant in any endeavor to curtail or fetter statutory guarantee of enhancement of their rights. Now that this disqualification has been removed by the 2005 amendment, there is no reason why Hindu women should be denied the position of a Karta.“
The son maintained that Hindu law recognises the right of eldest male member to be the Karta. He claimed that even the 2005 amendment recognised the rights of a female to be equal to those of a male only with respect to succession to ancestral properties, not management of estate.
Property given in lieu of maintenance
Woman's right over property given for maintenance is absolute: SC
The Times of India, Nov 24 2015
SC fillip to women's property rights
`Retains her say even after death' '
In another prowomen ruling, the Supreme Court has said that a woman's right over property , given in ieu of maintenance to be en oyed during lifetime, cannot be taken away after death and she is entitled to bequeath the assets as per her will.
The SC ruling follows a recent order making it clear that a woman continues to have a right to her “streedhan“ even if separated from her hus band. The court had in a 2005 ruling granted women a coequal share in inherited property, though it had recently clarified that this comes into effect from that year onwards.
A bench of Justices M Y Eqbal and C Nagappan said a woman's right over the property given for maintenance is absolute and in-laws cannot claim it after her death. It said maintenance for wife or widow is not a mere formality to be exercised as a matter of concession but a valuable right for the woman which cannot be denied under Hindu law.
The court held that even in cases where only limited right is created in favour of a woman, this becomes absolute under the Hindu Succession Act.
“It is well settled that under the Hindu law, the husband has got a personal obligation to maintain his wife and if he is possessed of properties then his wife is entitled to a right to be maintained out of such properties.“
The court passed the order on a plea filed by a widow's inlaws challenging her decision to bequeath the properties, given for her maintenance, to athird party . The relatives had maintained that the properties were given to her to enjoy only during her lifetime and the ownership must be vested with them after her death, a plea rejected by the SC.
Holding that the widow was occupying the property in lieu of maintenance, the bench said, “whatever form a limited interest is created in her favour who was having a pre-existing right of maintenance, the same has become an absolute right by the operation of Section 14(1) of the Hindu Succession Act.“
“A Hindu woman's right to maintenance is a personal obligation so far as the husband is concerned, and it is his duty to maintain her even if he has no property . If the husband has property then the right of the widow to maintenance becomes an equitable charge on his property and any person who succeeds to the property carries with it the legal obligation to maintain the widow,“ the court said.