High Court Rebukes Central Government, Punjab, and Haryana for Not Responding to Property Inheritance Law Query

In a stern reprimand, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has castigated the state governments of Punjab and Haryana, along with the Central Government, for failing to respond to a plea challenging gender biases in the Hindu Succession Act. The court has given these authorities one final opportunity to submit their responses, warning that a fine of Rs. 5,000 will be imposed if they fail to do so by the next hearing.

The legal challenge was initiated by Daksh Kadiyan, a student at the National Law School, who filed a petition through Advocate Sarthak Gupta. The petition argues that the current provisions of the Hindu Succession Act favor men over women, which is in violation of constitutional protections against gender discrimination.

The act currently states that if a family head dies without leaving a will, male heirs are given preference. This preference applies primarily to direct descendants such as sons and daughters, including grandchildren. However, in the absence of first-tier heirs, male relatives are favored over females, thereby granting uncles precedence over aunts.

The third category of inheritance rights, which concerns the descendants of a son’s daughter, presents a rare instance where women are favored over men, allowing a son’s daughter’s daughter to inherit the entirety of the property while excluding the male counterpart.

Kadiyan’s petition highlights these inconsistencies as direct violations of constitutional provisions that guarantee equality, urging for a revision of the law to eliminate gender-based discrimination in property inheritance.

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