Three-judge bench to hear plea challenging validity of provision of Hindu Succession Act: SC

Section 15 of the Hindu Succession Act provides general rules of succession in the case of female Hindus.
Representational Image. (File Photo)
Representational Image. (File Photo)

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday said that a three-judge bench would hear a plea challenging the constitutional validity of section 15 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, on the ground that there is apparent discrimination in the devolution in case of a woman dying intestate, in comparison to male, who dies without making any will.

Section 15 of the Hindu Succession Act provides general rules of succession in the case of female Hindus.

A bench of Justices DY Chandrachud and Surya Kant told the counsels appearing in the matter that since the issue in the plea pertains to the constitutional validity of a provision, it requires a lengthy hearing and it would be appropriate if it is heard by a three-judge bench.

The bench directed the registry that the matter be listed on a non-miscellaneous day, whenever a three judge-bench would assemble.

It allowed the counsels, appearing for different parties, to file their written submissions on the issue before the next date of hearing.

The bench had earlier noted, "The contention of the petitioner is that where a female Hindu dies intestate, the property would devolve upon first upon the sons and daughters and the husband and then on the heirs of the husband and it only thereafter that the mother and the father are recognised. Section 16 specifies that among the heirs referred to under sub-section (1) of section 15; those in one entry are to be preferred to those in any succeeding entry. On the other hand, in the case of a male Hindu dying intestate, section 8 stipulates that the estate will first devolve upon the relative specified in class I of the schedule".

The top court had said that the issue has come before it as a special leave petition against an order of the Bombay High Court rejecting the caveat filed by the petitioner on the ground that she did not have an interest in the property of her deceased daughter, during the lifetime of the spouse of the deceased.

The bench in February 2019, while issuing notice said that since the petition which has been instituted under Article 32 raises an important question of gender equality, it is inclined to issue notice and had sought a response from the Centre.

It had appointed senior advocate Meenakshi Arora as amicus curiae to assist the court on the issue.

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The New Indian Express