The Karnataka High Court has observed that a widow cannot be deprived of the property vested in her merely for contracting a second marriage.
In this case, the Executing Court rejected an application for re-adjudication of rights of the parties under the decree on the ground that a decree holder (widow) had contracted the second marriage after the death of her first husband.
The High Court, in a petition challenging this order, observed that it was not shown any provision of law or a ruling of the Apex Court or of the other High Courts in support of the contention that the property vested in a widow goes out of her hands by divestation if and when she contracts a second marriage. In our civilized legal system no widow can be deprived of the property vested in her on account of her contracting a second marriage, subject to any just exceptions, Justice Krishna S. Dixit said.
The Court quoted following comment from Mulla's Hindu Law:
"Remarriage of a widow is not now under the Act a ground for divesting the estate inherited by her from her husband. The Hindu Widows' Remarriage Act, 1856 though it legalized the remarriage of a Hindu widow, had the effect of divesting the estate inherited by her as a widow. By her second marriage she forfeited the interest taken by her in her husband's estate, and it passed to the next heirs of her husband as if she were dead (S.2 of that Act). The rule laid down in that enactment cannot apply to a case covered by the present Act and a widow becomes full owner of the share or interest in her husband's property that may devolve on her by succession under the present section. Her remarriage, which would evidently be after the vesting in her of her share or interest on the death of the husband would not operate to divest such share or interest. The Hindu Widow's Remarriage Act, 1856, is not repealed but Section of the present Act in effect of a widow who succeeds to the property of her has the effect of vesting in her that interest or share in her husband's property as full owner of the same."
While dismissing the plea, the court further said:
"If unchastity or remarriage of a Hindu widower is not a ground to divest the property vested in him, it strikes at the root of law, at reason and justice to divest a Hindu widow of the property vested in her only because she has contracted a second marriage, especially when the Constitution of India mandates Gender Equality. "