Daughter Inheritance Law And its Status in India

by  Adv. Rupa K.N  

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Daughter Inheritance Law

Introduction

  • Daughter Inheritance Law has changed drastically over the span of years. Initially, daughters were not entitled to inherit their father’s property, but after the decision of the Supreme Court Daughter Inheritance Law in India has taken a drastic change. 
  • Daughters have a right to inherit their fathers’ unwilled property, according to the Supreme Court of India. 
  • The Court has ruled that daughters have precedence under the new daughter inheritance law over other family members in the event that a Hindu male dies intestate and leaves behind both self-acquired property and other inherited property.

What is Inheritance?

Indian inheritance laws are sometimes referred to as succession rules. Regarding inheritance, there are two factors to consider:

The laws of inheritance apply to the following assets:

  • Property obtained by oneself and inherited property
  • Remember that Indian inheritance law is based on the rules of the individual who owns the property’s chosen religion.
  • A person who is entitled to inherit property interests, whether by a Will or through other legal procedures, is said to be a legal heir.

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What are Hindu Succession Laws?

The Arya Samaj, Jains, Sikhs, and Jains are subject to inheritance laws governed by the Hindu Succession Act. According to Hindu inheritance laws, beneficiaries are divided into four categories: Class I, Class II, Agnates, and Cognates. Nuclear families can also experience this, although HUFs (Hindu Undivided Families) experience it more commonly.

Upon the death of a Hindu male, the Class I heirs are entitled to equal shares. If there is no Class I heir, the preference is transferred to the Class II heirs. In the absence of any Class I and II heirs, the property is divided equally between the Agnates and the Cognates.

If the deceased owner who passed away intestate has no heirs who fall within the categories above, the property is determined to be in escheat, and the government establishes rights on it.

Hindu women’s property is divided equally upon death between their spouse and offspring. In the absence of a spouse and children, preference is given to the husband’s heirs. In terms of desire, her parents would be the next on the list. In the absence of her parents and the aforementioned beneficiaries, the property may be split among her father’s heirs, followed by her mother’s heirs.

Daughter Inheritance Law in India

The uneven rights of women have always been a concern in personal law. Because most personal laws are outdated and traditional, this is the case. They still need to be modified to take into account the current scenario.

A significant change to the Hindu Succession Act was made in 2005. Under the Daughter Inheritance Law, boys and daughters were given the same succession rights. Prior to 2005, sons and daughters did not enjoy the same benefits.

At that time, only unmarried daughters had the legal right to receive their father’s inherited property.

However, as of 2005, daughters now have the same rights as sons under the daughter inheritance law. It indicates that a daughter has the same claim to the property of her ancestors that a son has, whether or not she is married.

If the father has self-acquired or independent property and goes away, the daughter will be considered a Class I heir and will have the same rights as her mother, brother, sister, or grandmother without a will under the new daughter inheritance law.

On various occasions, the Hon’ble Court has encountered the issue of daughter inheritance law. Again in the year 2022, the Hon’ble Court held that “If a property of a male Hindu dying intestate is a self-acquired property or obtained in the partition of a coparcenary or family property, the same would devolve by inheritance and not by survivorship, and a daughter of such a male Hindu would be entitled to inherit such property in preference to other collaterals under the daughter inheritance law. 

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Way forward ahead, these decisions

The ruling will be praised for treating girls and boys equally in inheritance proceedings and for putting a stop to this age-old controversy in the future. Since the decision does not address the prospective or retroactive application of the law established, it will, on the one hand, act as a guide for all lower courts to make fair decisions on matters pertaining to daughters’ property rights under the daughter inheritance law and, on the other, open Pandora’s box for litigations arising from situations where daughters were not given a share in their father’s self-acquired property. To avoid further litigations relating to daughter inheritance law, you can draft your will online from ezyLegal expert property lawyers.

Other Daughter Inheritance Law recognized in India.

Apart from the Succession Law. The Code of Criminal Procedure also incorporates daughter inheritance law under it. According to Section 125 of the Criminal Procedure Act, maintenance of spouses, children, and parents includes the following: If someone, even while in a position to do so, chooses not to support the following:

  • a woman who is unable to take care of herself
  • does not care for young children, whether they have parental consent or not
  • Both parents are unable to take care of themselves.

The Indian Court may order the payment of a monthly allowance for the upkeep of dependents in such a case.

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Conclusion

It is obvious that a daughter was qualified to receive the father’s independent wealth. From the talks, it is evident that multiple female heirs have their rights recognized in ancient texts like the Smritis, commentaries made by notable scholars, and even judicial rulings, with wives and daughters topping the list.

“A widow or daughter has a right to inherit the self-acquired property or share received in the division of a coparcenary property of a Hindu male dying intestate, and this right is well recognized not only under the old customary Hindu Law also under the daughter inheritance law”.

It also stated that “if a male Hindu dying intestate’s property is a self-acquired property or obtained in the division of a coparcenary or a family property, but the same would also devolve by inheritance and not by survivorship. To learn more about the daughter inheritance law, get online lawyer consultation at your convenience. 

To know more about the daughter inheritance law, consult a Lawyer.

Adv. Rupa K.N

Adv. Rupa K.N

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Advocate Rupa K.N, with over 24 years of independent practice, specialises in providing legal expertise, advice and guidance to a broad range of customers. Having been practising law independently for several years after doing her B.A. LLB from Bangalore University and PGDM from the National Institute of Personnel Management.

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