By Accommodation Times News Services
The Hindu Succession Act 1956, is the most important enactment to regulate the property rights in Hindu religion. The Act came into force on 17th June, 1956. We will discuss the salient features of the said Act in this article.
As per the schedule appended o the said Act and section 8 there are four classes of heirs viz: (a) son, daughter, widow, mother son of a pre-deceased son, daughter of a pre-deceased daughter, daughter of a pre-deceased daughter, widow of a pre-deceased son, son of a predeceased son of a pre-deceased son, daughter of a pre-deceased son, pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased son, widow of pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased son, (b) Father, son’s daughter’s sons, daughter’s son’s daughter, daughter’s daughters son, daughter’s daughter’s daughter, brother’s daughter, father’s widow, brother’s widow, brother, mother’s sister, (c) The agnates of deceased, that is the persons related by blood or adoption wholly through males; (d) The agnated of the deceased i.e. The persons related by blood or adoption but not wholly through males.
A brother or a sister in class (b) does not include a brother or sister having the same mother but different fathers. If a Hindu male dies intestate the heirship specified in (a) above, secondly, if here is no heir of class (a) then upon the heirs specified in class (b) above, thirdly, if there is no heir of any of the two classes (a) and (b), then upon the heirs specified in (c) above; and lastly, if there is no heir or the three classes viz; (a), (b) and (c), then upon the heirs specified in (d) above.
According to section 9 of the said Act the heirship of those specified in class (a) shall be effective simultaneously and to the exclusion of all other heirs mentioned in classes (a), (c) and (d) above. Thus, where there are such heirs, those heirs other than (a) need not be taken into account. It the Hindu male has class (a) heirs, his share of property will be divided amongst them in accordance with the following rules : –
Rule 1. The deceased Hindu males widow or if there are more widows than one, all the widows together, shall take one share.
Rule 2. The surviving sons, daughters and the mother of the deceased male shall each take one share.
Rule 3. The heirs in the branch of each pre-deceased daughter of the deceased male shall take between them one share.
Rule 4. The distribution of the share referred to in Rule 3, (1) Amongst the heirs in the branch of the pre-deceased son shall be so made that his widow or widow together and the surviving sons and daughters get equal portions, and the branch of pre-deceased sons get the same portion; (2) Amongst the heirs in the branch of the pre-deceased daughter shall be so made that the surviving sons and daughters get equal portions, (3) If there is no heir or class (a), heir in class (b) shall be considered.
Any property possessed by a female Hindu shall be held by her as full owner thereof and not as a limited owner. However, the provision of this Act shall not apply to any property acquired by way of gift or under a will or any other instrument or order of a civil court under an award where the term of the gift will or other instruments or the decree order or award prescribe a restricted estate in such a property.
Further on the death of Hindu female her property shall devolve according to the following rules : (a) upon the sons and daughters, including the children of any predeceased son or daughter, and the husband (b) upon the heirs of the husband (c) upon the mother and father (d) upon the heirs of father and (e) upon the heirs of the mother.
However any property inherited by a female Hindu from her father or mother shall devolve, in the absence of any son or daughter of the deceased (including children of any predeceased son or daughter) upon the heirs of her father. Any property inherited by a female Hindu from her husband or from her father-in-law, shall devolved. In the absence of any son or daughter upon the heirs of her husband.
The Act disqualified certain persons from inheriting the property, as follows : (a) any heir who is related to an intestate as the widow of a pre-deceased son, the widow of pre-deceased son or a widow of a brother shall not be entitled to succeed to the property of the intestate as such widow, if on the ate the succession opens, she has remarried (b) A person who commits murder or abets the commission of murder of a successor shall be disqualified from inheriting the property of the person murdered (c) if on the date, the succession opens a person has ceased or ceases to be a Hindu (by commission to another religion) then he shall be disqualified from inheriting the property (of any of his Hindu relative) (d) No person shall be dequalified from succeeding to any property on the ground of deceased, defect or deformity.
Many a times question arises as to when property shall devolve on the Govt. ? For that matter if an intestate has left no heir qualified to succeed to his or her property in accordance with the provisions of the Act, such property shall devolved on the Govt.
Last but not least any Hindu may dispose of by will other testamentary disposition his property in accordance with the provisions of the Indian succession Act, 1925 or any other law for the tie being in force and applicable to Hindus.