SUPREME COURT JUDGMENTS ON ANCESTRAL PROPERTY
Property

SUPREME COURT JUDGMENTS ON ANCESTRAL PROPERTY

The Supreme Court in recent years has always taken a gender-neutral stand when it came to division of property between daughters and sons. The judiciary continues to take progressive steps towards making succession law more women friendly. In its 11 August 2020 landmark judgment in Vineeta Sharma v Rakesh Sharma, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court held that daughters and sons have equal coparcenary rights in a Hindu undivided family (HUF). In its decision, the Supreme Court clarified two points:

  • coparcenary rights are acquired by daughters on their birth; and

  • fathers need not have been alive when the 2005 amendment to the Hindu Succession Act 1956 was passed.

Supreme Court Judgment on Parents’ Property

The 2005 amendment conferred equal status on both sons and daughters of coparceners. Prior to the 2005 amendment, coparcenary rights were granted only to male descendants (ie, sons) of coparceners. However, while the 2005 amendment sought to grant equal rights to sons and daughters, the wording gave rise to various lacunae, which led the Supreme Court to issue contradictory rulings on this issue.

Until the Vineeta Sharma judgment, equal status was granted only to daughters whose fathers  were alive when the amendment came into force on 9 September 2005. The Supreme Court upheld this view in 2015. However, in 2018 the Supreme Court issued a contradictory ruling in Danamma v Amar, granting two daughters of a coparcener rights in their father's property even though he had passed away in 2001.

According to the decision in Vineeta Sharma, equal rights conferred on daughters of coparceners by the 2005 amendment apply from birth, irrespective of when their father dies. The Supreme Court has clarified that the 2005 amendment applies retrospectively and not only in cases where the father was alive on the date on which the 2005 amendment took effect.

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Supreme Court Judgments On Ancestral Property

The decision of Vineeta Sharma has important implications for division of ancestral property. This ruling applies subject to the condition that the ancestral property should not have been partitioned by the father before 20 December 2004. As long as the property remained ancestral property and was not partitioned as of this date, a daughter can now claim an interest therein.

As per Hindu Law, a person automatically acquires the right to his or her share in the ancestral property at the time of their birth. An ancestral property is the one which is inherited up to four generations of male lineage. A property is regarded ancestral under two conditions - if it is inherited by the father from his father, that is the grandfather after his death; or inherited from the grandfather who partitioned the property during his lifetime. In case, the father acquired the property from grandfather as a gift, it will not be regarded as an ancestral property.

A son can claim his share in an ancestral property even during the lifetime of his father. In any case, the applicant seeking his share in the property must prove his succession. However, the act does not count a stepson (the son of the other parent with another partner, deceased or otherwise) among the Class I heirs.

The court, in some cases, allows a stepson to inherit the father’s property. For instance, in a case addressed by the Bombay High Court, the applicant was the son of a deceased Hindu woman’s issue with her first husband. The woman acquired the property from her second husband who did not have any legal heir except his wife. The court upheld the stepson’s claim and declared that after the woman’s death, her son - the stepson of the second husband - could claim his succession over the property. This decision was made when the nephews and grand-nephews of the deceased second husband claimed title to the property.

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Supreme Court Judgments On Father's Property

According to the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, a son or a daughter has the first right as the Class I heirs over the self-acquired property of his or her father if he dies intestate (without leaving a will). As a coparcener, an individual also has the legal right to acquire his or her share in an ancestral property. But in certain situations, a son may not receive his share in his father’s property. These situations include a father bequeathing his property to someone else by way of will. 

The Supreme Court has time and again given progressive decisions and has made devolution of property a more equitable arrangement.

People Also Consulted a Lawyer about Ancestral Property Rights. 

DAUGHTER IN-LAW’S RIGHTS IN ANCESTRAL PROPERTY
Property

DAUGHTER IN-LAW’S RIGHTS IN ANCESTRAL PROPERTY

The life of a girl is governed by the numerous roles she plays during her lifetime. Her rights and responsibilities vary according to the position she acquires in the family. Be it the daughter, daughter-in-law, mother or a wife, the uniqueness attached to each of the positions, demands a separate set of rules which govern her obligations and what all she is entitled to. Unlike sons, who have been bestowed with the inherited authority to claim the self-acquired property of their parents; the rights of their wives do not fall in the same bracket. To add to it, the rights of the daughter and daughter-in-law are also not the same when it comes to the self-acquired property of the in-laws.

