You are on page 1of 25

Section 8 of Hindu Succession Act

Class I Heirs

Subject- Family Law – II

Submitted to:- Prof. (Dr.) Vijender Kumar


Submitted by:- Manognya Cheeti

Roll no. 2010-39


II Year, I Semester

NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad


Table of contents
Table of contents............................................................................................................................ii

Table of Cases.................................................................................................................................iii

Table of Statutes...............................................................................................................................v

Table of Abbreviations....................................................................................................................vi

1.Introduction...................................................................................................................................1

1.1 Section 8 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956........................................................................1

1.2 Research Methodology..........................................................................................................2

1.3 Research Plan.........................................................................................................................2

2.Hindu Succession Act...................................................................................................................4

2.1Act of 1956.............................................................................................................................4

2.2 Amendment of 2005..............................................................................................................4

3.Succession to property of a Male dying intestate.........................................................................6

3.1 Property..................................................................................................................................6

3.2 The four categories of heirs...................................................................................................6

3.3 Prospective in operation........................................................................................................7

3.4 Relative by adoption..............................................................................................................8

4.Class I heirs...................................................................................................................................9

5.Order of succession and distribution of property among heirs in class I....................................13

6.Cases...........................................................................................................................................15

6.1 Cases before the amendment:..............................................................................................15

6.2 Cases after the amendment:.................................................................................................16

7.Conclusion..................................................................................................................................19

ii
Table of Cases

Additional Commissioner of Income Tax v. PL Karuppan 2

Anar Devi v. Parmeshwari Devi 22

Bay Bay Apartments Pvt. Ltd. V Shobha 18

Bhagyamma v Basavaraju (T.L.) 18

Commissioner of Income Tax v. Babubhai 2

Commissioner of Income Tax v. Ram Rakshpal, Ashok Kumar 2

Commissioner of Wealth Tax v. Chander Sen 2

Daddo v. Raghunath 14

Deveerawa v Gangawa 17

Gur Narain v. Gur Tahal Das 15

Gurupad v. Hirabai 5, 16, 24

Harishchandra Vithoba Narawade v Vatsalabai 17

Kamalammal v. Vishwanathaswami 15

Katma Nachiar v. Raja of shivganga 5

Keelu Madana Mohana v Gorakala Varahalu 17

Lakshmi N. Tudu v. Basi Majhian 17

Lalitaben v Shantaben 18

Municipal Board v Jagdish Prasad 18

Narayanan v. Meenakshi 20

Prem Bhatnagar v Ravi Mohan Bhatnagar 17

Puttamma v Ramegowda 17

Raj Rani v. The Chief Settlement Officer 16

Ram Lal v Mohinder Singh 18


iii
Rangubai Lalji v. Laxman Lalji 16

Ravikirthi Shetty v Jaathpala Shetty 17

Satya v. Urmila 15

Savitri v. Devaki 14

Shriramabai v. Kalgonda 16

Sheela Devi v Lal Chand 17

Shrivallabhdas Modani v. Commissioner of Income Tax 2

Shri Brij Narain Aggarwal v. Sh. Anup Kumar Goyal and Orsb 20

State of Maharashtra v. Narayan Rao 6

Subbayyajoga Naik v Narayanai 18

Vithal Bhai v. Bhana Bai 15

Yudhistir v. Ashok Kumar 14

Table of Statutes

iv
Hindu Law of Inheritance (Amendment) Act, 1929

The Hindu Women's Rights to Property Act, 1937

The Hindu Succession Act, 1956

The Hindu Succession (amendment) Act, 2005

The Kerala Joint Family System (abolition) Act, 1976

The Joint Hindu Family System (Abolition) Act, 1975, Kerala

The Hindu Succession (Andhra Pradesh Amendment) Act, 1986

The Hindu Succession (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 1989

The Hindu Succession (Karnataka Amendment) Act, 1994

The Hindu Succession (Maharashtra Amendment) Act, 1994

Table of Abbreviations

A.I.R - All India Reporter


v
Bom - Bombay

Ed. - Edition

H.C. - High Court

Ibid - Ibidem

Mad. - Madras

n. - Note

p. - Page

pp. - Pages

PC - Privy Council

P&H - Punjab and Haryana

Pat. - Patna

Raj - Rajasthan

SC - Supreme Court

v. - Versus

Vol. - Volume

vi
Chapter - I
INTRODUCTION

1.1 Section 8 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956


. This paper deals with a very important yet controversial section of the Hindu Succession Act,
1956 i.e. Section 8 and the amendment which took place in the year 2005., Section 8 deals with
the General Rules of Succession in case of a male Hindu. Understandably, in what many call as a
male dominated society and one where women are almost always overshadowed by men, this act
is a far sighted and far reaching act as it gives some measure of hope to women and puts them on
the same footing as the men.

