The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 enacted the right to equal share of property to all living heirs (coparcener) of the ancestral property but it was still male dominated. Women were considered more as a member than a coparcener due to the patriarchal notion of society. Section 23 prevented female heirs to ask for partition if there were joint families still dwelling in the property. Section 6 made it difficult for female heirs to inherit the property on the basis of interpretation of the Act, when the father has died without intestate. Some families wrote up the will of property in the name of their son so that the women member cannot claim it.
States like Maharashtra, Andra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka amended the Act by Mitakshara Coparcenary Property by bringing equal rights to the women as a coparcener before the amendment of Hindu Succession Act, 2005.
The Hindu Succession Act, 2005 Amendment brought in the change where the daughters were extended the right to property when the father had left his property intestate or without a will. It stated that the daughter is as much liable as a son by birth of their ancestral property.
Although the amendment of Hindu Succession Act, 2005 gave daughters the right to ancestral property; It was still disputed because of the conflicting decision taken by the supreme court on various such court cases. In Prakash & Ors v. Phulavati & Ors (2015) case the supreme court ruled that the daughter could have held the right only if the father had demised after the Amendment Act, 2005 and not before it.
Whereas, In Danamma – Suman Surpur v. Amar (2018) case the supreme court ruled on the decision that both the daughters involved in the case would get the share in property even when the father has passed away in or after 2001. The supreme court did not lay down on the decision of its previous cases where the time of father’s death was considered. It created great confusion and unfairness to the parties involved in the plethora of related cases.
In Vineeta Sharma Vs. Rakesh Sharma & Ors (2020) case, the bench of three judges i.e. Justice Arun Mishra, Justice S. Abdul Nazeer and Justice M.R. Shah presented a judgement that when the daughter who is demanding the share is alive and appealing after the amendment there should be no other interpretation even if the father has passed away before the amendment as it will defeat the very real objective of the Act.
To resolve the conflict of decision by supreme court, a larger bench was set up and a final view on this subject was presented which was binding for all such cases where in the Prakash & Ors v. Phulavati & Ors (2015) the supreme court overruled its own decision. And a final decision was made for the Amendment of 2005 that the daughters will be equal heir of the father’s property irrespective of the time of father’s death be it before or after the amendment 2005.
There were a number of appeals which came forward after this judgement for the Amendment to supreme court. In 2020, the apex court finally put forward the judgement that the daughters will have as much right as a son in the ancestral property and consecutive liability since her birth.
We hope that the legal rights of daughters are understood well before our audience. The legitimacy of a position depends completely on the legal preceding and hearing and cannot be claimed on the basis of one’s interpretation.