Daughter’s share in Hindu Joint Family Property

If a daughter is born prior to the enactment of the Hindu Succession act, 1956, still she is entitled for  a share in the Hindu Joint family property. Supreme court has said in the case of  Danamma and another VS Amar and another- That though a daughter is born prior to 1950 she is entitled for a share in Joint family property as she is a coparcener by Birth. Thus a daughter also gets equal share in the Joint Family property of a Hindu family, irrespective of whether a daughter is married or unmarried and any daughter whether she is born prior to 1950 or after the enactment of the Hindu Succession act 1956, a daughter is by Birth a coparcener. hence a daughter also gets equal share in the joint family property as a son of the family gets.

The provisions of Section 6 of the Act, as it stood prior to its amendment by the Amendment Act, 2005. This provision reads as under:

“6. 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, under this Act and not by survivorship.

Explanation 1.—For the purposes 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 had 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.”

Explanation 1 to the aforesaid Section states that the interest of the deceased Mitakshara coparcenary property shall be deemed to be the share in the property that would have been allotted to him if the partition of the property had taken place immediately before his death, irrespective whether he was entitled to claim partition or not.

Explanation 1 to Section 6:

“…Explanation 1 defines the expression ‘the interest of the deceased in Mitakshara coparcenary property’ and incorporates into the subject the concept of a notional partition.

It is essential to note that this notional partition is for the purpose of enabling succession to and computation of an interest, which was otherwise liable to devolve by survivorship

and for the ascertainment of the shares in that interest of the relatives mentioned in Class I of the Schedule. Subject to such carving out of the interest of the deceased coparcener the other incidents of the coparcenary are left undisturbed and the coparcenary can continue without disruption. A statutory fiction which treats an imaginary state of affairs as real requires that the consequences and incidents of the putative state of affairs must flow from or accompany it as if the putative state of affairs

had in fact existed and effect must be given to the inevitable corollaries of that state of affairs.”

“[T]he operation of the notional partition and its inevitable corollaries and incidents is to be only for the purposes of this section, namely, devolution of interest of the deceased in coparcenary property and would not bring about total disruption of the coparcenary as if there had in fact been a regular partition and severance of status among all the surviving coparceners.”

According to the learned author, at pp. 253-54, the undivided interest “of the deceased coparcener for the purpose of giving effect to the rule laid down in the proviso, as already pointed out, is to be ascertained on the footing of a notional partition as of the date of his death. The determination of that share must depend on the number of persons who would have been entitled to a share in the coparcenary property if a partition had in fact taken place immediately before his death and such person would have to be ascertained according to the law of joint family and partition. The rules of

Hindu law on the subject in force at the time of the death of the coparcener must, therefore, govern the question of ascertainment of the persons who would have been entitled to a share on the notional partition”.

That apart, we are of the view that amendment to the aforesaid Section vide amendment Act, 2005 clinches the issue, beyond any pale of doubt, in favour of the appellants. This amendment now confers upon the daughter of the coparcener as well the status of coparcener in her own right in the same manner as the son and gives same rights and liabilities in the coparcener properties as she would have had if it had been son. The amended provision reads as under:

“6. Devolution of interest in coparcenary property.―(1) On and from the commencement of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 (39 of 2005), in a Joint Hindu family

governed by the Mitakshara law, the daughter of a coparcener shall,―

  • by birth become a coparcener in her own right the same manner as the son

(b) have the same rights in the coparcenary property as she would have had if she had been a son;

(c) be subject to the same liabilities in respect of the said coparcenary property as that of a son,

and any reference to a Hindu Mitakshara coparcener shall be deemed to include a reference to a daughter of a coparcener:

Provided that nothing contained in this subsection shall affect or invalidate any disposition or alienation including any partition or testamentary disposition of property which had taken place before the 20th day of December, 2004.

(2) Any property to which a female Hindu becomes entitled by virtue of sub-section (1) shall be held by her with the incidents of coparcenary ownership and shall be regarded,

notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or any other law for the time being in force, as property capable of being disposed of by her by testamentary disposition.

(3) Where a Hindu dies after the commencement of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 (39 of 2005), his interest in the property of a Joint Hindu family governed by the Mitakshara law, shall devolve by testamentary or intestate succession, as the case may be, under this Act and not by survivorship, and the coparcenary property shall be deemed to have been divided as if a partition had taken place and,―

  • the daughter is allotted the same share as is allotted to a son;

(b) the share of the pre-deceased son or a pre-deceased daughter, as they would have got had they been alive at the time of partition, shall be allotted to the surviving child of such

pre-deceased son or of such pre-deceased daughter; and

  • the share of the pre-deceased child of a pre-deceased son or of a pre-deceased daughter, as such child would have got had he or she been alive at the time of the partition, shall be allotted to the child of such pre-deceased child of the pre-deceased son or a pre-deceased daughter, as the case may be.

Explanation.―For the purposes of this sub-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.

