Coparcenary literally means Joint inheritance or heirship of property. Coparcenary is a narrower body of persons within a joint family, and consists of father, son, son’s son, son’s son’s son. Under the Mitakshara system, joint family property devolves by survivorship within the coparcenary. This means that with every birth or death of a male in the family, the share of every other surviving male either gets diminished or enlarged. If a coparcenary consists of a father and his two sons, each would own one third of the property. If another son is born in the family, automatically the share of each male is reduced to one fourth. The Mitakshara law also recognizes inheritance by succession but only to the property separately owned by an individual male or female.


In a Undivided Joint Hindu Family only male members were given the right in the property and to claim for partition. Female member of the family were given only right to residence and right to maintenance, they were not given the ownership right or right to claim in the property.

It was for the first time that in Hindu Law of Inheritance Act, 1929 inheritance right were conferred upon three female heirs i.e. son’s daughter, daughter’s daughter and sister (thereby creating limited restriction on the rule of
survivorship). But this law does not give away the gender inequality that exist from ancient time.


This Act dealing with intestate succession among Hindus came into force on 17th June 1956. It brought about changes in the law of succession and gave rights, which were hitherto unknown, in relation to a woman’s property. The section 6 of Hindu Succession Act, 1956 follows as:
Devolution of interest in coparcenary property. – When a male Hindu dies after the commencement of this Act, having at the time of his death an interest in a Mitakshara coparcenary property, his interest in the property shall devolve by survivorship upon the surviving members of the coparcenary and not in accordance with this Act:
Provided that, if the deceased had left him surviving a female relative specified in class I of the Schedule or a male relative specified in that class who claims through such female relative, the interest of the deceased in the Mitakshara coparcenary property shall devolve by testamentary or intestate succession, as the case may be and not by survivorship.
Explanation 1. For the purpose of this section, the interest of a Hindu Mitakshara coparcener shall be deemed to be the share in the property that would have been allotted to him if a partition of the property had taken place immediately before his death, irrespective of whether he was entitled to claim partition or not.
Explanation 2. Nothing contained in the proviso to this section shall be construed as enabling a person who has separated himself from the coparcenary before the death of the deceased or any of his heirs to claim on intestacy a share in the interest referred to therein.

The legislature through this act says that the the rule of survivorship would apply only when father does not leave any female of class 1 heir category. If there is any female of class 1 heir then the interest of the father in the property would devolve by intestate succession and not through rule of survivorship.

for example, if C dies leaving behind only two sons then the succession would be in accordance of rule of survivorship and both son would get equal share of property. But, if c dies leaving behind two son and three daughters, then the partition of the property would be as: 1- by way of notional partition the property would be divided into three equal shares for father, and his two sons; 2-Now the share of father in the property would be further divided into five shares each for two sons and three daughters. Thus even after this act, daughters were not entitled to equal share as son.

POSITION AFTER The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005

The section 6 after amendment following changes were made:

  1. Daughters were made coparceners, thus they were now made entitled to equal share as the son.
  2. Survivorship was abolished means, father’s interest would devolve as intestamentary succession.

For Example, if a joint family have F, M, widow of predeceased son, son and daughter of predeceased son, and a daughter D. Then after F died, partition of property would be as:

  1. Notional partition- three equal share of property for all three coparceners, i.e., F, D and S(share of S would be given to his son and daughter)
  2. Partition of father’s share: his share would be equally distributed between M ( F’s widow), D (F’s daughter) and widow of predeceased son- all in the category of being class 1 heir

thus, after this amendment position has been changed all the heirs would get equal share of father’s interest in the joint property of Hindu undivided family.

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