Before the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, the property rights were completely based on
survivorship. The doctrine of survivorship would apply only to the coparceners, which included
the first three degrees from the common ancestor. The coparcenary consisted of only males.
Hence, at the time of the death of a coparcener, his interest in the coparcenary property would
devolve according to doctrine of survivorship. The self acquired property would devolve not
according to this doctrine but according to the inheritance to the Sapindas. These included son,
grandson and great-grandson, and after 1937, widow, predeceased son's widow, and predeceased
son's predeceased son's widow.

The main question in front of the judiciary was whether the property which the son inherits from
his father be it self-acquired or coparcenary, be regarded as his separate property or his own joint
family property. There have been various judicial opinions, but the decision in the case of
Commissioner of Wealth Tax v. Chander Sen1 gives an able answer to the question.

Before this decision came, various High Courts, had already given their judgement regarding this
question. In 1977, the Gujarat High Court held that such property would automatically become
the joint family property2. But in 1979, the Madras High Court, held the complete opposite that
the property would become one individually owned by the son3. The Allahabad High Court had
already passed judgement saying that such a property will not be joint family property.4 One of

1
AIR 1986 SC 1753.
2
Commissioner of Income Tax v. Babubhai, 1977 (108) ITR 417 (Guj).
3
Additional Commissioner of Income Tax v. PL Karuppan, AIR 1979 Mad. 1 (FB).
4
Commissioner of Income Tax v. Ram Rakshpal, Ashok Kumar (1968) 67 ITR 164 (All).
7
the latest High Court case in this regard is the one in Madhya Pradesh High Court, where the
court reiterated the decisions of the Madras and Allahabad High Courts.5

1.2 Research Methodology


The project is based on the question regarding the change in the character and nature of interest
of son and daughter as coparcener in respect of his father’s property inherited. Hence, this has
been a doctrinal study. Authorities like Mayne6 and Mulla7 have been used. In furtherance of the
completion of this project, the researcher has made extensive use of the facilities (inclusive of
books, bare acts and other relevant academic material) available on personal laws (more
specifically, Hindu law of succession) in the NALSAR Library, Hyderabad. For the matters
related to the judgements, internet facilities have been used, which include Manupatra.

1.3 Research Plan


This paper primarily deals with the current situation and then the cases filed under Section 8 of
the Act. Before the cases are dealt with however, an attempt has been made to define the section
and to interpret it.

It is divided into 8 chapters; the first chapter introduces the topic and describes the research
methodology and plan. The second chapter deals with the Hindu succession act of 1956 and the
subsequent amendment of 2005. The third chapter is regarding the section 8 of Hindu succession
Act and talks about property, four categories of heirs, operation of the act and relative by
adoption.

The fourth chapter describes each of the 12 class I heirs in the schedule, while the fifth gives the
order of succession and distribution of property among them. The sixth chapter talks of the
Hindu Succession law prior to and after the amendment an chapter seven enumerates some cases
on the same. The eighth and final chapter concluding the project gives some suggestions.

Chapter – II

5
Shrivallabhdas Modani v. Commissioner of Income Tax (1982) 138 ITR 673 (MP).
6
R Misra and V Kumar (eds.), Mayne, HINDU LAW AND USAGE, 16th ed. 2008.
7
S.A. Desai, (rev.), Mulla, PRINCIPLES OF HINDU LAW, Vol. I,20th ed. 2008
8
Hindu Succession Act

2.1Act of 1956
The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 is one in the series of the enactments purporting to codify and
amend the personal law of Hindus that had been originally promulgated by the seers more than
5000 years ago. The enactments as regards the Hindus are the culmination of a movement for
changing the ancient law of Hindus for a more equitable, consistent and coherent system of
jurisprudence. Numerous problems have risen in the interpretation and application of the rules
and prescriptions enacted and embodied in this act and there have often been times when
customs have come into conflict with the established law, and have more often not won.

2.2 Amendment of 2005

Hindu   succession   laws   have   long   been   viewed   as   a   set   of   gender   discriminatory   laws.

However, not much effort has been put in going into the genesis of such laws. These laws were

formed  at  a  earlier  time  and  according  to  the  prevailing  conditions   of the  society.   Thus, to

improve the conditions on the contemporary society the government introduced ­ The Hindu

Succession (Amendment) Act, on 9th September 2005. The Act today is viewed as a progressive

legislation in personal laws. The aim of the Act was to end the Gender discrimination in personal

laws and give equal rights to women in succession.

The prevalent Mitakashara law which governs the succession in Hindu joint family  has

undergone a substantial change now. The first change brought about is that sub­ section

(2) of Section 4 which deals with the non­applicability of the Act. The statute which was

responsible for the prevention of fragmentation of agricultural holdings or fixation of

ceilings   or   devolution   of   tenancy   rights   has   been   deleted.   Now   this   Act   has   more

applicability. 1

Another most important change is that Section 6 has been substituted by a new section.

