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Inherited Property Of A Female Hindu Dying Issueless And Intestate Goes Back To The Source: Supreme Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
20 Jan 2022 9:29 AM GMT
Inherited Property Of A Female Hindu Dying Issueless And Intestate Goes Back To The Source: Supreme Court
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The Supreme Court observed that inherited property of a female Hindu dying issueless and intestate, goes back to the source."If a female Hindu dies intestate without leaving any issue, then the property inherited by her from her father or mother would go to the heirs of her father whereas the property inherited from her husband or father-in-law would go to the heirs of the husband", the...

The Supreme Court observed that inherited property of a female Hindu dying issueless and intestate, goes back to the source.

"If a female Hindu dies intestate without leaving any issue, then the property inherited by her from her father or mother would go to the heirs of her father whereas the property inherited from her husband or father-in-law would go to the heirs of the husband", the bench comprising Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari observed in a judgment arising out of a partition suit.

In this case, the property in question was admittedly the self-acquired property of Marappa Gounder. The question raised by the appellant was whether Late Gounder's sole surviving daughter Kupayee Ammal, will inherit the same by inheritance and the property shall not devolve by survivorship to father's brother's son.

Thus, the Court was considering the question whether a sole daughter could inherit her father's separate property dying intestate (prior to enactment of Hindu Succession Act, 1956). Another question was regarding the order of succession after the death of such daughter (which was after enactment of the 1956 Act)

Regarding the first question, the court, after referring to customary Hindu Law and also judicial pronouncements, observed that the right of a widow or daughter to inherit the self-acquired property or share received in the partition of a coparcenary property of a Hindu male dying intestate is well recognized not only under the old customary Hindu Law but also various judicial pronouncements.  [The judgment (Para 21-65) discusses concepts of old Hindu Law and its application as well as its origin, sources and judicial pronouncements ]

"Right of a widow or daughter to inherit the self-acquired property or share received in partition of a coparcenary property of a Hindu male dying intestate is well recognized not only under the old customary Hindu Law but also by various judicial pronouncements", the court held.

On the other issue, the bench referred to Section 14 and 15 of the Hindu Succession Act, and made the following observations:

71. The scheme of sub-Section (1) of Section 15 goes to show that property of Hindu females dying intestate is to devolve on her own heirs, the list whereof is enumerated in Clauses (a) to (e) of Section 15 (1). SubSection (2) of Section 15 carves out exceptions only with regard to property acquired through inheritance and further, the exception is confined to the property inherited by a Hindu female either from her father or mother, or from her husband, or from her father-in-law. The exceptions carved out by sub-Section (2) shall operate only in the event of the Hindu female dies without leaving any direct heirs, i.e., her son or daughter or children of the pre-deceased son or daughter.

72. Thus, if a female Hindu dies intestate without leaving any issue, then the property inherited by her from her father or mother would go to the heirs of her father whereas the property inherited from her husband or father-in-law would go to the heirs of the husband. In case, a female Hindu dies leaving behind her husband or any issue, then Section 15(1)(a) comes into operation and the properties left behind including the properties which she inherited from her parents would devolve simultaneously upon her husband and her issues as provided in Section 15(1)(a) of the Act.

73. The basic aim of the legislature in enacting Section 15(2) is to ensure that inherited property of a female Hindu dying issueless and intestate, goes back to the source.

74. Section 15(1)(d) provides that failing all heirs of the female specified in Entries (a)-(c), but not until then, all her property howsoever acquired will devolve upon the heirs of the father. The devolution upon the heirs of the father shall be in the same order and according to the same rules as would have applied if the property had belonged to the father and he had 47 died intestate in respect thereof immediately after her death.

The court also noted the following observations made in State of Punjab Vs. Balwant Singh 1992 Supp. (3) SCC 108 Bhagat Ram (dead) by LRs. Vs. Teja Singh (dead) by LRs) (2002) 1 SCC 210

"The source from which she inherits the property is always important and that would govern the situation. Otherwise persons who are not even remotely related to the person who originally held the property would acquire rights to inherit that property. That would defeat the intent and purpose of sub-Section 2 of Section 15, which gives a special pattern of succession. "

In the present case, the court noted that the succession of the suit properties opened in 1967 upon the death of Kupayee Ammal. Therefore the 1956 Act shall apply and thereby Ramasamy Gounder's daughters being Class-I heirs of their father too shall be heirs and entitled to 1/5th share each in the suit properties, the court held.

Case name

Arunachala Gounder (Dead) Vs Ponnusamy

Citation

2022 LiveLaw (SC) 71

Case no./Date

CA 6659 OF 2011 | 20 Jan 2022

Coram

Justices S. Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari

Counsel

Adv P.V. Yogeswaran for appellant, Adv K.K. Mani for respondents

CaseLaw

Inherited Property Of A Female Hindu Dying Issueless And Intestate, Goes Back To The Source

Click here to Read/Download Judgment



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