From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Hindu Succession Act 1956 and amendments
Mains level : Paper 2- The Supreme Court judgement making daughters coparcener in her own right
The article highlights the importance of the latest Supreme Court Judgement making daughter coparcener in own right by birth removing the conditions laid down in the previous judgement.
- In Vineeta Sharma v. Rakesh Sharma (2020), the Supreme Court held that a coparcener’s daughter would become a coparcener in her own right by birth.
Amendment in 2005 and related SC judgement
- There is a difference between rights conferred by the Hindu Succession Act of 1956 and the amendment to that act in 2005.
- In 1956 Act, equal right of succession at par with a son was given to a daughter, but only after the demise of the father or mother.
- The 2005 amendment gave the right to property to a daughter in a joint Hindu family during the lifetime of the father.
- In Prakash v. Phulavati 2005, the Supreme Court decided on the prospectivity or retrospectivity of the law creating coparcenary rights in favour of daughters.
- It created a condition that the rights under the amendment are applicable only to living daughters of living coparceners as on September 9, 2005; however, it gave no reason as to why this was chosen as a condition.
- The status of a daughter to be subject to her father being alive is apparently a mistake.
- The death of an individual should not determine the rights of their heirs.
- If any right had accrued in the daughter’s favour by a legislation, the same can’t be disturbed by death of her father.
What the SC said in latest judgement
- In the present judgment, Vineeta Sharma v. Rakesh Sharma , the court rightly held that as laid down in Section 6 (1) (a), daughter is to be a coparcener by birth; so there is no question of being prospective or retrospective.
- It is the physical status that matters and should not be linked to a date.
- Even in the case of unregistered partition deeds executed before December 20, 2004, the court has opened a new window for daughters.
- Daughters can claim a right even in an unregistered partition deed which has not been proved conclusively.
There is a need to examine all the existing laws and wherever discriminatory practices exist, they need to be amended appropriately.