Now a daughter would be a coparcener from her birth, and would have the same rights

and liabilities as a son. She will hold the property to which she is entitled as a coparcener.

And   she   is   capable   to   dispose   off   the   property   by   either   a   will   or   by   testamentary

1
Supra n.7, pp. 300-301.
9
disposition. In Anar Devi v. Parmeshwari Devi,2  the Supreme Court held that after the

death of the original owner, the ancestral property should be divided between the heirs of

the owners. The property was divided among two daughters and an adopted son.

The further change is that on the death of a Hindu having interest in coparcenary
property, such property would devolve by either testamentary or intestate succession as
the case may be, and not by survivorship.

The amendment removed the pious obligation of Mitakshara law. According to which
there is a pious obligation of a son, grandson or great grandson, to fulfill the debt
contracted by his father, grandfather or great grandfather.3

Section 23 of Hindu Succession Act has been omitted by the amendment. This section
dealt with special provisions such as dwelling houses and right of female heir to seek
partition of dwelling house. This section is omitted because daughters are now
coparceners and necessary changes have been made.

Section 24 of the Act has been deleted. This Act dealt with the disability of a widow of a
predeceased son, the widow of a predeceased son of a predeceased son or the widow of a
brother, to succeed to the property in case of widow’s remarriage. The deletion of this
Section has removed the disability and permitting succession to the property to which she
is entitled.

Section 30 has been amended by inclusion of a female Hindu, thus recognizing her right
over disposal of property that she is capable of disposing off.

The schedule in class heirs I has been amended by inclusion of son of a predeceased
daughter of a pre-deceased daughter; daughter of a pre-deceased daughter of a pre-
deceased daughter; daughter of a pre- deceased son of a pre-deceased daughter and
daughter of a pre-deceased daughter of a pre-deceased son. These all be considered as a
class I heirs.4

2
AIR 2006 SC 3332.
3
Supra n.6.
4
S.A. Desai, (rev), Mulla, PRINCIPLES OF HINDU LAW, Vol.I, 20th ed. 2008
10
Chapter III
Succession to property of a Male dying intestate
This section propounds a new and definite scheme of succession and lays down certain rules of
succession to the property of a male Hindu who dies intestate after the commencement of the act.
The rules are pivotal and have to be read along with schedule. Certain other sections particularly
9-13 contain supplementary provisions which are not merely explanatory but also lay down
substantive rules involving legal principles.

3.1 Property
The word property under this section means all the property of the intestate inheritable under this
act.1 it includes not only his separate self acquired property but also his interest in a Mitakshara
coparcenary property in case he is survived by any of the female heirs or a daughter’s son
mentioned in class I of the schedule. It also includes property which he might have inherited
from his father or grandfather after this act came into force. It also includes agricultural land 2
subject to this, that the legislation relating to fragmentation of agricultural holdings or fixation
ceilings or the devolution of tenancy rights in respect to such holdings is not affected by anything
contained in this act. However the rules of succession do not apply to the property expressly
excluded from the act by section 5.

3.2 The four categories of heirs


Section 8 groups the heirs of a male intestate in to four categories and lays down that heritable
property first upon the heirs specified in the class I of the schedule. Under the old law in force
before 1937, simultaneous heirs of a male intestate consisted only of son, son of a predeceased
son, and the son of predeceased son of predeceased son. Thos was enlarged by Hindu Women’s
right to property act 1937, by adding three more heirs namely the widows of each named earlier.
All six heirs succeeded simultaneously and the doctrine of representation applied to their case.

In class I of the schedule the act enumerated 12 heirs so as to include in the new scheme of heirs
the mother and the daughter of the intestate and some more descendents, latter by reference to
the principle of representation. All these heirs inherit simultaneously. On failure of any such heirs
specified in class I the property devolves upon the enumerated heirs specified in Class II, an heir

1
Harmans Singh v. Tekamani Devi AIR 1990 Pat 26
2
Lakshmi Devi v. Surendra kumar AIR 1957 Ori. 1
11
in the first entry of the class II being preferred to the second entry and so on in succession. If
there is no heir belonging to class I or even class II the property devolves upon the agnates (a
person related to another by a relation of blood or adoption wholly through males) of the
deceased. Lastly, if there is no agnate of the deceased in existence at the time of his death the
property devolves upon his co-agnates (related by blood or adoption but not wholly through
males).

3.3 Prospective in operation


The language of the section and particularly the words “shall devolve” plainly indicate that the
section is prospective in its operation. In Erramma’s 3 case the Supreme court held that this
section applies where on death of male intestate devolution of his property takes place after the
commencement of the act and does not apply to the property of a male Hindu whose death took
place before the commencement of the act. In the latter case all questions of inheritance would
be determined according to the previous law.

