Married woman’s heirs, from her parental side, are family and not strangers for succession under the Hindu Succession Act: SC

In a recent case, the Apex Court has ruled that when heirs of a female’s father are included as persons who can succeed under Hindu Succession Act, then the Court cannot rule that they are strangers and not members of a family in respect to females.

The Division Bench ruled that under Section 15(1)(d) of the Hindu Succession Act, heirs of Hindu males are covered under people entitled to an intestate succession of property of female Hindu.

This ruling came when a woman inherited a property after her husband passed away without any kids. Due to Section 14 of the Hindu Succession Act, she became the absolute owner of half the property’s share.

After a family settlement, she settled the land favouring her nephews (brother’s sons). Later, her brother’s sons filed a civil suit before sub-judge, Gurgaon seeking a decree as owners of land in question.

As Jagno did not contest the claim, the Court passed a consent decree favouring the petitioner(Jagno’s brother son).

However, her husband’s brother’s son disagreed with such a transfer. They challenged the transfer, but it was dismissed by the trial district and the High Court, so they filed an appeal in the Supreme Court.

They contended that a Hindu Window could not form a Joint Hindu Family with descendants from her parental side before the Court. They further argued that such a settlement could only occur between members who already have a right to such property.

After going through the facts of the case, the Court stated that as per Section 15(1)(d) of the Hindu Succession Act, heirs of Hindu females’ family were family and not strangers.

The Court held that as Jagno had only transferred ownership of the land, she was an absolute owner; there is no need for the Court’s interference.

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