This is a landmark judgment that revolves around the concept of joint Hindu family and coparcenary rights of the daughters.
REFERENCE: Civil Appeal No. Diary No. 32601 of 2018
DATE OF JUDGMENT: 11th August 2020
JUDGES: Justice Arun Mishra, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer, Justice M. R. Shah
- Vineeta Sharma (Petitioner)
- Rakesh Sharma (Respondent)
SUMMARY: Daughters weren't having coparcenary rights and will only directly inherit the property of the father and had no right to inherit the ancestral property of the joint Hindu family by birth. The amendment act of 2005, inter alia, to furnish equality, brought the proper coparcenary for daughter from their birth. Now daughters also had equal rights, same as that of a son, under substituted section 6 of the amended Hindu succession act, 2005.
- It was stated that after the death of their father, their mother had been living with the respondent and whenever the petitioner visited her mother, she used to return to her matrimonial house the same day.
- As per the petitioner, the suit premises is the self-acquired property of their father, whereas as per respondent, though, it was the self-acquired property of their father, but the latter had been thrown in the mixture of Hindu Undivided Family.
The following issues were analyzed by the court:
- What is the applicability of the amended Sec. 6?
- Whether women can be given equal rights as coparceners.
- Whether the provisions of the amendment Act gave women equal property rights.
ANALYSIS OF THE JUDGEMENT
- The counsel for the Union of India, the Solicitor General, contended that the daughters have been given the right of a coparcener, to bring equality with sons, and the elimination for the daughter from coparcenary was considered discriminatory and led to opposition and negation of the fundamental rights. The counsel contended that even though the right of a coparcener is accrued to a daughter by birth, coparcenary is a birthright.
- The counsel further argued that conferment of coparcenary status on daughters would not affect any partition that may have occurred before 20th December 2004, when the bill was tabled before the Rajya Sabha.
- The counsel further contended that the explanation contained under the provisions of Sec. 6(1) of the Act concerning conferral of rights as a coparcener, daughter as a coparcener, shall not affect nor invalidate any disposition or alienation including any partition or testamentary disposition.
- The counsel argued that the daughter of a coparcener in section 6 does not imply the daughter of a living coparcener or father, as the death of the coparcener or father does not automatically lead to the end of the coparcenary, which may continue with other coparceners alive.
- Mr. R. Venkataramani, learned senior counsel and amicus curiae, contended that on the death of the coparcener, his interest is deemed to be merged with the surviving coparceners and therefore, on the death of a coparcener, there will be no coparcener from whom the daughter would succeed.
- The counsel contended that although equality was brought in the amendment passed in 2005, the incidence of birth of a coparcener before 2005 was of no significance.
- The learned counsel, therefore, submitted before the court that the provisions of Sec. 6(1) and Sec. 6(5) need not be reopened with regards to oral partitions and family settlements.
- Mr. V.V.S. Rao, learned senior counsel and amicus curiae, contended before the court that a daughter before or after 2005 was to be considered as a coparcener. The judicial history of section 6 projects light in the understanding of the provision before the Act of 1956 was enacted.
- The counsel contended that women were not any interest in coparcenary property, and on the demise of a coparcener, the share of the deceased coparcener devolved on the surviving coparceners.
- The counsel contended that the use of the words “on and from” as given in the provisions of Sec. 6(1) give out an indication that the daughter has the right to become a coparcener from the commencement of the Act.
- The court, on hearing the arguments set forth by the counsels, under the provisions of Sec. 6, the right to become a coparcener is given by birth, thereby making it an unobstructed heritage.
- With regards to the applicability of the provisions of the amended Sec. 6, the court held that the amended section is applied retroactively. The court held that the retroactive application of the section is based on the event which happened in the past.
- The court held that the daughter, under the provisions of the Act, is now treated as a coparcener. The position was not the same before the amendment, the court held.
- However, the court was also of the view that the daughter is not conferred with the right to be a coparcener only after the death of a living coparcener, as contained in the provisions of Sec. 6.
- The court, therefore, took the liberty to state that before the amendment of the Act, women were not given rights and were barred to have an interest in coparcenary properties. The amendment made inroads into the system and gave women equal rights to be coparceners to property, the court held.
Apex court has overruled the judgment in and it's agreed on some points of law but has partially overruled it as consistent to the provisions of section 6 have prospective effect. The court has cleared many gaps in law such notional partition isn't actual partition, the provisions are retroactive, whether the father is dead or alive on and after 9 November 2005 is immaterial to the conferring of equal rights to the daughter as same because the son which the rights of coparcenary are conferred on daughter by birth.
Supreme Court has also interpreted the legislation consistent with its object which was to form well a fault in law because the unamended section 6 of the Hindu succession act was discriminatory. Accordingly, it's laid down precedence which will make sure that no bogus or sham partitions can cause deprivation of an equal right of a daughter in a Hindu joint family. This judgment successfully cleared all the confusion created by two contradicting judgments before it
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