This does not however mean that the section does not have any relevance or any application in
the case where a male Hindu had died before the commencement of the act. For instance a Hindu
who died in 1933 and his widow who succeeded his estate died in 1963 after the coming into
force of the present act but was not in the possession of the estate, the estate would devolve not
upon her heirs, but the heirs of her husband. The succession would be decided upon the date of
death of the husband and not the widow (limited owner) and the heirs would be those who would
have succeeded had he died in 1963( the date of death of the widow. The heirs will have to be
ascertained by the present section 8 and not the old law. This does not mean retrospective
application.

It is well established that

(1) Succession opens on death of limited owner.

(2) The law in force governs the succession.

The words “dying intestate” would mean a male Hindu dying without making a will or making
an invalid will. When the status of coparcenary is abolished under the Kerala joint Hindu family

3
Erramma v. Veruappanna AIR 1966 SC 1879
12
system abolition act, the property of a male Hindu dying intestate would devolve on his class I
heirs in accordance with the provisions of the first schedule.4

3.4 Relative by adoption


The words “…upon heirs being relatives specified in class I …of the schedule” which appear in
clauses (a) and (b) of the section 8 and class I of the schedule mentioned in those clauses do not
expressly refer to relationship by adoption nor does any relevant definition expressly refer to
such relationship.

The question whether the person who is related by adoption is or is not a heir, under class I of the
schedule must be determined by the reference to the rules if Hindu law relating to adoption, and
where the Hindu adoptions and maintenance act 1956 applies. Adoption has the effect of
transferring the adopted boy from his natural family into the adopted family. It also had the effect
of conferring upon the adoptee the same rights and privileges in the family of the adopter as the
legitimate son except in a few cases which related to the share on a partition between an adopted
and after born son.

Example: The father was taken into adoption subsequent to a daughter begotten from a subsisting
marriage. The wife died and the father remained. On the death of the adoptee (father) a question
arose as to whether the daughter was entitled to lay a claim on the property of the father which
vested in the father as a result of the adoption. It was held that the adoption of the father the birth
of the child was no bar to the child’s claim over the property. This was because the blood ties
between the father and the daughter were not severed on his adoption, and the daughter was
entitled to succeed to the property of the father owned by virtue of such adoption, she being the
class I heir of the father. The daughter and the second wife were thus entitled to succeed equally
to the estate of the adoptee.5

4
Putiyadath v. Naga kumara AIR 2001 Ker 38
5
Neelavva v. Shivavva AIR 1989 Kant 45
13
Chapter IV

CLASS I HEIRS
Clause (A) : Class I of the schedule

(1) Son

(i) Adopted son

The expression son has not been defined in the act. It includes natural son and adopted
son in accordance with the Hindu law of adoption in force at that time. The adopted son loses all
rights of a son in his natural family.

Where a son is born after he adoption to the adoptive father the adopted son is entitled to inherit
just as if he were a natural born son and now is entitled to the share as a natural born son.

(ii) Posthumous son

A son of the intestate, who was in the womb at the time of the death of the intestate
though subsequently born, is to be deemed for the purpose of succession as if born before the
death of the intestate.1

(iii) Son born after partition

When there has been a partition of the joint family property between a father and his sons
and thereafter a son is born to the father, the son will take an interest by birth in the property
obtained on partition by the father and the property will be their coparcenary property. In case of
death of the father after the commencement of the act, devolution of the father’s interest in such
coparcenary property will be governed by section 6 of the act and the succession to the fathers
separate and self acquired property will be in accoedance with rules layed down in section 8.

(iv) Divided son

In matters of succession the act does not differentiate between a divided son and as on
who had remained joint with the father or his father and other coparceners, except in cases
falling under section 6 which relates to the undivided interest of a father in a MITAKSHARA
coparcenary.

The separate or self acquired of the property will therefore devolve by secession upon his heirs
specified in class I of the schedule including a son who had separated from the father as well as
one who had continued to remain joint with the father. Under the old law the divided son was no
entitled to claim any share in separate or self acquired property of the father whether father after
partition had continued to remain joint with his sons or where he had a son born to him after
partition and who was joint with him

1
Sec. 20 of Hindu succession act
v
(v)Illegitimate son

The illegitimate son of male Hindu who died intestate is not entitled to any share of the
inheritance not even in case of “Shudra” dying intestate after the commencement of the act. It
will be noticed that the law in respect to the illegitimate son of a ‘shudra’ to succeed his father is
now wholly changed.2

(vi) Son born of a void or voidable marriage

Section 16 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 relates to the legitimacy of children in void
and voidable marriages.

Example: A and B are the father and mother of S. After the birth of S, B obtains a decree of
nullity of marriage from the court on the grounds mentioned in 5(i), 5(iv), or 5(v).
Notwithstanding the nullity of his parents’ marriage, S is entitled to succeed as a heir to the
property of his father A and mother B as if he was a child born in a lawful wedlock.The same
will be the status and right in the above case if a daughter to succeed.

