IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis

Right by birth: On daughters and Hindu succession act  

14th August, 2020 Editorial


  • The latest decision of the Supreme Court on the right of Hindu daughters to ancestral property corrects an obvious anomaly in the interpretation of a crucial 2005 amendment to the Hindu Succession Act, 1956.
  • The verdict settles the question whether the coparcenary right of daughters comes into effect only if the father through whom they claim that right was alive on the day the amendment came into force.
  • The apex court has now categorically ruled that the daughters’ right flows from their birth and not by any other factor such as the existence of their fathers.
  • The court has rightly recognised that the amendment conferred equal status as a coparcener on daughters in Hindu families governed by Mitakshara law and this right accrued by birth.


Importance of the judgement:

  • First, it locates the origin of the coparcenary right in one’s birth.
  • Second, it finds that there is no necessity for a predecessor coparcener to be alive for one to acquire that status, as what is relevant is birth within the degrees of succession to which it extends.
  • The coparcenary status given to daughters has been a subject of reform in many States, particularly in south India.
  • Kerala had introduced legislation in 1975, Andhra Pradesh in 1986, Tamil Nadu in 1989 and Maharashtra and Karnataka in 1994.
  • The legislative aim was that a flagrant discrimination between sons and daughters in entitlement to an equal share in coparcenary property, that is property inherited from one’s father, grandfather or great-grandfather, should be done away with.