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LAW COMMISSION  OF INDIA
 
174TH REPORT
 
ON
 

“Property Rights of Women:

Proposed Reforms under the Hindu Law”.

 

MAY, 2000

 

 

 

D.O. No.6(3)(59)/99-LC(LS)

May 5, 2000

 

 

Dear Shri Jethmalaniji,

 

          I am forwarding herewith the 174th Report on “Property Rights of Women: Proposed Reforms under the Hindu Law”.

 

2.       In pursuance of its terms of reference, which inter alia, oblige and empower the Commission to make recommendations for the removal of anomalies, ambiguities and inequalities in the law, the Commission undertook a study of certain provisions regarding the property rights of Hindu women under the Hindu Succession Act, 1956.  The Commission had taken up the aforesaid subject suo motu in view of the pervasive discrimination prevalent against women in relation to laws governing the inheritance/succession of property amongst the members of a joint Hindu family.   

 

3.       Social justice demands that a woman should be treated equally both in the economic and the social sphere.  The exclusion of daughters from participating in coparcenery property ownership merely by reason of their sex is unjust.  The Commission has also taken into consideration the changes carried out by way of State enactments in the concept of Mitakshara coparcenery property in the five States in India, namely, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka. The Commission feels that further reform of the Mitakshara Law of Coparcenery is needed to provide equal distribution of property both to men and women. The recommendations contained in the Report are aimed at suggesting changes in the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 so that women get an equal share in the ancestral property.   

 

4.       With a view to giving effect to the recommendations, a Bill entitled “Hindu Succession (Amendment) Bill, 2000”  is annexed with the Report as Appendix ‘A’.


5.       We hope that the recommendations in this Report will go a long way in attaining the objectives set out above.

 

          With warm regards,

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

(B.P. Jeevan Reddy)

Shri Ram Jethmalani,

Minister for Law, Justice & Co. Affairs,

Shastri Bhavan,

New Delhi

 

 

                          TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

Sl. No
                   CONTENTS
 1.
CHAPTER -I                                    
(INTRODUCTION)
 2.
CHAPTER -II                                   
(SECTION 6 OF THE HINDU SUCCESSION ACT - A STUDY)
 3.
CHAPTER -III                                  
(COPARCENARY:  RELEVANCE AND ALTERNATIVES)
 4.
CHAPTER -IV                                   
(QUESTIONNAIRE AND ITS RESPONSES)
 5.
CHAPTER -V                                    
(CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS)
 6.
APPENDIX - A                                    (THE HINDU SUCCESSION (AMENDEMENT) BILL, 2000)
 7.
ANNEXURE - I           
(QUESTIONNAIRE - LAW COMMISSION OF INDIA)
 8.
ANNEXURE - II                                 
(ANALYSIS OF THE QUESTIONNAIRE OF THE LAW COMMISSION)
 9.
ANNEXURE - III                                
(WORKING PAPER ON COPARCENARY RIGHTS TO DAUGHTERS UNDER THE HINDU LAW)
10.
ANNEXURE - IV                                 
THE KERALA JOINT HINDU FAMILY SYSTEM 
(ABOLITION) ACT, 1975 
 
THE HINDU SUCCESSION (ANDHRA PRADESH AMENDMENT) ACT, 1986
 
THE HINDU SUCCESSION (TAMIL NADU AMENDMENT) ACT, 1989
        
THE HINDU SUCCESSION (KARNATAKA AMENDMENT) ACT, 1994
        
THE HINDU SUCCESSION (MAHARASHTRA AMENDMENT) ACT, 1994
 
 
 
 
CHAPTER  - I
 
INTRODUCTION
 
         1.1   SCOPE
 
              Discrimination against women              is  so         pervasive
         that  it sometimes surfaces on a bare perusal of the law
         made by the legislature itself.  This is particularly so
         in relation to laws governing the inheritance/succession
         of property amongst the members of a Joint Hindu family.
         It  seems  that  this  discrimination  is  so  deep  and
         systematic  that  it  has  placed women at the receiving
         end.  Recognizing this the Law Commission  in  pursuance
         of its terms of reference, which, inter-alia, oblige and
         empower  it  to  make recommendations for the removal of
         anomalies, ambiguities  and  inequalities  in  the  law,
         decided  to  undertake  a  study  of  certain provisions
         regarding the property rights of Hindu women  under  the
         Hindu Succession  Act,  1956.    The  study  is aimed at
         suggesting changes to this Act  so  that  women  get  an
         equal share in the ancestral property.
 
         1.2 Issuing   of   Questionnaire   and  holding  of
             Workshop
 
                  Before any amendment in the  law  is  suggested
         with  a  view  to  reform the existing law, it is proper
         that opinion is elicited by way of placing the  proposed
         amendments  before  the public and obtaining their views
         and if  possible  by  holding  workshops   etc.      The
         Commission  thus  decided  to  have  the widest possible
         interaction with a cross section  of  society  including
         judges,      lawyers,     scholars,     Non-governmental
         Organizations (NGO'S) etc.  by issuing a  questionnaire.
         Their  views  were  also  elicited  on  several  of  the
         provisions  introduced  by  certain  State  Legislatures
         regarding  the  property rights of Hindu women which had
         been brought about by way of an amendment to  the  Hindu
         Succession Act,  1956.    The  main  focus/thrust of the
         questionnaire (annexed as  Annexure  I)  was  to  elicit
         views on three issues namely:-
 
               i) granting  daughters  coparcenary  rights in the
                  ancestral property; or to totally  abolish  the
                  right by birth given only to male members;
 
               ii) allowing  daughters  full right of residence in
                  their parental dwelling house; and
 
               iii) restricting the power of a person  to  bequeath
                  property  by  way  of  testamentary disposition
                  extending  to  one-half  or  one-third  of  the
                  property.
 
         1.2.1 The Commission received replies in response  to
         the questionnaire.  These replies have been analysed and
         tabulated and this is annexed as Annexure II.
 
         1.2.2. Aiming at a wider and more intense  interaction
         the  Law  Commission  in collaboration with the ILS, Law
         College and Vaikunthrao Dempo Trust of Goa, organised  a
         two  day  workshop  on  "Property  Rights of Hindu Women
         proposed Reforms" in Pune on 28-29  August,  1999.    At
         this  Workshop  the  Chairman  and  members  of  the Law
         Commission  held  detailed  discussions   with   eminent
         lawyers and NGO'S and teachers of ILS Law College, Pune.
         A Working Paper on Coparcenary Rights to Daughters Under
         Hindu Law  along with a draft bill was circulated.  This
         is annexed as Annexure-III.
 
         1.2.3 The Law Commission has carefully considered all
         the  replies  and the discussion at the workshop at Pune
         before formulating  its  recommendations  to  amend  the
         Hindu  Succession  Act,  1956  with a view to giving the
         Hindu women, an equal right to succeed to the  ancestral
         property.
         
          1.3 The Background
                       Since  time  immemorial  the  framing  of   all
         property  laws  have been exclusively for the benefit of
         man, and woman has  been  treated  as  subservient,  and
         dependent on  male  support.    The right to property is
         important for the freedom and  development  of  a  human
         being.   Prior  to the Act of 1956, Hindus were governed
         by Shastric and Customary laws which varied from  region
         to  region and sometimes it varied in the same region on
         a caste  basis.     As   the   country   is   vast   and
         communications  and social interactions in the past were
         difficult,  it  led  to  a   diversity   in   the   law.
         Consequently  in  matters of succession also, there were
         different schools, like  Dayabhaga  in  Bengal  and  the
         adjoining  areas;  Mayukha in Bombay, Konkan and Gujarat
         and Marumakkattayam or Nambudri in Kerala and Mitakshara
         in other parts of India with  slight  variations.    The
         multiplicity  of  succession  laws  in India, diverse in
         their nature, owing to  their  varied  origin  made  the
         property laws even mere complex.
 
