The following are considered legal heirs as per the Hindu Succession Act,1956:
1. Spouse (Class I heir)
2. Children (Class I heir)
3. Parents – Mother (Class I heir), Father (Class II heir)
4. Siblings – Brother (Class II heir), Sister (Class II heir)
A second wife cannot claim property or be considered a legal heir under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 if the husband remarries during the life-time of the first wife or when the marriage with the first wife is still subsisting. Under S.5 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, if a husband remarries while the first marriage exists, then in that case the second marriage becomes void. The second wife can inherit property only under two scenarios, after the husband divorces his first wife and in cases where the husband remarries after the death of his first wife. The children of the second wife irrespective of the second marriage not being valid are entitled to inherit as per Indian Succession laws. Children of the second wife also fall within the category of Class I heirs and can inherit equally along with the children of the first wife.
In the present case, the name of the second wife can be removed from the legal certificate through a court order as she is not a valid legal heir. It was held in the case of Smt. Prabha Dubey And Ors. vs Smt. Santosh Dubey, 2005 (1) MPHT 215, the Madras High Court held that the second wife was not entitled to a succession certificate as the husband had remarried during the subsistence of the first marriage. The court allowed the children born out of the second marriage to claim succession in the property in view of S.16 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956.