The Supreme Court on Tuesday, in L. Gowramma (D) vs. Sunanda (D), has dismissed a Suit filed against a widow twenty years ago, by her daughter, by reversing concurrent judgments of the High Court and Trial court which had decreed the suit in favour of the daughter. Apex Court bench of Justices Kurian Joseph and R.F. Nariman held that succession to a Hindu male dying intestate (in this case) will be governed by Section 4(1)(ii) of the Hindu Law Women’s Rights Act, 1933, and not under Section 10(1)(g).
The Plaintiff had filed a suit against her mother, two sisters and a person who bought some property from her mother claiming her share in the property. (Originally the coparcenary property was partitioned between two brothers. The plaintiff in this suit is daughter of one of them) The Trial court, applying Section 10(2)(g) of the Hindu Law Women’s Right Act, decreed the suit after finding that she is entitled to 1/4th share. First appeal was also dismissed. But on review the suit was decreed by applying Section 8(1) (d) of the Act.
Allowing the appeal, the Court said that, in this case, succession to a Hindu male dying intestate will vest only in the widow under Section 4(1)(ii) to the exclusion of the daughters who are mentioned in a subsequent clause i.e. clause (iii) by virtue of the expression “in the following order”. The said Section reads as follows ‘(1) The succession to a Hindu male dying intestate shall, in the first place, vest in the members of the family of the propositus mentioned below, and in the following order:- i) the male issue to the third generation ; ii) the widow ; iii) daughters ; iv) daughter’s sons’
The Court also said that partition of joint family property among brothers is expressly mentioned in Section 8(1) (b) and hence upon partition of joint family property between brothers, it is only their mother, their unmarried sisters and widows and unmarried daughters of their pre-deceased undivided brothers who have left no male issue who get a share under the Section. Unlike sub-section (a), unmarried daughters of Thimmappa do not get any share at the partition between Thimmappa and his brother, the Bench said.
Read the Judgment here.