         1.3.1. A woman in a  joint  Hindu  family,  consisting
         both  of  man  and woman, had a right to sustenance, but
         the control and ownership of property did  not  vest  in
         her.   In  a  patrilineal  system,  like  the Mitakshara
         school of Hindu law, a woman,  was  not  given  a  birth
         right in the family property like a son.
 
         1.3.2 Under  the  Mitakshara  law,  on birth, the son
         acquires a right and interest in  the  family  property.
         According  to  this  school, a son, grandson and a great
         grandson constitute a class  of  coparcenars,  based  on
         birth in  the  family.    No  female  is a member of the
         coparcenary in Mitakshara law.    Under  the  Mitakshara
         system,  joint  family property devolves by survivorship
         within the coparcenary.   This  means  that  with  every
         birth  or  death  of  a male in the family, the share of
         every other surviving male  either  gets  diminished  or
         enlarged.  If a coparcenary consists of a father and his
         two sons,  each would own one third of the property.  If
         another son is born in  the  family,  automatically  the
         share of each male is reduced to one fourth.
 
         1.3.3 The Mitakshara law also recognises  inheritance
         by  succession but only to the property separately owned
         by an individual, male or female.  Females are  included
         as  heirs  to  this  kind of property by Mitakshara law.
         Before the Hindu  Law  of  Inheritance  (Amendment)  Act
         1929,  the  Bengal,  Benares  and Mithila sub schools of
         Mitakshara recognised  only  five  female  relations  as
         being  entitled  to  inherit  namely  - widow, daughter,
         mother paternal grandmother,  and  paternal  great-grand
         mother.1  The Madras sub-school recognised the heritable
         capacity of a larger number of females heirs that is  of
         the  son's daughter, daughter's daughter and the sister,
         as heirs who are expressly named as heirs in  Hindu  Law
         of Inheritance (Amendment) Act,1929.2 The son's daughter
         and  the daughter's daughter ranked as bandhus in Bombay
         and Madras.  The Bombay school which is most liberal  to
         women,  recognised  a  nunmber  of  other  female heirs,
         including a  half  sister,  father's  sister  and  women
         married into the family such as stepmother, son's widow,
         brother's  widow  and also many other females classified
         as bandhus.
 
         1.3.4 The Dayabhaga school neither accords a right by
         birth nor by survivorship  though  a  joint  family  and
         joint property  is  recognised.    It lays down only one
         mode of succession and the  same  rules  of  inheritance
         apply  whether  the  family  is divided or undivided and
         whether the  property  is  ancestral  or  self-acquired.
         Neither  sons  nor daughters become coparceners at birth
         nor do they have rights in the  family  property  during
         their father's  life  time.  However, on his death, they
         inherit as tenants-in-common.  It is a  notable  feature
         of  the  Dayabhaga  School  that  the daughters also get
         equal shares  alongwith  their  brothers.    Since  this
         ownership  arises only on the extinction of the father's
         ownership  none  of  them  can  compel  the  father   to
         partition the property in his lifetime and the latter is
         free to give or sell the property without their consent.
         Therefore,  under  the  Dayabhaga law, succession rather
         than survivorship is the rule.  If one of the male heirs
         dies, his heirs, including females such as his wife  and
         daughter would become members of the joint property, not
         in their own right, but representing him.  Since females
         could be coparceners, they could also act as kartas, and
         manage  the  property  on behalf of the other members in
         the Dayabhaga School.
 
         1.3.5 In  the Marumakkattayam law, which prevailed in
         Kerala  wherein  the  family  was  joint,  a   household
         consisted  of  the  mother  and  her children with joint
         rights in property.  The lineage was traced through  the
         female line.   Daughters and their children were thus an
         integral part of  the  household  and  of  the  property
         ownership as the family was matrilineal.
 
         1.4   However, during the British regime, the country
         became politically  and  socially  integrated,  but  the
         British Government did not venture to interfere with the
         personal laws of Hindus or of other communities.  During
         this period, however, social reform movements raised the
         issue   of  amelioration  of  the  woman's  position  in
         society.  The earliest legislation bringing females into
         the  scheme  of  inheritance  is  the   Hindu   Law   of
         Inheritance Act,  1929.  This Act, conferred inheritance
         rights on three  female  heirs  i.e.    son's  daughter,
         daughter's  daughter  and  sister  (thereby  creating  a
         limited  restriction  on  the  rule  of   survivorship).
         Another landmark legislation conferring ownership rights
         on  woman  was  the  Hindu Women's Right to Property Act
         (XVIII of ) 1937.  This Act brought about  revolutionary
         changes  in  the  Hindu  Law of all schools, and brought
         changes not only in the law of coparcenary but  also  in
         the   law   of   partition,   alienation   of  property,
         inheritance and adoption.3
 
         1.4.1 The Act of 1937 enabled the  widow  to  succeed
         along  with the son and to take a share equal to that of
         the son.  But, the widow did  not  become  a  coparcener
         even  though she possessed a right akin to a coparcenary
         interest in the property and was a member of  the  joint
         family.  The widow was entitled only to a limited estate
         in  the  property  of the deceased with a right to claim
         partition.4 A  daughter  had  virtually  no  inheritance
         rights.    Despite   these   enactments  having  brought
         important changes in the law of succession by conferring
         new rights of succession on certain females, these  were
         still  found  to  be  incoherent  and  defective in many
         respects and gave rise to a number of anomalies and left
         untouched the basic features of  discrimination  against
         women.  These enactments now stand repealed.
 
         1.5   The  framers  of  the  Indian Constitution took
         note of the adverse and discrimnatory position of  women
         in  society  and  took  special  care to ensure that the
         State took positive steps  to  give  her  equal  status.
         Articles 14, 15(2) and (3) and 16 of the Constitution of
         India,  thus  not  only  inhibit  discrimination against
         women but in appropriate circumstances  provide  a  free
         hand  to  the State to provide protective discrimination
         in favour of women.  These provisions are  part  of  the
         Fundamental Rights guaranteed by the Constitution.  Part
         IV of the Constitution contains the Directive Principles
         which  are  no less fundamental in the governance of the
         State and inter-alia also provide that the  State  shall
         endeavour  to  ensure  equality  between  man and woman.
         Notwithstanding    these    constitutional     mandates/
         directives  given  more than fifty years ago, a woman is
         still neglected in her own natal family as  well  as  in
         the family she marries into because of blatant disregard
         and unjustified violation of these provisions by some of
         the personal laws.
 