(vii) Step-son

A step-son, that is a son of a previous marriage of the wife of the intestate, is not entitled
to succeed to the property of the step father. In this case there is no blood relationship , full half
or uterine. Where a widow or an unmarried woman adopts a child, any man whom she marries
subsequently is deemed to be the step-father of the child. 3 Such a child is entitled to succeed to
the property of his mother but not his step father.

(viii) Son having physical or mental defects

Section 28 of this act qualifies every son to succeed to property he is entitled irrespective
of his physical or mental disabilities. Under the old Hindu law there were certain defects
deformities and diseases which excluded a son from being a heir. It was initially reduced to sons
who were by birth idiots or lunatics by the Hindu inheritance (removal of disabilities) act 1928
which declared so.

(2) Son of pre-deceased son

He inherits simultaneously with son and the other heirs specified in class I of the
schedule. The rules relating to the rights of son to succeed apply mutatis mutandis to the son of a
predeceased son.

(3) Widow

2
Daddo v. Raghunath AIR 1979 Bom 176
3
Section 14(4) of Hindu adoptions and Maintenance Act.
vi
The widow of a male Hindu inherits simultaneously with a son, daughter and other heirs
specified in class I. She takes her share absolutely and not as a widow’s estate (s.14). if there are
more than one widow, all widows together take one share.

(4) Widow of a predeceased son

She inherits simultaneously with a son, widow and other heirs specified in class I of the
schedule. The rules relating to the right of the widow to succeed apply “mutatis mutandis” to the
widow of a predeceased son. She is however not entitled to succeed if, on the date the succession
opens she is remarried.

(5) Widow of a predeceased son of a predeceased son.

She inherits simultaneously with a son, widow and other heirs specified in class I of the
schedule. The rules relating to the right of the widow to succeed apply “mutatis mutandis” to the
widow of a predeceased son. She is however not entitled to succeed if, on the date the succession
opens she is remarried.

(6) Daughter

(i) Daughter

The daughter, whether married or unmarried, inherits simultaneously with a son, widow
and the other heirs specified in class I of the schedule. Each daughter takes one share 4 that is
equal to that of the son. She takes it absolutely and not as women’s estate. 5 There is no priority
among married and unmarried daughters.6 Un-chastity of the daughter is no ground for
exclusion7

(ii) Adopted daughter

She is one of the heirs under class I as a male Hindu now under the Hindu Adoption and
Maintenance Act, section 7 can adopt a daughter.

(iii) Adopted son and adopted daughter

They can be both heir under class I simultaneously as the Hindu Adoptions and
Maintenance act, allows a male Hindu to adopted a male and a female child at the same time.

(iv) Posthumous daughter

4
Section 10 r 2.
5
Section 14
6
Narani bai v. State of Harayna AIR 2004 P&H 206
7
Section 28
vii
A daughter of the intestate, who was in the womb at the time of the death of the intestate
though subsequently born, is to be deemed for the purpose of succession as if born before the
death of the intestate.

(v) Illegitimate daughter

The illegitimate daughter of male Hindu who died intestate is not entitled to any share of
the inheritance not even in case of “Shudra” dying intestate after the commencement of the act. It
will be noticed that the law in respect to the illegitimate daughter of a ‘shudra’ to succeed his
father is now wholly changed. She is not entitled to any share of the inheritance.

(vi) Daughter born of a void of voidable marriage

Section 16 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 relates to the legitimacy of children in void
and voidable marriages.

Example: A and B are the father and mother of D. After the birth of D, B obtains a decree of
nullity of marriage from the court on the grounds mentioned in 5(i), 5(iv), or 5(v).
Notwithstanding the nullity of her parents’ marriage, D is entitled to succeed as a heir to the
property of his father A and mother B as if he was a child born in a lawful wedlock.

(vii) Daughter having physical or mental defects

Section 28 of this act qualifies every daughter to succeed to property he is entitled


irrespective of his physical or mental disabilities.

(7) Mother

She takes her share absolutely, un-chastity no bar nor I divorce or remarriage, and inherits
simultaneously with all other class I heirs. She is also entitled to inherit the property of an
illegitimate son. Step-mother is not entitled as mother to inherit as one of Class I heirs.

(8) Son of a predeceased daughter

Son of a predeceased daughter inherits simultaneously with the other heirs specified in
Class I of the Schedule. Daughter’s son would include adopted son of a predeceased daughter
i.e., if the latter was in the position of the adoptive mother. 8 A female Hindu who is not married
or whose marriage has been dissolved or is a widow or whose husband has renounced the world
or ceased to be a Hindu or is of unsound mind, now has the capacity to take a son in adoption to
herself, therefore a son adopted would be in a position of a daughters son and be entitled to
succeed as such under the present section.

