//Daughter's rights in new amendment

Daughter's rights in new amendment

Does the amendment in the Hindu Succession Act enable Hindu women to be a member of both her husband’s joint family and her father’s?

The amended law relates solely to succession and not in respect of other aspects of a Hindu joint family. A daughter has the same right in the joint family property as a coparcener and is in a position to exercise her right even by demanding a partition. There is no other incidence.

Where the daughter pre-deceases her father does her right lapse?

If the father died after the commencement of the Act, the legal heirs of the daughter will be entitled to a share in the share, which the pre-deceased daughter would have had if she had survived.

In a case where the daughter predeceases her father, will her husband get the share of his pre-deceased wife?

Under the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, husband is not a legal heir to his wife’s estate, if there is a son or a daughter or children of a pre-deceased son or daughter as was pointed out by the Supreme Court in Smt. Radhika v Aghnu Ram Mahto (1998) 232 ITR 896 (SC). The present amendment does not make any change in this regard.

Is it not possible to ante-date the partition prior to amendment and defeat the daughter’s right?

Unless the partition is a registered one prior to December 20, 2004, her right cannot be defeated.

Can a daughter now make a will of her right to the joint family property?

One of the amendments specifically provides for such a right, so that she has a right to make a will for disposition of her share in the joint family property like any of her other assets.

What are the other rights recognised for the daughter in the new amendment?

Female heirs did not have any right to parental home even when they had a right in the share of their father’s property. But the amendment ensures that this discrimination also stands removed. Again, remarriage of the widow of karta or any other co-parcener will not deny her right, where her right has already opened up on the death of her husband.

Incidentally, the liability for a Hindu on grounds of pious obligation also stands deleted, so that the daughter because of her right to succession will not become liable for any debt contracted by the father. This amendment spares the sons as well. But then this immunity applies only to pious obligation, but not to any liability which has otherwise to be met in law by the joint family.

What is the right of the widow?

Widow has the same right as other legal heirs on the death of her husband in respect of his individual property. But she does not have the same share in the joint family property as her son and now her daughter. To take the same example of a joint family with karta, wife, two sons and two daughters, each son and daughter will have one-fifth on deemed partition and get further one-fifth of their father’s share adding up to six by 25th share of the total property, while the mother will get one by 25th share, the mother getting considerably less on account of her daughter’s increased share, since her husband’s share gets reduced because of the recognition of the daughter as having equal right as the son. But the consolation is that she will have the right to equal share with her brother in her father’s joint family property.