         1.5.1 Pandit   Jawaharlal   Nehru,   the  then  Prime
         Minister of India expressed his  unequivocal  commitment
         to  carry  out  reforms  to  remove  the disparities and
         disabilities suffered by Hindu women.  As a consequence,
         despite the resistance of the orthodox  section  of  the
         Hindus,  the  Hindu Succession Act, 1956 was enacted and
         came into force on 17th June, 1956.  It applies  to  all
         the Hindus  including  Buddhists,  Jains  and Sikhs.  It
         lays  down  a  uniform  and  comprehensive   system   of
         inheritance  and  applies  to those governed both by the
         Mitakshara and the Dayabahaga Schools and also to  those
         in  South  India  governed  by  the the Murumakkattayam,
         Aliyasantana, Nambudri and other systems of  Hindu  Law.
         Many  changes  were  brought  about giving women greater
         rights, yet in section 6 the Mitakshara Coparcenary  was
         retained.
 
         1.6   The  Law  Commission  is  concerned  with   the
         discrimination  inherent  in  the Mitakshara coparcenary
         under Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, as it  only
         consists of male members.  The Commission in this regard
         ascertained the opinion of a cross section of society in
         order  to  find  out, whether the Mitakshara coparcenary
         should be retained as provided in section 6 of the Hindu
         Succession Act, 1956, or  in  an  altered  form,  or  it
         should be  totally abolished.  The Commission's main aim
         is to end gender discrimination  which  is  apparent  in
         section   6   of   the  Hindu  Succession  Act,1956,  by
         suggesting   appropriate   amendments   to   the    Act.
         Accordingly, in the next two chapters of this report the
         Commission  has  made  a broad study of section 6 of the
         Hindu Succession Act, 1956,  and  the  Hindu  Succession
         State(Amendment)  Acts  of  Andhra Pradesh (1986), Tamil
         Nadu(1989), Maharashtra(1994)  and  Karnataka(1994)  and
         the  Kerala  Joint  Family System (Abolition) Act, 1975.
         The Acts are annexed collectively as Annexure IV.
 
          Foot notes
 
 
 
         1.     Mulla, Principles of Hindu Law (1998 17th ed by
                  S.A.  Desai), p.  168.
 
         2.            Ibid.
 
         3.     Mayne's,  Treatise  on Hindu Law & Usage, (1996
                  14th Edition,  ed.    by   Alladi   Kuppuswami)
                  p.1065.
 
         4.     M.  Indira Devi, "Woman's  Assertion  of  Legal
                  Rights to Ownership of property" in Women & Law
                  Contemporary Problems, (1994 ed.  by L.  Sarkar
                  & B.    Sivaramayya) at p.174; also see section
                  3(3) of Hindu Women's Right  to  Property  Act,
                  1937.
 
                                                             
                                                           
CHAPTER II                                            
 
SECTION 6 OF THE HINDU SUCCESSION ACT - A STUDY         
 
         2.1           The    Hindu    Succession    Act,    1956
         (hereinafter referred as the HSA) dealing with intestate
         succession  among  Hindus  came into force on 17th June,
         1956.  This Act brought about  changes  in  the  law  of
         succession  and gave rights which were hitherto unknown,
         in relation to a woman's property.  However, it did  not
         interfere  with  the  special  rights  of  those who are
         members of a Mitakshara coparcenary  except  to  provide
         rules  for  devolution  of the interest of a deceased in
         certain cases.    The  Act  lays  down  a  uniform   and
         comprehensive   system   of   inheritance  and  applies,
         inter-alia,  to  persons  governed  by  Mitakshara   and
         Dayabhaga  Schools  as also to those in certain parts of
         southern India  who  were  previously  governed  by  the
         Murumakkattayam, Aliyasantana and Nambudri Systems.  The
         Act  applies to any person who is a Hindu by religion in
         any of its forms or develpments including a  Virashaiva,
         a Lingayat or a follower of the Brahmo Prarthana or Arya
         Samaj; or to any person who is Buddhist, Jain or Sikh by
         religion;  to  any  other  person  who  is not a Muslim,
         Christian, Parsi or Jew by religion as  per  section  2.
         In  the case of a testamentary disposition this Act does
         not apply and the interest of the deceased  is  governed
         by the Indian Succesion Act, 1925.
 
         2.2   Section 4 of the Act is of importance and gives
         overriding   effect   to   the  provisions  of  the  Act
         abrogating  thereby  all  the  rules  of  the   Law   of
         succession  hitherto  applicable  to  Hindus  whether by
         virtue of any text or rule of Hindu law or any custom or
         usage having the  force  of  laws,  in  respect  of  all
         matters dealt  with  in  the  Act.  The HSA reformed the
         Hindu personal law and gave  a  woman  greater  property
         rights,  allowing  her  full ownership rights instead of
         limited  rights  in  the  property  she  inherits  under
         Section 14 with a fresh stock of heirs under sections 15
         and 16  of  the  Act.    The daughters were also granted
         property rights in their father's estate.  In the matter
         of succession to the property  of  a  Hindu  male  dying
         intestate,  the  Act lays down a set of general rules in
         Sections 8 to 13.
 
         2.3 DEVOLUTION OF INTEREST IN COPARCENARY PROPERTY
 
                       Section 6 of the HSA dealing with devolution of
         interest to coparcenary property states-
 
                "When a male Hindu dies after the  commencement
                  of this Act, having at the time of his death an
                  interest  in a Mitakshara coparcenary property,
                  his interest in the property shall  devolve  by
                  survivorship  upon the surviving members of the
                  coparcenary and not  in  accordance  with  this
                  Act:
 
                  Provided  that,  if  the  deceased had left him
                  surviving a female relative specified in  Class
                  I  of the Schedule or a male relative specified
                  in that class who claims  through  such  female
                  relative,  the  interest of the deceased in the
                  Mitakshara Coparcenary property  shall  devlove
                  by testamentary or intestate succession, as the
                  case   may  be,  under  this  Act  and  not  by
                  survivorship.
 
                  Explanation  1.-  For  the  purposes  of   this
                  section,  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,
                  irrespective of  whether  he  was  entitled  to
                  claim partition or not.
 
                  Explanation   2,--  Nothing  contained  in  the
                  proviso to his section shall  be  construed  as
                  enabling  a  person  who  has separated himself
                  from the coparcenary before the  death  of  the
                  deceased  or  any  of  his  heirs  to  claim on
                  intestacy a share in the interest  referred  to
                  therein.
 
         2.3.1 Before  the  commencement of the HSA, codifying
         the rules of succession, the concept of a  Hindu  family
         under   Mitakshara   school  of  law  was  that  it  was
         ordinarily joint not only in  estate  but  in  religious
         matters as    well.        Coparcenary    property,   in
         contradistinction with the absolute or separate property
         of an individual  coparcenar,  devolved  upon  surviving
         coparceners  in  the  family,  according  to the rule of
         devolution by survivorship.
 
         2.3.2         Section 6 dealing with the  devolution  of
         the interest of a male Hindu in coparcenary property and
         while recognising the rule of devolution by survivorship
         among the members of the coparcenary, makes an exception
         to the  rule  in the proviso.  According to the proviso,
         if the deceased has left him surviving a female relative
         specified in Class I of Schedule I, or a  male  relative
         specified  in  that Class who claims through such female
         relative, the interest of the deceased in the Mitakshara
         coparcenary property shall devolve  by  testamentary  or
         intestate   succession   under   this  Act  and  not  by
         survivorship.  Further, under section  30  a  coparcener
         may  make  a  testamentary  disposition of his undivided
         interest in the Joint family property.
 