(9) Daughter of a predeceased son


8
Section 14, Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act 1956
viii
The daughter of the predeceased son inherits simultaneously with a son, daughter, widow,
son of a predeceased son and other heirs specified in Class I of the Schedule. Son’s daughter
would include the adopted daughter of a predeceased son.

(10) Daughter of a predeceased daughter

She inherits simultaneously with son, widow and the other heirs specified in class I of the
schedule. The rules relating to the rights of son to succeed apply mutatis mutandis to the son of a
predeceased son of a predeceased son

(11) Daughter of a predeceased son of a predeceased son.

She inherits simultaneously with son, widow and the other heirs specified in class I of
the schedule. The rules relating to the rights of son to succeed apply mutatis mutandis to the son
of a predeceased son of a predeceased son.

(12) The son of a predeceased son of a predeceased son.

He inherits simultaneously with son and the other heirs specified in class I of the
schedule. The rules relating to the rights of son to succeed apply mutatis mutandis to the son of a
predeceased son of a predeceased son.

Chapter – V

Order of succession and distribution of property among heirs in class I

Section 9 - Order of succession among heirs in the Schedule

“Among the heirs specified in the Schedule, those in class I shall take simultaneously and to the
exclusion of all other heirs; those in the first entry in class II shall be preferred to those in the
second entry; those in the second entry shall be preferred to those in the third entry; and so on in
succession.”

The heirs specified in the class I of the schedule may for convenience be described as the
preferential heirs of the intestate. They constitute a distinct and exclusive category and succeed
in preference to all other heirs. Failing all others of the intestate in the category of the
preferential heirs enumerated in class 1 of schedule but not until then his property the devolves
upon the heirs specified in other categories
ix
For example:- A dies leaving surviving him a brother , a step brother and son of pre-deceased
brother. Full blood is preferred to half blood and therefore the brother who is heir specified in of
hi class I will have preference over the step brother and will take the whole of his property to the
exclusion of the step brother and of the brother’s son who is a heir in entry IV of class 2. If A
dies leaving only his step brother and the son of a predeceased full brother the step brother will
take the property to the exclusion of the brother’s son.1

Section 10 - Distribution of property among heirs in class I of the Schedule

“ The property of an intestate shall be divided among the heirs in class I of the Schedule in
accordance with the following rules:--

Rule 1.—The intestate’s widow, or if there are more widows than one, all the widows together,
shall take one share.

Rule 2.—The surviving sons and daughters and the mother of the intestate shall each take one
share.

Rule 3.—The heirs in the branch of each pre-deceased son or each pre-deceased daughter of the
intestate shall take between them one share.

Rule 4.—The distribution of the share referred to in Rule 3—

(i) among the heirs in the branch of the pre-deceased son shall be so made that his widow (or
widows together) and the surviving sons and daughters gets equal portions; and the branch of
his predeceased sons gets the same portion;

(ii) among the heirs in the branch of the pre-deceased daughter shall be so made that the
surviving sons and daughters get equal portions.”

The explicit declaration of the law that preferential heirs enumerated there take simultaneously
and to the exclusion of all other heirs, there is no precedence or priority among them. But it does
not follow that every individual who is listed as an heir in Class I is entitled to an equal share
along with every other individual heir in that class.

Where a partition of a joint family property takes place and a separate share is given to the
mother, then in the case of death of one of the sons the mother would be entitled to have a share
in the separate property of her son. Fact that earlier when the partition took place she was given a
share would not place any bar.2

1
Satyacharan v. Urmila AIR 1970 SC 1714
2
Savitri v. Devaki AIR 1982 Kar. 67
x
In the case of a Hindu male governed by Mitakshara under s.8 of the Act, the property that
devolves on him will be his separate property. Such a property would never amount to join
family property in his hands as against his son.3

In case the widow remarries, she would not be divested of the property inherited by her simply
on account of her remarrying.4

Chapter - VI

CASES
Section 8: “The property of a male Hindu dying intestate shall devolve according to the
provisions of this Chapter-

(a) firstly, upon the heirs, being the relatives specified in class 1 of the Schedule.

(b) secondly, if there is no heir of class I, then upon the heirs, being the relatives specified in
class II of the Schedule.

(c) thirdly, if there is no heir of any of the two classes, then upon the agnates of the deceased,

(d) lastly, if there is no agnate, then upon the cognate of the deceased”.

Section 8 may be summarized as follows:

When a male having interest in the Mitakshara coparcenary property dies, his property would
first devolve by succession upon any of the relatives mentioned in Class I. If there is no Class I
heir, then the property would devolve upon the relatives mentioned in Class II, in the specified
order. In the rare case that there is no Class to heir, the property will go to the Agnates and if
there are no agnates then to the cognates. If there are still no heirs then the Government will
come in and escheat the property.