Rights of Daughter-in-Law in Ancestral Property

A daughter-in-law has very few rights in her husband’s ancestral property. Personal laws govern inheritance in India. The Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) grants a daughter-in-law the status of a member of the family from the date of her marriage, but this does not make her a coparcener. The daughter-in-law acquires rights to the family's property through her husband’s share in the property (either willfully transferred by the husband or received after the demise of the husband). The daughter-in-law cannot claim any rights on the property which exclusively belongs to her in-laws, and such property shall not be treated as shared property. In the case of the deceased mother-in-law, her share will equally devolve amongst her children, and the daughter-in-law will acquire rights on her husband’s share only. The daughters-in-law do not have right over the self-acquired property of her in-laws. She acquires right over in-laws property only through the share of her husband in the property.

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Property Rights of Daughter-In-Law

The property passed on from one generation to the other comes under the category of ancestral property. But when the partition happens, the ancestral property gets converted into self-acquired property.

When there is a division of property in a Joint Hindu Family, the daughters enjoy equal right along with sons, the daughter in law has no right in the property of her in-laws. She acquires rights to the in-laws’ property only through her husband. The daughter of one family becomes the daughter-in-law of another family after her marriage. She has full rights in the property of her father even after marriage but limited rights in the property of her in-laws.

People who read this Article also Consulted a Lawyer about inheritance law for daughter in law. 

A married woman is a member of the Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) but is not a coparcener. The daughter-in-law has a right on the share of the property, which her husband has acquired in the HUF property. But she cannot claim anything over and above this. In case the mother-in-law dies, her share shall get divided amongst her children, and the daughter-in-law will be entitled to the part which has fallen in her husband’s share. 

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Property Rights of Daughter-In-Law in India

After the death of her husband, i.e., as a widow, a daughter-in-law has the right to her husband’s property left behind by him. This property can be either ancestral or self-acquired. The right acquired by her is as a widow of the deceased husband.

The daughter-in-law has a right to residence only till the time matrimonial relationship exists with her husband. The right of residence is there even if the house is a rented accommodation. If the property is a self-acquired property of, her father-in-law, daughter in law has no right of residence as the said house is not a shared house because the husband has no share in it.

A widowed daughter-in-law has right of maintenance from her father-in-law under certain conditions only, as prescribed in Hindus Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956.

Several court orders say that a daughter-in-law has a right of residence in a shared household under the Domestic Violence Act. Even if the house is not owned by her in-laws, and the husband has no ownership rights in the said house, a daughter-in-law has the right to reside. From time to time, courts have ruled that a woman has a right to residence in such a property as long as the matrimonial relationship between her and her husband remains intact. However, the Supreme Court has ruled that a married woman has no right on the self-acquired property of her in-laws, as this property cannot be treated as a shared property.

If the property happens to be a self-acquired property, the widowed daughter-in-law does not have any right on it. The court further says that she cannot even live in the house against the wishes of her in-laws.

Know About Daughter's Rights in Mother's Property
Property

Know About Daughter's Rights in Mother's Property

Under Hindu law, a mother turns into the property owner regardless of whether she gets it through a will or by any other method. It becomes self-acquired property for her. In case the mother has inherited ancestral property from her father, i.e., even though the property is ancestral; it turns into the mother's self-acquired property. There are no criteria or qualifications in the Hindu Succession Act for married or unmarried daughters. In this way, whether the daughter is married or unmarried, she gets equivalent rights in the mother's self-acquired property alongside her sibling and husband of the deceased mother. In law, married daughters can uphold their right by filing a suit in the court for devolution of property as per the Hindu succession act.

The property of a mother devolves as per Hindu Succession Act, 1956, and the act applies to intestate succession. According to Section 15 of the Act, the following persons inherit a woman's property after her death.

  • Her children

  • Children of pre-deceased children

  • Husband

  • Mother and Father of the deceased mother

  • Heirs of husband

  • Heirs of father and mother

Though, during the mother's lifetime, only the mother has a right to claim her share in her father's property. As the daughter or son of such a mother, the individual can file a suit for partition through a power of attorney, which the mother will execute in her children's name.

On 11th August 2020, in the case of Vineeta Sharma vs. Rakesh Sharma, the Supreme Court of India passed a milestone judgment expressing that the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 will have a retrospective effect. The Amendment made in 2005 corrected Section 6 of the act to be in consonance with the constitutional belief of gender equality. The Amendment has now given a daughter equal rights as the son. The case settled the matter in inquiry; regardless of the Amendment made in 2005, it considered the daughter to have the similar right as of a son in the coparcenary property irrespective of the father being alive or dead before 2005. Father's death will not obstruct a daughter's right from claiming her share in coparcenary property. 

