SC on Hindu Succession Act: “Once a Daughter, Always a Daughter”

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An appeal was filed before the Bench of Justices Arun Mishra, S Abdul Nazeer, and MR Shah, that enquired whether the amendment to the Act granting equal rights to daughters to claim coparcenary property would have retrospective effect. The Supreme Court passed the verdict in its favour.

Brief facts of the case

The case in hand is Vineeta Sharma vs. Rakesh Sharma. The issue came before the Supreme Court that whether a daughter could be denied her share in coparcenary property, on the fact that she was born before the enforcement of the Act and, thus cannot be treated as a coparcener. The Division Bench of Supreme Court in Prakash & Ors. v. Phulavati & Ors, and Danamma Suman Surpur & Anr. v. Amar & Ors gave conflicting judgments on the interpretation of section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. Then the matter referred to the larger bench of the Supreme Court.

Submissions of Appellants

The SG submitted that as per the amended Section 6, the daughter becomes coparcener by birth and that the exclusion of daughters from coparcenary was discriminatory and led to infringement of fundamental rights. Amended section 6 is arbitrary as it only applies in the case of living daughters of a living coparcener. It was also noted that partitions could be made orally or through a memorandum of partition. All other dispositions or alienations, including any partition or testamentary disposition of property made before 20.12.2004, are required to be saved as earlier the daughters were not coparceners. It was also submitted that a daughter is considered as a coparcener whether born before or after the amendment of 2005, so no question either prospectively or retrospectively will arise. 

Contrary View in Precedents

In Prakash v. Phulavati, the Supreme Court had held that if the father (coparcener) had died before the amendment act came into force i.e. 09.09.2005; the daughter of the coparcener would have no right in the ancestral property.

In Danamma v. Amar, the Supreme Court had held that the 2005 amendment gives an equal status of a coparcener to daughter as sons. Thus the daughters and sons would have equal rights and liabilities in the coparcenary properties.  

Observation of the Court

The Court observed that daughters cannot be denied to have a coparcenary right in the ancestral property on the ground that they are born before the enactment of the Act. Hence, a daughter can possess all rights as sons. 

The Ruling of the Court 

The Bench state that daughters cannot be deprived of their rights by the quality conferred by Section 6 of the act. It held that daughters will have the coparcenary right on the father’s property even if he died before the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act 2005.


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