         2.3.3 The  rule  of survivorship comes into operation
         only:-  (1)  where  the  deceased  does  not  leave  him
         surviving  a  female relative specified in Class I, or a
         male relative specified in that Class who claims through
         such female relative and , (ii) when  the  deceased  has
         not  made  a  testamentary  disposition of his undivided
         share in the coparcenary property.  The Schedule to  the
         Act  read  with  Section 8 provides the following twelve
         relations as Class I heirs son; daughter; widow; mother;
         son of a pre-deceased son; daughter  of  a  pre-deceased
         son;   son  of  pre-deceased  daughter;  daughter  of  a
         pre-deceased daughter, widow of a pre-deceased son;  son
         of  pre-deceased  son of a pre-deceased son; daughter of
         pre-deceased  son  of  a  pre-deceased  son;  widow   of
         pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased son.
 
         2.3.4 Section  6  contemplates   the   existence   of
         coparcenary  property  and  more than one coparcener for
         the  application  of   the   rule   of   devolution   by
         survivorship.   The  head  note  of  the  section  reads
         "Devolution of interest in coparcenary property".    The
         language  of  the main provision to the effect that "his
         interest in the property shall devolve  by  survivorship
         upon   the   surviving   members"   indicates  that  the
         devolution by survivorship  is  with  reference  to  the
         deceased  coparcener's interest alone; this coupled with
         the notional partition contemplated in Explanation 1  in
         this  section  for  the ascertainment of the interest of
         the deceased  coparcener  in  a  Mitakshara  coparcenary
         property  indicates  that  there is no disruption of the
         entire coparcenary.    It   follows   that   the   other
         coparceners,  would  continue  to be joint in respect of
         the other  coparcenary  property  till  a  partition  is
         effected.
 
         2.3.5 It  has already been pointed out above that the
         main provision of this section deals with the devolution
         of the interest of a coparcener dying intestate  by  the
         rule  of  survivorship  and  the  proviso  speaks of the
         interest of the deceased in the  Mitakshara  Coparcenary
         Property.   Now,  in  order  to  ascertain  what  is the
         interest of the  deceased  coparcener,  one  necessarily
         needs  to  keep  in  mind the two Explanations under the
         proviso.  These  two  Explanations  give  the  necessary
         assistance for ascertaining the interest of the deceased
         coparcener   in  the  Mitakshara  Coparcenary  Property.
         Explanation I provides for ascertaining the interest  on
         the  basis of a notional partition by applying a fiction
         as  if  the partition had taken place immediately before
         the death of the deceased coparcener.    Explanation  II
         lays  down  that a person who has separated himself from
         the coparcenary before the death of the deceased or  any
         of  the heirs of such divided coparcener is not entitled
         to claim on intestacy a share in the  interest  referred
         to in the section.
 
         2.3.6 Under the proviso if a female relative in class
         I of the schedule or  a  male  relative  in  that  class
         claiming  through  such  female  relative  survives  the
         deceased, then only would the question of  claiming  his
         interest by  succession arise.  Explanation I to section
         6 was interpreted differently  by  the  High  Courts  of
         Bombay,  Delhi,  Orissa  and Gujarat in the cases1 where
         the female relative happened to be a wife or the  mother
         living at  the  time of the death of the coparcener.  It
         is now not necessary  to  discuss  this  matter  as  the
         controversy has been finally set at rest by the decision
         of the  Supreme  Court  in 1978 in Gurupad v.  Heerabai2
         and reiterated later in 1994 in Shyama Devi  v.    Manju
         Shukla3  wherein  it  has  been held that the proviso to
         section 6 gives the formula for fixing the share of  the
         claimant and the share is to be determined in accordance
         with Explanation I by deeming that a partition had taken
         place a little before his death which gives the clue for
         arriving at the share of the deceased.
 
         2.3.7 The Supreme Court in Gurupad's case observed:
 
                       "In  order  to  ascertain the share of heirs in
         the property of a deceased coparcener it is necessary in
         the very nature of things, and as the very  first  step,
         to   ascertain   the   share  of  the  deceased  in  the
         coparcenary property.  For, by doing that alone one  can
         determine   the   extent   of   the   claimant's  share.
         Explanation I  to  Section  6  resorts  to  the  simple,
         expedient,  undoubtedly  a fictional partition, 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 that property had
         taken place immediately before  his  death.    What  is,
         therefore required to be assumed is that a partition had
         in fact taken place between the deceased and coparceners
         immediately before his death.  That assumption once made
         is irrevocable.    In other words, the assumption having
         been made once for the purpose of ascertaining the share
         of the deceased in the coparcenary property  one  cannot
         go  back  on  that assumption and ascertain the share of
         the heirs without  reference  to  it........    All  the
         consequences  which  flow from real partition have to be
         logically worked out, which means that the share of  the
         heirs  must  be  ascertained  on the basis that they had
         separated from one another and had received a  share  in
         the  partition which had taken place during the lifetime
         of the deceased.  The allotment of this share is  not  a
         processual  step  devised  merely  for  the  purpose  of
         working out some other conclusion.  It has to be treated
         and accepted  as  a  concrete  reality,  something  that
         cannot  be  recalled  just  as  a  share  allotted  to a
         coparcener in an actual partition  cannot  generally  be
         recalled.   The inevitable corollary of this position is
         that the heir will get his or her share in the  interest
         which  the  deceased  had in the coparcenary property at
         the time of his death, in addition to the share which he
         or she received or must be deemed to  have  received  in
         the notional partition."4
 
         2.3.8 Again in State of Maharashtra V.  Narayan  Rao5
         the  Supreme  Court carefully considered the decision in
         Gurupad's case and pointed out that "Gurupad's case  has
         to  be  treated  as an authority (only) for the position
         that when a female member who inherits  an  interest  in
         joint family property under section 6 of the Act files a
         suit  for partition expressing her willingness to go out
         of the family she would be entitled to both the interest
         she has inherited and the share which  would  have  been
         notionally  allotted  to her, as stated in Explanation I
         to section 6 of the Act.  But it cannot be an  authority
         for  the  proposition  that she ceases to be a member of
         the family on the death of a male member of  the  family
         whose interest in the family property devolves on her
         without  the  volition  to  separate  herself  from  the
         family.  A legal fiction should no doubt  ordinarily  be
         carried to its logical end to carry out the purposes for
         which  it  is  enacted  but  it cannot be carried beyond
         that.  It is no doubt true that the right  of  a  female
         heir  to  the  interest  inherited  by her in the family
         property gets fixed on the date of the death of  a  male
         member  under  section  6  of  the Act but she cannot be
         treated as having ceased to be a member  of  the  family
         without  her  volition  as  otherwise  it  will  lead to
         strange  results  which  could  not  have  been  in  the
         contemplation   of   Parliament  when  it  enacted  that
         provision and which might also not be in the interest of
         such females."
 
         2.4 Inequalities and Anomalies Discriminating Women
 
                  Despite the Constitution guaranteeing  equality
         to women, there are still many discriminatory aspects in
         the Hindu  law in the sphere of property rights.  In our
         society maltreatment of a woman in her husband's family,
         e.g.  for failing to respond to a demand of dowry, often
         results in her death.  But the tragedy is that there  is
         discriminatory  treatment  given  to  her  even  by  the
         members of her own natal family.
 