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DAUGHTER'S RIGHT IN PROPERTY

Until the Amendment in 2005, daughters had no right to property. They were merely members of the family and did not have a share in the property. After marriage, a daughter was viewed as a part of her husband's family. But now, a daughter has certain rights that can be exercised.

As per the Hindu Succession Act, 1956:

  • Both married and unmarried daughters now have a legal right to their father and mother's property.

  • Daughters can now also become the manager or Karta in ancestral property.

  • Daughters have the same rights and obligations as their sons.

  • Daughters have an equal right to be coparceners. 

 

MARRIED DAUGHTER'S RIGHT IN MOTHER'S PROPERTY

A married daughter has equivalent rights in her mother's property as the son, in the event where the mother dies intestate; the married daughter inherits the share equally with the son according to the Act of 1956. The married daughter is the legal heir of her deceased mother, and subsequently, she has the right to claim her share in her mother's property. Her mother's share in the ancestral property shall become her mother's self-acquired property if she had died intestate; her legal heirs are entitled to a share as a right.

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DAUGHTER IN LAW'S SHARE IN MOTHER IN LAW'S PROPERTY

Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) awards a daughter-in-law the status of a HUF member; however, it doesn't make her a coparcener. The daughter-in-law acquires HUF property rights through her husband's share in the HUF property (either given by the husband or received after the death of the husband). The daughter-in-law cannot claim any right on the property exclusively to her in-laws. On account of her mother-in-law's demise, her children will get the share in her property, and the daughter-in-law will acquire the rights only of her husband's share. And thus, the daughters-in-law do not have the right to self-acquired property of her in-laws. In Jitendra Kumar v Varinder Kumar the Punjab and Haryana High court held in 2016, the daughter in law cannot claim the self-acquired property of her in-laws. Similarly, in the case of SR Batra v Taruna Batra, the Supreme Court held that a mother-in-law-owned house could not be claimed as a shared household. The daughter-in-law cannot claim her right over such property.

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Know about Daughter's Right in Parental Property
Property

Know about Daughter's Right in Parental Property

Before independence, it was uncommon for a daughter to get a share in the paternal property. In 1956, the Hindu Succession Law came about. It made the succession laws uniform. However, this law too favored the male heirs. People thought that a daughter would get married and become part of someone else's family, and hence, giving her share in the property would alienate the property. 

Women had absolute ownership over their property but had no coparcenary rights over the ancestral property. This Act discriminated against women solely based on their gender and violated their fundamental right to equality under Article 14 of the Indian Constitution. 

To do away with the Act's discrimination against women and enact a gender-neutral law, an amendment was done to the Hindu Succession Act, 1956. The Hindu Succession Act, 2005 (the 'Amendment Act') was enacted, which gave daughters a right to their parent's property. 

Section 6 of the 1956 Act was also amended and was made to include under its ambit that the liabilities and rights in the parental property shall be the same as the rights and liabilities of a son.

After the 2005 amendment to the Hindu Succession Act, a daughter's share in her parental property became the same as that of the son. The Act gives an 'unobstructed heritage' or a birthright to both daughters and a son in the parental property.

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Daughter's Right in Father's Property

The Mitakshara School of Hindu Law covers the concept of coparcenary, i.e., parental property succession to the coparceners. Initially, the daughters were not given any rights in the family's parental property, but after the 2005 amendment to the Hindu Succession Act, the daughter's right over her father's property was put on the same pedestal as the son's right over the property. 

 A daughter's right over her father's property was only available if the property was ancestral. In this case, if the property was worth Rs. 10 crores, both the son and the daughter will receive equal parts of the property, i.e., Rs. 5 crores each. 

If the father's property was self-acquired, he could decide not to give any share to his daughter or create a Will as he thinks fit. The Amendment Act of 2005 gave daughters a right over their father's property only if it was an ancestral property owned by the father and did not consider any self-acquired property owned by the father. If the father dies without a Will, then the self-acquired property is also divided equally amongst the sons and daughters.

The marital status of a daughter doesn't affect a daughter's rights and liabilities. The recent supreme court judgment clarified that even married daughters are considered coparceners. 

 

Daughter's Right in Mother's Property

The aspect of a daughter's right in her mother's property is generally not given attention, but it is also an important part of the Hindu Succession Act. 

A woman having any property is the absolute owner of that property. The fact that the woman has inherited the property received it as a gift or through a Will doesn't matter since it eventually converts into a self-acquired property. 

