'A daughter is a daughter throughout her life': SC rules in favour of women's equal property rights under amended Hindu Succession Act

The apex court's verdict came on the issue whether the amendment to the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 granting equal rights to daughters to inherit ancestral property would have retrospective effect.
Supreme Court. (File Photo | PTI)
Supreme Court. (File Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI:  In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled in favour of rights of daughters to have a share in a Hindu Undivided Family property. A three-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra settled the disputed question of law and held that daughters will have a right to parental property in accordance with the 2005 amendment to the Hindu Succession Act. 

The court held that daughters’ rights are absolute after the amendment and that she would have the right of inheritance irrespective of whether the father was alive at the time of the amendment or not.“Daughters cannot be deprived of their right to equality conferred by Section 6 of the Act. Daughter is always a loving daughter for the rest of their life. A son is a son till he is married. The daughter shall remain a coparcener throughout life, irrespective of whether her father is alive or not,” Justice Arun Mishra said while pronouncing the judgment. 

A coparcener is one who shares equally in the inheritance of an undivided property. The remarks by the court came when it was hearing a batch of appeals that raised the issue of ancestral property inheritance. The pleas raised question if the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 has a retrospective effect.  The judgment holds significance as the court held that rights under the amendment are applicable to living daughters of living coparceners as on September 9, 2005, irrespective of when they were born. 

In 2018, a Supreme Court bench had said the amended Hindu Succession Act of 2005 stipulated that a daughter would be a coparcener since birth, and have the same rights and liabilities as a son. This clarification is important since it sets aside a clutch of previous decisions by the top court and it cited the objective of the amendment to say that daughters were to be given a right in the HUF as a coparcener, equal to a son, and that such conditions go against the spirit of the amendment carried out. 

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