(4) After the commencement of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 (39 of 2005), no court shall recognize any right to proceed against a son, grandson or great-grandson for the recovery of any debt due from his father, grandfather or great-grandfather solely on the ground of the pious obligation under the Hindu law, of such son, grandson or great-grandson to discharge any such debt:

Provided that in the case of any debt contracted before the commencement of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 (39 of 2005), nothing contained in this sub-section shall affect―

(a) the right of any creditor to proceed against the son, grandson or great-grandson, as the case may be; or

(b) any alienation made in respect of or in satisfaction of, any such debt, and any such right or alienation shall be enforceable under the rule of pious obligation in the same

manner and to the same extent as it would have been enforceable as if the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 (39 of 2005) had not been enacted.

Explanation.―For the purposes of clause (a), the expression “son”, “grandson” or “great-grandson” shall be deemed to refer to the son, grandson or great-grandson, as the

case may be, who was born or adopted prior to the commencement of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 (39 of 2005).

(5) Nothing contained in this section shall apply to a partition, which has been effected before the 20th day of December, 2004.

Explanation.―For the purposes of this section “partition” means any partition made by execution of a deed of partition duly registered under the Registration Act, 1908 (16 of 1908) or partition effected by a decree of a court.]”

The controversy now stands settled with the authoritative pronouncement in the case of Prakash & Ors. v. Phulavati & Ors. which has approved the view taken by the aforesaid High Courts as well as Full Bench of the Bombay High Court.

that the proviso to Section 6(1)and sub-section (5) of Section 6 clearly intend to exclude the transactions referred to therein which may have taken place prior to 20-12-2004 on which date the Bill was introduced.

Explanation cannot permit reopening of partitions which were valid when effected. Object of giving finality to transactions prior to 20-12-2004 is not to make the main  provision retrospective in any manner. The object is that by fake transactions available property at the introduction of the Bill is not taken away and remains available as and when right conferred by the statute becomes available and is to be enforced. Main provision of the amendment in Sections 6(1) and (3) is not in any manner intended to be affected but strengthened in this way. Settled principles governing such transactions relied upon by the appellants are not intended to be done away with for period prior to 20-12-2004. In no case statutory notional partition even after 20-12-2004 could be covered by the Explanation or the proviso in question.

Accordingly, it is held that the rights under the amendment are applicable to living daughters of living coparceners as on 9-9-2005 irrespective of when such daughters are born.

Disposition or alienation including partitions which may have taken place before 20-12-2004 as per law applicable prior to the said date will remain unaffected. Any transaction of partition effected thereafter will be governed by the Explanation.”

The The law relating to a joint Hindu family governed by the Mitakshara law has undergone unprecedented changes. The said changes have been brought forward to address the growing need to merit equal treatment to the nearest female relatives, namely daughters of a coparcener. The section stipulates that a daughter would be a coparcener from her birth, and would have the same rights and liabilities as that of a son. The daughter would hold property to which she is entitled as a coparcenary property, which would be construed as property being capable of being disposed of by her either by a will or any other testamentary disposition. These changes have been sought to be made on the touchstone of equality, thus seeking to remove the perceived disability and prejudice to which a daughter was subjected.

The fundamental changes brought forward about in the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 by amending it in 2005, are perhaps a realization of the immortal words of Roscoe Pound as appearing in his celebrated treaties, The Ideal Element in Law, that “the law must be stable and yet it cannot stand still. Hence all thinking about law has struggled to reconcile the conflicting demands of the need of stability and the need of change.”

Section 6, as amended, stipulates that on and from the commencement of the amended Act, 2005, the daughter of a coparcener shall by birth become a coparcener in her own right in the same manner as the son. It is apparent that the status conferred upon sons under the old section and the old Hindu Law was to treat them as coparceners since birth. The amended provision now statutorily

recognizes the rights of coparceners of daughters as well since birth. The section uses the words in the same manner as the son. It should therefore be apparent that both the sons and the daughters of a coparcener have been conferred the right of becoming coparceners by birth. It is the very factum of birth in a coparcenary that creates the coparcenary, therefore the sons and daughters of a coparcener become coparceners by virtue of birth. Devolution of coparcenary property is stage of a coparcenary is obviously its creation as explained above, and as is well recognized. One of the incidents of coparcenary is the right of a coparcener to seek a severance of status. Hence, the rights of coparceners emanate and flow from birth (now including daughters) as is evident from sub-s (1)(a) and (b).

HINDU MITAKSHARA COPARCENARY:

According to the Mitakshara School of Hindu Law all the property of a Hindu joint family is held in collective ownership by all the coparceners in a quasi-corporate capacity. The Textual authority of the Mitakshara lays down in express terms that the joint family property is held in trust for the joint family members then living and thereafter to be born (See Mitakshara, Ch. I. 1-27). The incidents of copartnership under the Mitakshara law are: first, the lineal male descendants of a person up to the third generation, acquire onbirth ownership in the ancestral properties is common; secondly, that such descendants can at any time work out their rights by asking for partition; thirdly, that till partition each member has got ownership extending over the entire property, conjointly with the rest; fourthly, that as a result of such co-ownership the possession and enjoyment of the properties is common; fifthly, that no alienation of the property is possible unless it be for necessity, without the concurrence of the coparceners, and sixthly, that the interest of a deceased member lapses on his death to the survivors.”

 Hence, it is clear that the right to partition has not been abrogated.

The right is inherent and can be availed of by any coparcener, now even a daughter who is a coparcener.

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