The devolution of the property is according to the Hindu Succession Act, and there is no difference since the daughters have the same rights as the sons in their mother's property. Also, there is no distinction in the Act for married or unmarried daughters, but an important thing to keep in mind is that a married daughter has no right over her mother's property during the lifetime of the mother.

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Recent Supreme Court Judgments on Daughter's Right on Property

The rights of daughters in the parental property have gone through development over a span of many years in India. Supreme Court, through these years, gave some very important judgments in this regard and has molded the law into the way it is today. 

One of the earliest cases relating to daughters' rights in her parent's property was  Prakash & Ors. vs. Phulavati & Ors. In this case, the Supreme Court held that "the rights of coparceners under the Amendment Act, 2005 apply to the living daughters of living coparceners as on 9th September 2005, irrespective of the birth date of daughters." 

Hence, if a father who is a coparcener dies before 9th September 2005, then the living daughter of the coparcener would have no right to the parental property and cannot inherit it. The Amendment Act of 2005 will not be applicable in such situations where the coparcener had died before the Act's commencement. 

Further, in the case of Danamma vs. Amar Singh, the Supreme Court held that if the father who passed away before 9th September 2005 is a coparcener and there is a prior suit pending regarding partition by a male-coparcener, then the daughter is also entitled to a share in the parent's property.

The Court reasoned that Section 6 of the Act is applicable in a retrospective manner and confer an absolute right to daughters in the parental property. 

The contradicting decisions of both the cases created confusion among people regarding a daughter's share in the parental property, but this was solved in Vineeta Sharma vs. Rakesh Sharma & Ors.

People who read this Article also Consulted a Lawyer about Daughter's Property Right

 

The Supreme Court, in this case, held that Section 6 (1) (a) of the Amendment Act, 2005 gives an "unobstructed heritage" to the coparcener. A coparcener has a birthright over the ancestral property and the fact that whether the father was alive or dead on the date of the amendment is irrelevant. The Court also held that Section 6 of the Amendment Act should be applied retroactively, which would help daughters benefit from succession based on their birth. 

This judgment cleared the air and gave daughters an equal right in the parental property as the son. The amendment will also apply to living daughter of living coparceners irrespective of her date of birth.

Property Rights of a Child after their parent's divorce
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Property Rights of a Child after their parent's divorce

When a couple gets divorced, the biggest casualty of this divorce is the children. They suffer from emotional and mental trauma. Future insecurity and doubts over the inheritance of property should not be added to this already stressful time. Hence, it is important to know how a child would get a share in their parents' property after their divorce. 

 

Right of a daughter in her father's property

The daughter's rights in the share of her father's property have always been one of the most talked-about aspects dealing with equality and justice. After 2005, daughters became coparceners in ancestral property. In 2020, the Supreme Court held that daughters would have an equal right to their father's property, even if they passed away before 2005. This further strengthened their inheritance rights.

The coparceners' daughters will benefit from the judgment and will be given equal rights as sons in their father's property. They would now have a right to inherit their father's property by birth. The daughter can also request a share in the property and bequeath her share in a will. But this case is only limited to HUF property.

A daughter has the right to both her father's ancestral property, which has been passed from her grandfather and in the self-acquired property of her father. A father, however by will, may exclude a daughter or a son from his property. 

A daughter will continue to be a coparcener in the ancestral property, even after her parents' divorce. She will have a claim on her parents' property even after divorce. However, if the property is self-acquired, then she will have a right over the property if she has not been specifically excluded from the will of her parent's intestate. 

 

Child's rights on father's property after divorce in India

Children's rights in their father's ancestral property are not affected upon divorce. Unless there is a will excluding them from inheriting the ancestral property. 

A father's self-acquired property is his own. He can choose to dispose of or transfer it in any manner he pleases to choose. A child cannot claim as a birthright, share in his father's self-acquired property. Typically, parents bequeath their self-acquired property to their children. If a father dies without a will, a child has a share in his self-acquired property as well, in the absence of a will to the contrary. The rights of children in the property of their father remain unaffected after divorce but depend on the father making a will; else, if he dies intestate, the rights to inherit the property is with the surviving legal heirs, and a child irrespective of divorce is a legal heir of his/her father.

Those who read this Article also Consulted a Lawyer about Child's property rights. 

Legal rights of a son on father's property in India

The son is treated as a Class I heir of his father's property. He has a legal right over his father's ancestral property. He also has an equal share in his father's self-acquired property if the father dies intestate.  