         2.4.1 In the Hindu  system,  ancestral  property  has
         traditionally   been   held  by  a  joint  Hindu  family
         consisting of male coparceners.  Coparcenary as seen and
         discussed earlier in the present work is a narrower body
         of persons within a joint family and consists of father,
         son, son's son and son's son's son.  A  coparcenary  can
         also be of a grandfather and a grandson, or of brothers,
         or an  uncle  and  nephew  and  so  on.   Thus ancestral
         property  continues  to  be   governed   by   a   wholly
         partrilineal  regime,  wherein  property  descends  only
         through the male line as only  the  male  members  of  a
         joint  Hindu  family  have  an  interest by birth in the
         joint or coparcenary property.  Since a woman could  not
         be  a coparcener, she was not entitled to a share in the
         ancestral property by birth.    A  son's  share  in  the
         property  in  case the father dies intestate would be in
         addition to the share he has on birth.
 
         2.5           Again,  the  patrilineal  assumptions of a
         dominant male ideology is clearly reflected in the  laws
         governing a Hindu female who dies intestate.  The law in
         her  case  in  markedly  different  from those governing
         Hindu males.  The property is to devolve  first  to  her
         children and husband:  secondly, to her husband's heirs;
         thirdly  to  her  father's  heirs,  and  lastly,  to her
         mother's heirs.6 The provision of section 15(2)  of  HSA
         is  indicative  again  of  a tilt towards the male as it
         provides that any property she inherited from her father
         or  mother  should  devolve,  in  the  absence  of   any
         children,  to  her  father's  heirs  and  similarly, any
         property   she   inherited   from   her    husband    or
         father-in-law, to her husband's heirs.  These provisions
         depict  that  property continues to be inherited through
         the male line from which it  came  either  back  to  her
         father's family or back to her husband's family.
 
         2.6   The  question  is whether, the Hindu Succession
         Act actually gave women an equal right  to  property  or
         did it  only  profess  to  do  so?    Significantly, the
         provisions regarding succession in the Hindu Code  Bill,
         as  originally  framed  by  the  B.N.Rau  Committee  and
         piloted  by  Dr.Ambedkar,   was   for   abolishing   the
         Mitakshara  coparcenary with its concept of survivorship
         and the son's right by birth in a joint family  property
         and substituting it with the principle of inheritance by
         succession.    These  proposals  met  with  a  storm  of
         conservative opposition.    The  extent  of   opposition
         within the Congress or the then government itself can be
         gauged   from  the  fact  that  the  then  Law  Minister
         Mr.Biswas, on the floor of the house, expressed  himself
         against  daughters  inheriting property from their natal
         families.  Sita  Ram  S.    Jajoo  from  Madhya  Bharat,
         identified  the  reason  for  the resistance accurately,
         when he stated:  "Here we  feel  the  pinch  because  it
         touches our  pockets.  We male members of this house are
         in a huge majority.  I do not wish that the  tyranny  of
         the  majority may be imposed on the minority, the female
         members of this house."7 However,  the  tyranny  of  the
         majority  prevailed  when the Bill was finally passed in
         1956.  The major changes brought were:-
               (1) Retention of the  Mitakshara  coparcenary  with
                  only males as coparceners;
               (2) Coparcener's right to will away his interest in
                  the joint family property.  (This provision was
                  unexpectedly  introduced by an amendment by the
                  then Law Minister Mr.  Pataskar  in  the  final
                  stages  of the clause-by-clause debate when the
                  bill was to be passed, in 1956.  It was  widely
                  perceived   and   pro-claimed,   even   in  the
                  contemporary press, to  be  a  capitulation  by
                  government.);
               (3) Removal  of  exemption  of  Marumakkattayam and
                  Aliyasantana  communities;  that  is,   virtual
                  destruction  of the only systems in which women
                  were the equivalent of full coparceners; and
               (4) Alteration  of  original   provision   that   a
                  daughter  would  get a share equivalent to half
                  the share of a son in self-acquired property of
                  the father  who  died  intestate.8  The  Select
                  Committee  decided  to  make her share full and
                  equal to that of a son.
         2.7   When Dr.Ambedkar was questioned as to how  this
         happened in the Select Committee he said:  "It was not a
         compromise.   My  enemies  combined with my enthusiastic
         supporters and my enemies thought that they  might  damn
         the Bill by making it appear worse than it was.9
 
         2.8   The retention  of  the  Mitakshara  coparcenary
         without  including  females in it meant that females can
         not inherit ancestral property as males do.  If a  joint
         family  gets  divided,  each  male  coparcener takes his
         share and females get nothing.  Only  when  one  of  the
         coparceners  dies, a female gets a share of his share as
         an heir to the deceased.  Thus the law by excluding  the
         daughters  from  participating  in coparcenary ownership
         (merely by reason of their sex) not only contributed  to
         an  inequity  against  females but has led to oppression
         and negation of their right to equality and  appears  to
         be a mockery of the fundamental rights guaranteed by the
         Constitution.
 
         2.9   Another  apparent  inequity  under  the   Hindu
         Succession  Act  as  per  Section  23,  is the provision
         denying a married daughter the right to residence in the
         parental home unless widowed, deserted or separated from
         her husband and further denying any daughter  the  right
         to  demand  her  share  in the house if occupied by male
         family members.  This right is not denied to a son.  The
         main object of the section is said to be the primacy  of
         the  rights  of the family against that of an individual
         by imposing a restriction on partition.  Why is it  that
         this  right  of  primacy of family is considered only in
         the case of a female member of the family?
 
         2.10  The  National  report on the Status of Women in
         India recommended that this discrimination in asking for
         a partition be removed so that a daughter enjoys a right
         similar to that of a son.10
 
         2.11  However,  the  Supreme  Court  by  its   recent
         judgment in Narashimaha Murthy  v.    Sushilabai11  held
         that  a  female  heir's  right to claim partition of the
         dwelling house of a Hindu dying intestate under  section
         23  of  the  HSA  will  be  deferred or kept in abeyance
         during the lifetime of even a sole surviving  male  heir
         of  the  deceased until he chooses to separate his share
         or ceases to occupy it or lets it out.  The idea of this
         section  being  to   prevent   the   fragmentation   and
         disintegration  of the dwelling house at the instance of
         the female heirs to the detriment of the male  heirs  in
         occupation of  the  house.  thus rendering the male heir
         homeless/shelterless.
 
         2.12  A  similar  instance of inequity created by law
         was the establishment of the  new  right  to  will  away
         property.   The  Act gave a weapon to a man to deprive a
         woman of  the  rights  she  earlier  had  under  certain
         schools of  Hindu  Law.    The  legal right of Hindus to
         bequeath property by way of will was  conferred  by  the
         Indian Succession  Act,  1925.    None of the clauses of
         1925 Act, apply to Hindus except wills.
 
         2.13  A rule firmly established before HSA was that a
         Hindu cannot by will bequeath property, which  he  could
         not have  alienated  by gift inter- vivos.  A coparcener
         under Dayabhaga law, however, could by gift  dispose  of
         the   whole   of   his  property  whether  ancestral  or
         self-acquired, subject to the claims of  those  entitled
         to be  maintained  by  him.  However, a coparcener under
         Mitakshara  law  had  no  power  to   dispose   of   his
         coparcenary  interest by gift or bequest so as to defeat
         the right of the other members.  The coparcenary  system
         even  restricted  the  rights  of  the Karta to alienate
         property, thereby safeguarding the rights of all members
         of the family including infants and  children  to  being
         maintained from the joint family property.
 
