Hindu womans limited estate
This good feature of this scheme was that it gave equal share in devolution of property to son, daughter, widow and the mother of the deceased. Eight other categories of heirs also come into the scheme of simultaneous succession. They are all included in the Class I of the schedule. On the principle of representation of the predeceased son or daughter, the male and female heirs are treated as absolute equals. The distribution of property among the heirs of class I is according to the rules aid out in S. 10 of the Act There is no doubt that it reformed the Hindu personal law and gave women greater property rights, allowing women full ownership rights instead of limited rights in the property they inherited from their husbands under Section 14 with a fresh stock of descent under sections 15 and 16 of this Act.
Daughters were also granted property rights in their fathers' estate. The attempt to bring about reforms and a comprehensive codification of Hindu Law was resisted by the certain sections of Hindus. Under the HSA if a Hindu male dies intestate, all his separate or self-acquired property devolves in equal shares on his sons, daughters, widow and mother as specified class I heirs.However, the devolution of interest to coparcenary property is set out in section 6 of the HSA. The provision above noted indicates when a male Hindu dies having at the time of his death an interest in a Mitakshara coparcenary property and is survived by a female relative specified in class I of the Schedule of the Act or a male relative specified in that class who claims through such female relative, the interest of the deceased.
The Interest of the deceases in the Mitakshara coparcenary property devolves by testamentary or intestate succession and not by survivorship. The Act lays specific emphasis on the "interest of the deceased" and provides that the interest of a Hindu Mitakshara coparcener shall be deemed to be the share in the property that would have been allotted to him if a partition of the property had taken place immediately before his death. The Supreme Court in Gurupada v. Heerabai, reaffirming the decision in State v. Narayanaro had examined Section 6 of the HSA and is of the view above expressed.
Case Discussion Related To Absolute Property Of Hindu Women
V.Tulsamma v .Shesha Reddy This case arose from the facts where, under a compromise in a suit for maintenance filed by the appellant Tulasamma, against her deceased husband's brother, who was in a state of jointness in the ownership of properties with her husband at the time of husband's death, Tulasamma was allotted certain properties, but as per the written terms, she was to enjoy only a limited interest in it with no power of alienation at all. According to the terms of the compromise the properties were to revert to the brother after the death of Tulsamma. Subsequently Tulasamma continued to remain in possession of the properties even after coming into force of the HAS and after the HSA was enacted Tulsamma alienated her shares to some one else.
The alienation was challenged by the husband's brother on the ground that she had got a restricted estate only under the terms of the compromise and her interest could not be enlarged into an absolute interest by the provisions of the HSA in view of exception to Section 14 of the Act. In declining the challenge by the brother, the Supreme Court upheld the absolute right of Tulsamma. In fact the relevant observations in the judgment deserve to be extracted in extenso (sub para (1) of in para 62): “The Hindu female's right to maintenance is not an empty formality or an illusory claim being conceded as a matter of grace and generosity, but is a tangible right against property which flows from the spiritual relationship between the husband and the wife and is recognized and enjoined by pure Shastric Hindu Law and has been strongly stressed even by the earlier Hindu jurists starting from Yajnavalkya to Manu.
Such a right may not be a right to property but it is a right against property and the husband has a personal obligation to maintain his wife and if he or the family has property, the female has the legal right to be maintained there from. If a charge is created for the maintenance of a female. The said right becomes a legally enforceable one.
At any rate, even without a charge the claim for maintenance is doubtless a pre-existing right so that any transfer declaring or recognizing such a right does not confer any new title but merely endorses or confirms the pre-existing rights.” This principle has subsequently been reiterated and expanded in several later decisions. Observation- the right of widow to be maintained is of course not just in rem., it doesn't give her any interest in Join Family Property(JFP), but it is certainly jus ad rem, i.e. a right against JFP. Therefore, when specific property allotted to the widow in ‘lieu of her claim for maintenance', the allotment would be in satisfaction of her jus ad rem- the right to be maintained out of JFP. It would not be a grant for the first time, without any preexisting right in widow.
The instrument giving the property is merely a document effectuating a pre-existing right Thus J. Fazal Ali concluded, provisions of S. 14 must be liberally construed so as to advance the object of the Act, which is to enlarge the limited interest of widow. S. 14(2) doesn't refer to any transfer which merely recognizes a pre-existing right). S. (2) to S. 14 is merely a proviso to Ss. (1) of S. 14 and has to be interpreted as a proviso and not in manner so as to destroy the effect of main provision.
The explanation to S.s. (1) has expanded the notion of ownership and includes all types of property. The use of express terms like property acquired by a female at partition or in lieu of maintenance or arrears of maintenance in explanation to S.s. (1) clearly makes S.s. (2) inapplicable to these categories, which have been expressly excluded from operation of S. s. (2). The Act of 1956 has made revolutionary changes in The Hindu society and every attempt should be made to carry out the spirit of the Act, i.e. to emancipate women in India.
The court thus held that the widow is the absolute owner and the restrictions mentioned in the decree to be ignored.
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