THE HINDU SUCCESSION SCT,1956                                                                                                      BY SHRISHTI MISHRA

The Hindu Succession Act 1956 deals with property rights and inheritance. This act gives a broad view of who can be given the property and the rights available for both males and females while acquiring a property. Section 2 of the Hindu Succession Act 1956 talks about the applicability of this law. This law is applicable to anyone who is a Hindu, Jain, Buddhist, Sikh by religion. Any person who is not a Muslim, Christian, Parsi, or Jew by religion unless otherwise proven by law that this particular person does not come under the ambit of this law.  This section is not applicable to the Scheduled tribes covered under the meaning of section 366(25).



The basic structure of any Hindu joint family comprises of the Karta or the head of the family, his wife, his son, his daughter, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, grandson, etc. All of them are members of the family but not co-parceners.

Co-parceners are those individuals who can claim their rights on ancestral property. For example, when a person, owning an ancestral property dies, the property, would by default pass down to his son, grandson, great-grandson, and so on. Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act 1956 deals with this aspect and was called as Survivorship rule.

The main criticism of section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act 1956 was that the survivorship rule allowed only the male lineage to be co-parceners. The women were not given equal rights over the property and this was discriminatory in nature. Although the Hindu Succession Act 1956 did say that women would have equal rights over the property, the Mitakshara law of parcener did not allow females to be co-parceners of a property.




The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act 2005 was assented by the president on 5th September 2005 and came into effect from the 9th September 2005. This amendment was brought about to end the discrimination in the Hindu Succession Act 1956, section 6, thus abrogating the survivorship rule. Under this amendment of the section if a person dies intestate the property would be inherited to class I heirs which consist of the widow, son, and daughter of the deceased and the property would be divided equally among them. In the absence of class I heirs due to any reason then the property would pass down to class II heirs and so on. This act also amended section 4, section 23, section 24, and section 30 of the act.


This amendment was brought as a solution and it was declared that daughters also have an equal right and liability in the father’s property just like the sons and daughters are entitled to this right since birth.

Though this act was brought about as a solution, there were certain confusions surrounding this amendment. The enforcement date of this act was 9th September 2005. The main question was that, will this law be applied retrospectively or is it applicable for future cases only? This meant that if a person died in 2002 that is before the enforcement of this amendment, would the daughter still be entitled to the property and would she be a co-parcener?



The case of Vineeta Sharma vs Rakesh Sharma was declared a  landmark case as it finally settled the confusion regarding property rights. The current status of the law is that both the son and daughter have an equal liability and right over the property irrespective of whether the father was alive in 2005 or not and there will be an equal division of the property. This amendment was instrumental in bringing a change in society and women’s rights.


                                                                                              AUTHOR: SHRISHTI MISHRA


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