Supreme Court Summarizes Law On Mitakshara Joint Family Property, Prior To 2005 Amendment [Read Judgment]

Supreme Court Summarizes Law On Mitakshara Joint Family Property, Prior To 2005 Amendment [Read Judgment]

Supreme Court, in Uttam vs. Saubhag Singh, has summarized the law governing the Mitakshara joint family property, prior to the amendment of 2005.

Apex Court bench comprising of Justices Kurian Joseph and R.F. Nariman was hearing an appeal arising from a suit for partition, which was dismissed both by Trial Court and the High Court, holding that the date of the birth of the plaintiff in 1977 the said ancestral property, not being joint family property, the suit for partition of such property would not be maintainable.

The Apex Court summarized the law regarding the joint family property governed by Mitakshara School as follows.



  • When a male Hindu dies after the commencement of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, having at the time of his death an interest in Mitakshara coparcenary property, his interest in the property will devolve by survivorship upon the surviving members of the coparcenary (vide Section 6).

  • To proposition (i), an exception is contained in Section 30 Explanation of the Act, making it clear that notwithstanding anything contained in the Act, the interest of a male Hindu in Mitakshara coparcenary property is property that can be disposed of by him by will or other testamentary disposition.

  • A second exception engrafted on proposition (i) is contained in the proviso to Section 6, which states that if such a male Hindu had died leaving behind a female relative specified in Class I of the Schedule or a male relative specified in that Class who claims through such female relative surviving him, then the interest of the deceased in the coparcenary property would devolve by testamentary or intestate succession, and not by survivorship.

  • In order to determine the share of the Hindu male coparcener who is governed by Section 6 proviso, a partition is effected by operation of law immediately before his death. In this partition, all the coparceners and the male Hindu’s widow get a share in the joint family property.

  • On the application of Section 8 of the Act, either by reason of the death of a male Hindu leaving self-acquired property or by the application of Section 6 proviso, such property would devolve only by intestacy and not survivorship.

  • On a conjoint reading of Sections 4, 8 and 19 of the Act, after joint family property has been distributed in accordance with section 8 on principles of intestacy, the joint family property ceases to be joint family property in the hands of the various persons who have succeeded to it as they hold the property as tenants in common and not as joint tenants


The Court finally dismissed the appeal upholding the findings of High Court and the Trial Court.

Read the Judgment here.