Quashing an order passed by a joint civil judge junior division, Pune, the Bombay High Court has held that under Section 15 of the Hindu Succession Act, any property inherited by a female Hindu from her father or mother, will devolve upon the heirs of her father/mother, if she dies without any children of her own, and not upon her husband.
Justice Shalini Phansalkar Joshi was hearing a writ petition filed by relatives of one Sundarabai, who died issueless more than 45 years ago on June 18, 1962.
The petitioners challenged an order of the joint civil judge junior division, Pune, dated November 28, 2016, wherein a suit filed by the deceased’s husband was declared maintainable. The petitioners are original defendants in this suit.
The suit was filed for declaration, partition and injunction in respect of suit properties belonging to the deceased.
It was argued by the defendants before the trial court that the plaintiff husband and his children do not have claim over Sundarabai’s property because the children who are named as plaintiffs in the said suit are actually Sundarabai’s step-children born from her husband’s second wife.
The trial court accepted the argument that Sundarabai’s step-children had no right on the said property but partly allowed the application by Sundarabai’s husband and noted that his claim needs to be adjudicated.
The petitioners sought a review of the said order but that was also rejected.
Submissions and Judgment
Chaitanya Nikate appeared for the petitioners in the matter. He submitted that once it is held that plaintiff Nos. 2 to 5 are not the children of deceased Sundarabai, then it follows that respondent also cannot have any share in the suit property in view of provisions of section 15(2) (a) of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956.
The court examined Section 15 of the Hindu Succession Act and said:
Thus, as per sub section (2) of section 15, notwithstanding anything contained in sub section (1), any property inherited by a female Hindu from her father or mother, shall devolve, in the absence of any son or daughter of the deceased not upon the legal heirs referred in sub section (1) in the order specified therein, but upon the heirs of the father. This provision, thus, clearly excludes the husband from inheriting the property received by a female Hindu from her parents if she was not having any children or has died issueless.