         2.14  Although  many  powers were vested in the karta
         or  male  head  of  the  family,  who  was  supposed  to
         administer the property in the interests of all members,
         yet  decisions regarding disposal of the family property
         were to be taken collectively.  Each male had  an  equal
         share in the property, but the expenditure was not to be
         apportioned only  to  males  but  also  to females.  The
         right to will away property was traditionally unknown to
         Hindus.  It was introduced into the statute by virtue of
         section 30 of the HSA.  According to  the  said  section
         any  Hindu  may dispose of by will or other testamentary
         disposition any property capable  of  disposition  (this
         includes   his   undivided   interest  in  a  Mitakshara
         coparcenary  property  as  per   the   Explanation)   in
         accordance  with the provisions of the Indian Succession
         Act, 1925.  This is ironical as this testamentary  right
         right of his daughter by succession.  It can also defeat
         a widow's  right.    There  is  thus a diminution in the
         status of a wife/widow.
 
         2.15  According to Muslim law a person is  restrained
         from giving  away all his property by will.  He can only
         will away a maximum of one-third of his property and the
         rest has to be divided among  the  agnatic  and  Koranic
         heirs.   A  person is, of course, not required to make a
         will.
 
         2.16  The  proviso  to section 6 of HSA also contains
         another gender bias.  It has been provided therein  that
         the   interest   of   the  deceased  in  the  Mitakshara
         Coparcenary shall devolve by intestate succession if the
         deceased had left surviving a female relative  specified
         in class I of the Schedule or a male relative" specified
         in  that class, who claims through such female relative.
         In order to appreciate the gender bias it  is  necessary
         to  see  the devolution of interest under section 8 HSA.
         The property of a male Hindu  dying  intestate  devolves
         according  to  section  8  of the HSA, firstly, upon the
         heirs being the relatives specified in class  I  of  the
         Schedule.  However, there are only four primary heirs in
         the  Schedule to class I, namely, mother, widow, son and
         daughter.  The remaining eight represent one or  another
         person  who  would have been a primary heir if he or she
         had not died before the propositus.   The  principle  of
         representation  goes  up to two degrees in the male line
         of descent; but in the female line of  descent  it  goes
         only upto  one degree.  Accordingly, the son's son's son
         and son's son's daughter get a share  but  a  daughter's
         daughter's son and daughter's daughter's daughter do not
         get anything.    A further infirmity is that widows of a
         pre-deceased son and grandson are class I heirs, but the
         husbands of a deceased daughter  or  grand-daughter  are
         not heirs.12
 
 
 
 
          FOOT NOTES
 
         1.            See Shiramabai v Kolgonda, 1964 Bom.263;
                       Kanahaya Lal v Jamna, 1973 Delhi 160;
                       Rangubai Lalji v Lakshman  Lal  Ji,  1966  Bom.
                       169;
                       See also Ananda v Haribandhu, 1967 orissa 90;       
                       Vidyaben v Jadgish Chandra, 1974 Guj 23;
                       Susheelabai v Narayanarao 1975, Bom.257
 
         2.            (1978) 3 SSC, p.383:  AIR 1978 SC, 1239
 
         3.            (1994) 6 SCC, Pp.  342-343
 
         4.            Supra n.2 at Pp.  389-390 (para 13):  at 1243
 
         5.            AIR 1985 SC 716, at p.721 (para 9)
 
         6.            Ratna  Kapoor  and  Brenda  Cossman,   Feminist
                        Engagements   with  law  in  India,  Subversive
                        sites, 1996, p.134
 
         7.            The     Constituent    Assembly    of    India,
                       (Legislative) Debates Vol.VI 1949 Part II,
 
 
         8.            Madhu  Kiswar,  "Codified  Hindu  Law  Myth and
                       Reality" Eco & Pol.  Weekly, No.33 Aug 1994.
 
         9.           The Constituent Assembly of India (Legislative)
                       Debates Vol.VI 1949 Part II, p.841
 
         10.           Status of Women in India,  A  Synopsis  of  the
                       Report  of  the  National  Committee  (1971-74)
                       p.53-54
 
         11.           AIR 1996 SC, 1826.
 
         12.           Dr.   Tahir  Mahmood  Hindu Law, (1986; 2nd ed)
                       p.57.
 
 
                                                            
                                                               
CHAPTER - III
 
COPARCENARY:  RELEVANCE AND ALTERNATIVES
 
         3.1   It is apparent from the study of  the  previous
         chapter  that  discrimination  against  a  woman is writ
         large in relation to property rights.    Social  justice
         demands  that  a woman should be treated equally both in
         the economic and the social sphere.   The  exclusion  of
         daughters  from  participating  in  coparcenary property
         ownership merely by  reason  of  their  sex  is  unjust.
         Improving  their economic condition and social status by
         giving equal rights by birth is a long felt social need.
         Undoubtedly a radical reform of the  Mitakshara  law  of
         coparcenary  is  needed to provide equal distribution of
         property not  only  with  respect  to  the  separate  or
         self-acquired  property of the deceased male but also in
         respect of his undivided  interest  in  the  coparcenary
         property.
 
         3.2 The New Coparcenary under State Acts :  (ANDHRA
                  MODEL)
 
                 The idea of making a  woman  a  coparcener  was
         suggested   as  early  as  1945  in  written  statements
         submitted to the Hindu Law  Committee  by  a  number  of
         individuals  and  groups;  and  again  in 1956, when the
         Hindu Succession Bill was being finally debated prior to
         its enactment an amendment was moved to make a  daughter
         and her children members of the Hindu coparcenary in the
         same way as a son or his children.  But this progressive
         idea  was  finally  rejected  and  the  Mitakshara Joint
         family was  retained.
 
         3.2.1 The  concept  of  the  Mitakshara   coparcenary
         property  retained  under  section  6 of the HSA has not
         been amended ever since its enactment.  Though, it is  a
         matter  of  some  satisfaction that five states in India
         namely, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu,  Maharashtra
         and  Karnataka1 have taken cognisance of the fact that a
         woman needs to be treated equally both in  the  economic
         and the social spheres.  As per the law of four of these
         states,  (Kerala  excluded),  in  a  joint  Hindu family
         governed by Mitakshara law, the daughter of a coparcener
         shall by birth become a coparcener in her own  right  in
         the same  manner  as the son.  Kerala, however, has gone
         one step further and abolished the right  to  claim  any
         interest  in  any  property of an ancestor during his or
         her lifetime founded on the mere fact that he or she was
         born in the famly.  In fact, it has abolished the  Joint
         Hindu family system altogether including the Mitakshara,
         Marumakkattayam,  Aliyasantana  and  Nambudri   systems.
         Thus  enacting that joint tenants be replaced by tenants
         in common.
 
         3.2.2 The approach of the Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu,
         Maharashtra   and   Karnataka   state  legislatures  is,
         strikingly different  from  that  of  Kerala  and  these
         states   instead   of  abolishing  the  right  by  birth
         strengthened  it,  while  broadly  removing  the  gender
         discrimination inherent  in Mitakshara Coparcenary.  The
         broad features of the  legislations  are  more  or  less
         couched in the same language in each of these Acts.  The
         amending   Acts   of  Andhra  Pradesh,  Tamil  Nadu  and
         Maharashtra add three sections namely, 29A, 29B and  29C
         but  Karnataka numbers them as Sections 6A, 6B and 6C of
         the Act.
 
