Scheduled Tribe Women Not Entitled To Any 'Right Of Survivorship' Under Hindu Succession Act: Supreme Court Urges Centre To Bring Suitable Amendment

Ashok KM

9 Dec 2022 11:36 AM GMT

  • Scheduled Tribe Women Not Entitled To Any Right Of Survivorship Under Hindu Succession Act: Supreme Court Urges Centre To Bring Suitable Amendment

    The Supreme Court held that a female member of the scheduled tribe is not entitled to any right of survivorship under the provisions of Hindu Succession Act.The bench of Justices MR Shah and Krishna Murari urged the Central Government to consider whether it is necessary to bring a suitable amendment to Hindu Succession Act in this regard."To deny the equal right to the ...

    The Supreme Court held that a female member of the scheduled tribe is not entitled to any right of survivorship under the provisions of Hindu Succession Act.

    The bench of Justices MR Shah and Krishna Murari urged the Central Government to consider whether it is necessary to bring a suitable amendment to Hindu Succession Act in this regard.

    "To deny the equal right to the daughter belonging to the tribal even after a period of 70 years of the Constitution of India under which right to equality is guaranteed, it is high time for the Central Government to look into the matter and if required, to amend the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act by which the Hindu Succession Act is not made applicable to the members of the Scheduled Tribe." the bench said.

    Section 2(2) Hindu Succession Act

    The Section 2(2) reads thus : Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), nothing contained in this Act shall apply to the members of any Scheduled Tribe within the meaning of clause (25) of Article 366 of the Constitution unless the Central Government, by notification in the Official Gazette, otherwise directs.

    Background

    In this case, Land Acquisition Reference Court rejected the claim of the share of a woman in the compensation, mainly on the ground that as the parties belong to Scheduled Tribe Community, the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act shall not be applicable and therefore she being a daughter shall not be entitled to the share in the amount of compensation. This view was upheld by the Orissa High Court.

    On Madhu Kishwar judgment

    Before the Apex Court, the appellant relied on the case of Madhu Kishwar & Ors. Versus State of Bihar & Ors., (1996) 5 SCC 125 to contend that she being a daughter shall be entitled to the share in the amount of compensation even applying the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act.

    The court ntoed that in the case of Madhu Kishwar (supra), the Court had refused to strike down the provisions of Chota Nagpur Tenancy Act, 1908 which provided the succession to property in the male line of heirs and denying the right to Succession to the daughter, on the touchstone of Article 14.

    "Under the circumstances in view of Section 2(2) of Hindu Succession Act and the appellant being the member of the Scheduled Tribe and as the female member of the Scheduled Tribe is specifically excluded, the appellant is not entitled to any right of survivorship under the provisions of Hindu Succession Act. No error has been committed by the High Court. The appeal therefore deserves to be dismissed and is accordingly dismissed."

    Female tribal is entitled to parity with male tribal in intestate succession

    While parting with the judgment, the court added that there may not be any justification to deny the right of survivorship so far as the female member of the Tribal is concerned.

    When the daughter belonging to the nonĀ­tribal is entitled to the equal share in the property of the father, there is no reason to deny such right to the daughter of the Tribal community. Female tribal is entitled to parity with male tribal in intestate succession. To deny the equal right to the daughter belonging to the tribal even after a period of 70 years of the Constitution of India under which right to equality is guaranteed, it is high time for the Central Government to look into the matter and if required, to amend the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act by which the Hindu Succession Act is not made applicable to the members of the Scheduled Tribe..Therefore, though we dismiss the present appeal, it is directed to examine the question by the Central Government to consider it just and necessary to withdraw the exemptions provided under the Hindu 12 Succession Act in so far as the applicability of the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act to the Scheduled Tribes and whether to bring a suitable amendment or not. We hope and trust that the Central Government will look into the matter and take an appropriate decision taking into consideration the right to equality guaranteed under Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.


    Case details

    Kamla Neti (D) vs Special Land Acquisition Officer | 2022 LiveLaw (SC) 1014 | CA 6901 OF 2022 | 9 December 2022 | Justices M R Shah and Krishna Murari

    For Appellant(s) Dr. Jarmejaya Roy, Adv. Mr. Aneesh Mittal, AOR Mr. SR Sunderam, Adv. Mr. Digant Kallol Deo, Adv.; For Respondent(s) Dr. Kedar Nath Tripathy, Adv. Mr. Ramendra Mohan Patnaik, AOR

    Headnotes

    Hindu Succession Act, 1955 ; Section 2(2), 6 - Female member of the Scheduled Tribe is not entitled to any right of survivorship under the provisions of Hindu Succession Act - It is high time for the Central Government to look into the matter and if required, to amend the provisions of the Hindu Succession Act by which it is not made applicable to the members of the Scheduled Tribe - Female tribal is entitled to parity with male tribal in intestate succession. (Para 7-7.2)

    Legislation - It is for the legislature to amend the law and not the Court (Para 6.1) 

    Click here to Read/Download Judgment 



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