Daughters-Like-Sons Have an Equal birthright to Property : SC
Three judge bench headed by Arun Mishra ruled that a Hindu women’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 Supreme Court held that daughters, like sons, have an equal birthright to inherit joint Hindu family property. The court decided that the amended Hindu Succession Act, which gives daughters equal rights to ancestral property, will have a retrospective effect.
The Hindu succession amendment act 2005 gave Hindu women the right to be coparceners or joint legal heirs in the same way male heir does.
The Mitakshara school of Hindi law codified as the Hindu succession act, 1956 government 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 of religion. Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains and followers of Arya samaj, Brahmo samaj are also considered Hindus for the purposes of this law.
Traditionally only male descendants of a common and sister along with their mothers, wives and unmarried daughters are considered a joint Hindu family. The legal heirs hold the family property jointly.
Women were recognised as coparceners or joint legal heirs for partition arising from 2005.
Section 6 of the article was amended that year to make a daughter of a coparcener also a coparcener by birth “in her own right in the same manner as the”. The law also gave the daughter the same rights and liabilities “In the coparcenary property as she would have had if she had been a son”.
In Prakash v/s Phulwari (2015), court said that benefit of the 2005 amendment could be granted only two “living daughters of living coparceners” as on September 9, 2005.
In February 2018, contrary to the 2015 ruling, court held that the share of a father who died in 2001 will also passed to his daughters as coparceners during the partition of the property as per the 2005 law.
The ruling now overrules the verdicts from 2015 and April 2018. It settles the law and expands on the intention of the 2005 legislation “to remove the discrimination as contained in section 6 of the Hindu succession act 1956 by giving equal rights to daughters In the Hindu Mitakshara coparcenary property as the sons have”.
It also clarified that an unregistered oral partition, without any contemporaneous public document, cannot be accepted as the statutory recognized mode of partition.
“However, in exceptional cases where plea of oral partition is supported by public documents and partition is finally evinced in the same manner as if it had been affected by a decree of a court, it may be accepted,” the Bench held.
The court said disputes pending on this question in various courts should be decided within the next six months.
“A daughter always remains a loving daughter. A son is a son until he gets a wife. A daughter is a daughter throughout her life” said by Judge Arun Mishra.