         3.2.3 These state enactments provide equal rights  to
         a  daughter  in  the  coparcenary property and contain a
         nonobstante clause.  In these four states;
               (a) the daughter of a coparcener in a  Joint  Hindu
                  Family governed by Mitakshara law, shall become
                  a  coparcener  by birth in her own right in the
                  same manner as the son and have similar  rights
                  in  the  coparcenary property and be subject to
                  similar liabilities and  disabilities;
 
               (b) On partition of a joint  Hindu  family  of  the
                  coparcenary  property,  she  will be allotted a
                  share equal to that of a son.  The share of the
                  predeceased son or a  predeceased  daughter  on
                  such   partition   would  be  allotted  to  the
                  surviving children of such predeceased  son  or
                  predeceased  daughter,  if alive at the time of
                  the partition.
               (c) This  property  shall  be  held by her with the
                  incidents of coparcenary ownership and shall be
                  regarded as property capable of being  disposed
                  of   by  her  by  will  or  other  testamentary
                  disposition.
               (d) The  state enactments are prospective in nature
                  and do not apply to a daughter who  is  married
                  prior  to,  or  to  a  partition which has been
                  effected before the commencement of the Act.
 
         3.2.4 However,   these    four    Hindu    Succession
         (Amendment) Acts have been criticised as they have given
         rise  to  various  difficulties  in  their  working  and
         application.    These   four   amending    Acts,    have
         considerably altered the concept of the Mitakshara Joint
         family  and  coparcenary  by elevating a daughter to the
         position of a coparcener.  Once a daughter becomes a
         coparcener she naturally continues to be a member of the
         natal joint family and after marriage she will also be a
         member of her marital Joint family.2
 
         3.2.5 In this connection, it is  relevant  to  notice
         the observations of Mr.Pataskar made while participating
         in  the  parliamentary  debate  at  the  time  the Hindu
         Succession Bill, 1955 was moved.  He said:
 
                "To retain the Mitakshara Joint Family  and  at
                  the  same  time  put  a  daughter  on  the same
                  footing as a son with respect to the  right  by
                  birth,  right  of survivorship and the right to
                  claim partition at any time, will be to provide
                  for a joint  family  unknown  to  the  law  and
                  unworkable in practice"3
 
         3.2.6 It was noticed that in the State of Tamil Nadu,
         many properties were partitioned between the coparceners
         before  the Tamil Nadu (Hindu Succession Amendment) Act,
         1989  came  into  force  with  a  view  to  defeat   the
         daughter's right  to become a coparcener.  These were by
         and large "fraudulent partitions" which  were  pre-dated
         so  that  no  coparcenary  property was available to the
         daughter.  This malpractice has to be checked thoroughly
         otherwise the very objective of the  Act,  which  is  to
         remove   discrimination   inherent   in  the  Mitakshara
         coparcenary   against   daughters,   stands    defeated.
         Therefore,  though  the  Tamil  Nadu  Act  received  the
         President's assent on 15.1.1990 and was published in the
         official gazette only on  18.1.1990,  the  Act  provides
         that  partitions  effected  contrary  to  the  Act after
         25.3.89 will be deemed to be void.  The Law Commission's
         questionnaire elicited public opinion in this regard and
         found that the majority  were  of  the  view  that  such
         transactions  made  just  before  the  enactment  of the
         proposed legislation should be declared invalid.
 
         3.2.7 Another  infirmity of these state enactments is
         that they exclude  the  right  of  a  daughter  who  was
         married  prior  to the commencement of the Act, from the
         coparcenary property, though, the right is available  to
         a daughter who is married after the coming into force of
         the said amendment acts.  As a result a married daughter
         continues  to have her interest in the joint property of
         her paternal family, if her  marriage  has  taken  place
         subsequent  to  the enactment while the daughter who got
         married before the enforcement of the law gets no  right
         at  all  in  the  joint property of her parental family.
         Such a discrimination appears to be unfair and  illegal.
         A  recent  Supreme Court decisions lends support to this
         view.  In Savita Samvedi v.  Union of India5 it was held
         that the distinction between a married and an  unmarried
         daughter may be unconstitutional.  The observations made
         by Mr.Justice Punchhi are relevant; " The eligibility of
         a  married  daughter  must  be  placed  on  par  with an
         unmarried daughter (for she must have been once in  that
         state), so as to claim the benefit....."6
 
         3.2.8 The  majority  of  the  replies  to   the   Law
         Commission's  questionnaire  are  also  of the view that
         equal  rights  should  be  conferred  on   married   and
         unmarried daughters.   This is also the view with regard
         to the dwelling house.7
 
         3.2.9 It is further felt that once a daughter is made
         a coparcener on the same footing as a son then her right
         as  a  coparcener  should be real in spirit and content.
         In that event section 23 of the HSA should  be  deleted.
         Section  23  provides  that  on  the  death  of  a Hindu
         intestate, in case of a dwelling house  wholly  occupied
         by  members  of  the  joint family, a female heir is not
         entitled to  demand  partition  unless  the  male  heirs
         choose  to  do  so;  it  further  curtails  the right of
         residence of a daughter unless she is unmarried  or  has
         been deserted by or has separated from her husband or is
         a widow.    Section  23  of  HSA  needs  to  be  deleted
         altogether and there is  great  support  for  this  from
         various  sections  of  society  while  replying  to  the
         questionnaire.
 
         3.2.10  There  is also a need for special protection of
         a widow's right to reside in the dwelling  house.    The
         family  dwelling  house  should not be alienated without
         the  widow's  consent  or  without  providing   her   an
         alternative  accomodation  after  she  has agreed to the
         sale of the dwelling house.
 
         3.2.11  The HSA of 1956 give daughters as well  as  the
         widow  of  a deceased coparcener a share in the interest
         of the deceased male  coparcenar.    However,  the  four
         Hindu Succession  (State  Amendment)  Acts  i.e.  Andhra
         Pradesh, Tamil  Nadu,  Karnataka  and  Maharashtra  have
         conferred   equal   coparcenary   rights   on  sons  and
         dauthters;  thus  preserving  the  right  by  birth  and
         extending   it  to  daughters  also  in  the  Mitakshara
         Coparcenary.  This has the indirect effect  of  reducing
         the widow's  successional share.  This is because if the
         number of coparcenars increase then the interest of  the
         husband will decrease.
 
         3.2.12  The HSA of 1956 dithered in not abolishing  the
         very  concept  of  coparcenary which the Act should have
         done.  But the Hindu Succession (State  Amendment)  Acts
         have  confered  upon  the  daughter of a coparcener, the
         right to become a coparcener like a son which may affect
         the brother-sister relationship.    It  further  appears
         that  even  where  daughters  have been made coparceners
         there is still a reluctance to making her a Karta as the
         general male view is that she is incapable  of  managing
         the  properties or running the business and is generally
         susceptible to the influence  of  her  husband  and  his
         family, if married.  This seems to be patently unfair as
         women  are  proving  themselves equal to any task and if
         women  are  influenced  by  their  husbands  and   their
         families,  men are no less influenced by their wives and
         their families.
 