According to the Mitakshara School under Hindu Law, the son has a right by birth in his father's and grandfather's property. If it is a self-acquired property of the parents/father, the son cannot claim it. But there can be a consideration regarding the same if he can prove his contribution to the property.  The self-acquired property is unlike ancestral property. It is created and contains his earnings and property, which he has acquired independently. 

While a son has a right by birth in his father's ancestral property, he does not have such rights in his father's self-acquired property. If the father chooses to exclude his son from his will, a son will not get any share of his father's self-acquired property. 

A son is his father's legal heir and coparcener in ancestral property. If the parents get divorced, a son gets his share of inheritance in the ancestral property, as it is his birthright. A son may also get a share of his father's self-acquired property after divorce if his father does not exclude him from the same or dies without creating a will.

What rights does a Women have in her Husband's Property?
Property

What rights does a Women have in her Husband's Property?

A woman, apart from being a daughter and a daughter-in-law, is also a wife. In the capacity of being a wife, she has rights to her husband’s property. Indian law provides for certain rights of a wife over her husband's property. These rights are available not only to the first wife but also to the second wife. If a wife gets divorced from her husband, whether the divorce was mutual or not, decides whether the wife will get a share in the property of her ex-husband. The wife also has a right to the husband’s ancestral property through marriage. Let us see what are the various rights a wife has over her husband’s property. 

 

Property Rights of Wife After Divorce in India

A divorce is a highly stressful time for the couple. However, property matters further complicate things. What if the husband and wife were living together in the same house? Who gets the house after the divorce? What if they had jointly owned properties or bank accounts? Maintenance is a separate issue. Hence, it is important to know the property rights of a wife after divorce in India. 

If the property is in the name of the husband

If the divorce is mutual and the property is in the husband's name, the wife may not have any right over the said property. For instance, if the husband and wife live in a flat that was purchased in the husband's name, after divorce, the wife cannot claim her right over the same. Indian law recognizes those as the owner in whose name the property is registered. 

In such cases, the wife can demand maintenance from the husband, under the law, but cannot stake a claim to the husband’s property. 

If the property is jointly owned

Modern-day couples often buy property, which is registered in the names of both the husband and wife together. Such property is jointly-owned property. What happens to such property after divorce? Can a wife claim her share over a jointly-owned property? Yes, a wife has a share in a property that she jointly owns and her husband, even after divorce. However, for her claim to be successful, she would need to show that she also contributed to the property's purchase. If the wife has not contributed to the purchase of the property, but her name is just mentioned in the registration document, she may not get the share in the property. Furthermore, the wife’s share in the joint property is equal to the share she contributed. Hence, if contributing to joint property and their husbands, women should keep a document trail proving their contribution to the said property. 

Couples can also resort to a peaceful settlement of the joint property. Whoever wants to retain the joint property can buy the other’s share, and an out-of-court settlement can also be reached on the same. 

If the couple is separated and the divorce proceedings are ongoing? 

Please note that a wife is her husband's legal spouse till the time the court legally pronounces them as `divorced.’ Till such time, the wife has right over her husband’s property. 

Situations may arise where a husband leaves his wife and starts living with someone else or separately. In such situations, the wife and the children born out of their marriage have the right to stake a claim to the property.

If the husband marries a second time then the wife and children from the first marriage would have a claim over the property. without getting divorced from his first wife

Those who read this Article also Consulted a Lawyer about property related rights. 

 

Wife’s Rights on Husband’s Property in India

A wife is entitled to inherit an equal share of her husband’s property. However, if the husband has excluded her from his property through a will, she does not have a right to her husband’s property. Moreover, a wife has a right to her husband’s ancestral property. She has a right to reside in her marital home and a right to be maintained by her husband. 

 

Rights of Second Wife in Husband’s Property in India

If a man marries, without formally and legally divorcing his first wife, the second wife and her children's rights become limited. The law views the first wife as the legal wife till the time the court finalizes the divorce. 

Polygamy or having more than one wife is prohibited under Hindu law. Hence, if the first wife is living and is not legally divorced, then the second marriage assumes no legal significance. This means that the second wife will have no claim over her husband’s property. However, her children would stand to inherit their genetic father’s property. 

If the second marriage is legally valid and occurs after the first wife’s death or after the man is legally divorced from his first wife, then the second wife would get all the rights a wife would have over the husband’s property. These rights would be over the husband’s ancestral as well as self-acquired property. 

Hence, the second wife's right over her husband’s property depends upon the legal status of the marriage. It is important to check if the man you are marrying already has a living spouse or not. 

Thus, the property rights of a wife in India over her husband’s property depend on a variety of factors. It is important to know how a wife can lay claim over her husband’s property and what is her share in the same.