3
Yudhishtir v. Ashok Kumar AIR 1987 SC 558
4
Udham Kaur v. Harbans 1983 HLR 579

xi
6.1 Cases before the amendment:
In Savitri v. Devaki 1 it was held that- Where a partition of a joint family property takes place
and a separate share is given to the mother, then in the case of death of one of the sons the
mother would be entitled to have a share in the separate property of her son. Fact that earlier
when the partition took place she was given a share would not place any bar.

In Yudhistir v. Ashok Kumar2 it was held that a Hindu male is governed by Mitakshara school
under Section 8 of the Act, the property that devolves on him will be his separate property. Such
a property would never amount to join family property in his hands as against his son.

It must be noted at this point that a son, as mentioned in the schedule, or a grandson, or a great-
grandson, has to be a legitimate son. This was laid down in the case of Daddo v. Raghunath3 by
the Bombay High Court, where the court held that an illegitimate son is not entitled to claim any
share in the property of his father. A son of a voidable marriage is however a full-fledged
legitimate son and will inherit the property of his father, but the son of an annulled voidable
marriage will inherit the property of the father alone and of no other relation.4

Before the act was passed however, in the cases of Kamalammal v. Vishwanathaswami5 as well
as the Supreme Court decision of Gur Narain v. Gur Tahal Das6, it was held that the illegitimate
son takes half of what he would have taken had he been a legitimate son. It is the humble
submission of the author that the view taken in these two cases is the right one simply because an
illegitimate son should not be made to suffer for not apparent fault of his own. The court must
take into account the benefit of that illegitimate child because the very reason for the procreation
of the illegitimate child would be the fault of none other than the father and the child who is not
at fault, should subsequently not be made to suffer. It is in this light that the judiciary must take
some affirmative action in bringing up the status of these illegitimate children.

In as much as the share of the daughters and more specifically, the illegitimate daughters goes,
the law was finally settled in 1994 with the Supreme Court judgment in Vithal Bhai v. Bhana
Bai7 where it was specifically held that an illegitimate daughter may not inherit.

1
AIR 1982 Kar. 67
2
AIR 1987 SC 558
3
AIR 1979 Bom 176
4
Supra n.7, p. 420
5
46 Mad 167 (PC)
6
AIR 1952 SC 225
7
AIR 1994 SC 481
xii
The people whose names are mentioned in class II of the schedule are next entitled to a share.
The class II heirs are divided into nine categories. The rule, as laid down in the case of Satya v.
Urmila8 is that an heir in an earlier category excludes heirs in later categories. All heirs in one
category take simultaneously between themselves the property. Just because numerals have been
used in some categories, such as in categories II, III, and IV, it does not indicate any preference
of heirs in an earlier numeral over the heirs in a later numeral. Thus in category II, where son’s
daughter’s son bears numeral 1, it does not mean that son’s daughter in numeral 2 will be
excluded.

6.2 Cases after the amendment:


In the case Harishchandra Vithoba Narawade v. Vatsalabai9 it was held that devolution of
interest in coparcenary property where a male Hindu dies intestate would devolve by
survivorship upon the surviving members of coparcenary and not under the Act, but if he dies
leaving behind female class I heirs, interest of the deceased shall devolve upon the female heirs
by intestate succession. Similar views were taken in Lakshmi N. Tudu v. Basi Majhian10, Keelu
Madana Mohana v. Gorakala Varahalu11, Puttamma v. Ramegowda (H K)12.

An unmarried daughter gets equal status of coparcener and she is entitled for equal rights with a
son in the coparcenary property. In Ravikirthi Shetty v. Jaathpala Shetty13 the daughter was held
not entitled to claim distinct and separate share as coparcener since there was evidence on record
that she was unmarried on the date that the Karnatak act came into force and though she was
given a chance to procure evidence at the time of final decree proceedings that she was
unmarried as on the relevant date.

In Prem Bhatnagar v. Ravi Mohan Bhatnagar14 the honourable court held that the grandsons
have no right in the property of their grandfather who died intestate, but being male descendant
and members of Hindu Joint Family, they would become coparceners in the Hindu coparcenary

8
AIR 1970 SC 1714.
9
2005 (1) HLR 147 (Bom).
10
AIR 2004 Jhar 121.
11
AIR 2005 NOC 580 (AP).
12
2004 (2) HLR 37 (Kant.).
13
AIR 2005 Kant 194; Deveerawa v Gangawa, AIR 2006 NOC 535 (Kant.).
14
2006 (2) HLR 219 (Del).
xiii
along with their father, while sons inherit self-acquired property of their father in terms of
Section 8 of the Act. Similar view was also taken in Sheela Devi v. Lal Chand15.

In Bay Bay Apartments Pvt. Ltd. v. Shobha16 it was held that the daughters become heirs of their
father having regard to the provisions of Hindu Succession Act, 1956. In Subbayyajoga Naik v.
Narayanai17 a suit by the daughter claiming her share from the self acquired property of her
deceased father as class I heir who died intestate was allowed and the daughter was held to be
entitled to a share in the property though she was married 20 years back. In Municipal Board v.
Jagdish Prasad18 a patta of land was granted in favour of ‘S’ who died issueless, the plaintiff
being the male lineal descendant of the brother of ‘S’ was entitled to the succession of land in
view of the Schedule annexed to the Act. In Lalitaben v. Shantaben19 even on the death of the
brother in 1990, the sister could not succeed to the property under Section 8 and consequently
could not be entitled to make an application for the mutation of her name in record of rights. But
under the present Act she ranks equally with the brother now.

The Seethamma v. Bathenna20 case established that in a case where a male Hindu died intestate
and issueless, the brother of the deceased who is in Class II of the Schedule can claim property
as his successor. The legal representatives of another brother who predeceased him are not
entitled to claim share in property of the deceased. In Ram Lal v. Mohinder Singh21 and
Bhagyamma v. Basavaraju (T.L.)22 it was held that where the claimants to inheritance are
related to the deceased through males only and others not wholly through females i.e. agnates
and cognates, there is no right of the cognates to inherit under Sections 3 (1) (a), 3 (1) (c) and
Section 8 of the Act. But where cognates who are related to the deceased by degree of ascent i.e.
through father’s sister’s son are entitled to succeed to property as cognates.

Chapter-VII

15
2006 (1) HLR 144 (P&H).
16
AIR 2007 SC 226.
17
AIR 2004 Kant 430.
18
AIR 2007 (NOC) 1522 (Raj).
19
AIR 2007 (NOC) 1220 (Guj).
20
AIR 2006 Kant 115.
21
AIR 2005 P&H 49.
22
AIR 2006 NOC 1055 (Kant).
xiv
CONCLUSION
When a Hindu inherits the property from his father under section 8 he takes it as his separate
property and not as joint family property vis-a-vis his sons. 1 The property in section 8 includes
agricultural land also.2

Class I heirs : “Son; daughter; widow; mother; son of a pre-deceased son; daughter of a pre-
deceased son; son of a pre-deceased daughter; daughter of a pre-deceased daughter; widow of a
pre-deceased son; son of a pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased son, daughter of a pre-deceased
son of a pre-deceased son; widow of a pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased son.”3

The growth of the Hindu Law of Succession can be traced from the Vedic Period, In early Hindu
society, women had no right to property, except Stridhan, and were thus economically dependant
on their father, brothers, or husband, and the earliest attempts to reform Hindu society began in
the late nineteenth century.4

The courts should attempt not to abrogate the rights of illegitimate children, but must instead
work toward uplifting their status by giving them a right in the coparcenary property. It is only a
matter of time before the courts realize that they cannot discriminate between people for the
simple reason of their sex or whether or not they were legitimate. One must keep in mind at all
times that the law is meant for to safeguard the interests of people and to work for their up-
liftment, economically and socially. To a great extent that goal has been achieved by Sections 6
and 8 of the Hindu Succession Act. Law is dynamic and evolution of law with changes in society
is inevitable and this amendment is a classic example of that.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Books
R. Misra and V. Kumar (eds.), Mayne, HINDU LAW AND USAGE, 16th ed. 2008, Bharat Law
House, New Delhi
1
Commissioner of Wealth-tax v. Chander Sen, AIR 1986 SC 1752.
2
Tukaram Genba Jadhav v. Laxman Genba Jadhav, AIR 1994 Bom 247.
3
Hindu Succession Act 1956
4
Ibid, 32.
xv
S A Desai (ed.), Mulla, HINDU LAW, 20th ed. 2007, LexisNexis Butterworths Publications,
New Delhi
R.B.Sethi, THE HINDU SUCCESSION ACT, 2nd ed. 1959, Allahabad Law Agency, Allahabad.

Paras Diwan and Peeyushi Diwan, FAMILY LAW, 6th ed. 2001, Allahabad Law Agency,
Allahabad.

T.V. Subba Rao and Vijender Kumar, (rev.), G.C.V. Subba Rao, FAMILY LAW IN INDIA, 8th
ed. 2003, S. Gogia and Company, Hyderabad

Poonam Pradhan Saxena, “FAMILY LAW LECTURES: FAMILY LAW II, 1st ed. 2004,
Butterworths Publications, New Delhi.

Nishi Purohik, “Commentary on the Hindu Succession Act”, 1st ed., 2001, CTJ publications

Websites
www.manupatra.com
www.indiankanoon.com
www.lawyersclubindia.com
www.jstor.org
www.lawcommissionofindia.nic.in

xvi