         3.3   Kerala Model
 
                       The State of Kerala has abolished  the  concept
         of coparcenary following the recommendation of the Hindu
         Law Committee - B.N.  Rau Committee (which was entrusted
         with the task of framing a Hindu Code Bill).  The Kerala
         model  furthers  the  unification  of Hindu law and P.V.
         Kane suporting the recommendation of the  Rau  Committee
         stated:
 
                "And  the  unification of Hindu Law will be
                  helped by the abolition of the right  by  birth
                  which  is  the cornerstone of Mitakshara school
                  and  which  the  draft  Hindu  code  seeks   to
                  abolish."8
 
         3.3.1 The Kerala Joint Family System (Abolition) Act,
         1975 (hereinafter known as the Kerala  Act)  in  section
         4(i)  of  the  Act  lays  down that all the members of a
         Mitakshara Coparcenary will hold the property as tenants
         in common on the day the Act comes into force  as  if  a
         partition  had  taken  place and each holding his or her
         share separately.  The notable feature of the Kerala law
         is that it  has  abolished  the  traditional  Mitakshara
         coparcenary and  the right by birth.  But in Kerala, the
         Marumakkattayam, Aliyasantana and Nambudri systems  were
         also  present,  some of which were matrilineal and these
         joint families were also abolished.   The  Kerala  Model
         probably   results  in  maintenance  of  greater  family
         harmony and appears to be a fair decision as  in  Kerala
         both matrilineal and patrilineal joint families existed.
         If  the  Joint  family  was abolished today in the other
         states then a deemed  partition  would  take  place  and
         women  not  being  coparceners  would  get nothing more.
         Whereas if they are made coparceners, then  they  become
         equal sharers.
 
         3.3.2 However, one common drawback of both the Kerala
         model  and  the Andhra model is that it fails to protect
         the share of the daughter, mother or  widow  from  being
         defeated  by making a testamentary disposition in favour
         of another, or by alienation.  This criticism of  course
         against  testamentary  disposition  can  be also used to
         disinherit a son.  The question  whether  a  restriction
         should   be   placed   on  the  making  of  testamentary
         disposition as in some of the personal laws  is  another
         matter in issue.
 
         3.4   In  order  to  provide  women  with some better
         property rights, four states have dealt with the  matter
         by virtue of the Hindu Succession (State Amendment) Acts
         and  Kerala  has  dealt  with it by abolishing the Hindu
         Joint Family altogether.    This  has  resulted  in  two
         different models  being  in  existence  i.e.  the Andhra
         model and the Kerala model.
 
         3.5   Recent reports in some newspapers  reveal  that
         the  Centre  has  asked  all  the  states  to  carry out
         suitable amendments in the HSA to confer property rights
         on women in a joint family.  "The  Department  of  Women
         and  Child  Development has requested various States and
         Union  Territories  to  draw  up  necessary  legislature
         proposal  to  amend  section  6 of the HSA, 1956 to give
         daughters their due  share  of  coparcenary  right"9  as
         already  done  by States like Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka,
         Maharashtra and  Tamil  Nadu.    It  is  also  indicated
         therein  that  the  Kerala  Government has taken a stand
         that  in  view  of  the  Kerala  Joint   family   system
         (Abolition)  Act,  1975,  Section 6 of the HSA "does not
         operate" in that State.
 
         3.6   The  subject  matter  of the laws of succession
         fall in entry 5 of the Concurrent List  of  the  Seventh
         Schedule to  the Constitution.  Therefore, Parliament as
         well as the State Legislatures are  competent  to  enact
         laws in  this  area.   In case another State brings some
         third model of legislation in this  field,  there  is  a
         likelihood  of  having  still more diversity in the law.
         This would result in the directive principles  of  state
         policy  not  being adhered to which require the State to
         endeavour to secure a uniform civil code throughout  the
         territory of  India.    If  we  cannot have that for the
         present we  should  at  least  have  uniformity  amongst
         Hindus.   Accordingly,  there  is need to have a central
         law enacted by  Parliament  under  article  246  of  the
         Constitution.  In such a situation the law made by these
         five  states  would  stand  repealed  to  the  extent of
         repugnancy, unless expressly repealed.
 
 
 
          FOOT NOTES
 
         1.     The Kerala Joint Family System (Abolition) Act,
                  1975
                The Hindu Succession (Andhra Pradesh Amendment)
                  Act.  1986
                The Hindu  Succession  (Tamil  Nadu  Amendment)
                  Act.  1989
                The  Hindu  Succession  (Maharashtra Amendment)
                  Act.  1994
                The Hindu Succession (Karnataka Amendment) Act.
                  1994
                For text of these Acts, See Annexure - IV
         2.     B.Sivaramayya,    "Coparcenary    Rights     to
                  Daughters;  Constitutional and interpretational
                  Issues," (1997) 3 SCC (J), P.25
         3.     Lok Sabha Debates p.8014(1955)
         4.     Infra, Chapter IV, Para 4.10
         5.     JT (1996) 1 P.680
         6.     Id, at PP.  683-684 Para 7
         7.     Infra, Chapter IV, Para 4.7
         8.     M.P.V.  Kane, History of Dharamsastra, (Ancient
                  and Medieval Religious and  Civil  Law)  (1946)
                  Vol.III, p.823
         9.     PTI,  "Centre  asks  States  to   amend   Hindu
                  Succession  Act",  The  Observer  7.2.2000; see
                  also The Tribune, 22.3.2000. 
 
 
 
                                                            
                                                           
CHAPTER - IV
                                                             
         4.1   Questionnaire and its responses
 
                       A  questionnaire  was   issued   by   the   Law
         Commission  to  elicit the views of the public regarding
         giving  of  rights  to  a  daughter  in  the  Mitakshara
         property of    a   Hindu   undivided   family.      This
         questionnaire  consisted  of  three  parts   having   21
         questions.1  Sixty-Seven respondents have replied to the
         questionnaire.  30 respondents are from  the  profession
         of  law  and  the  rest comprise sociologists, NGOs etc.
         The responses received relating to various issues of the
         questionnaire  have  been  analysed  and  tabulated   in
         Annexure II.    A  brief  synopsis  of  the more salient
         issues is set out.
 
         4.2 Mitakshara  Joint  Family to be retained or not
                  and reasons for doing so?
 
                       Out  of  the  67 respondents, the majority
                  opposed    retention    of    the    Mitakshara
                  Coparcenary.   The  two  main reasons indicated
                  for  this  opposition  were,  the   coparcenary
                  system  discriminates  against  women  and  the
                  legislative changes  have  already  eroded  the
                  utility of the coparcenary system.  The few who
                  favoured its retention were of the view that it
                  protects  the financially weaker members of the
                  family, gives better rights to males and  helps
                  in  agriculture  and business activities of the
                  family.
 
         4.3 Steps   to   be   taken   to   remove    gender
                  discrimination
 
                       However, the majority of  the  respondents
                  suggested   that,   even   if,  the  Mitakshara
                  Coparcenary is retained,  though  it  would  be
                  better  if  it  were  done away with the gender
                  bias in HSA should be removed.    Consequently,
                  they wanted a daughter to be given the right by
                  birth to become a coparcener like the son.
 
         4.4 Daughter becoming a Karta in the  Joint  Family
                  in case Mitakshara Joint Family is retained.
 
                       About  half  the  respondents  wanted  the
                  daughter  to become a Karta in the Joint Family
                  if the Mitakshara Joint Family is retained.
         4.5 From  what  period should the Act (when passed)
                  be applicable?
 
                       Opinion on this issue was clearly  divided
                  and   only   11   respondents  favoured  giving
                  retrospective effect, from 10 to 15 years prior
                  to  the  passing  of  the  Act;  14  were   for
                  providing  protection to the purchasers who had
                  bought  the  property   in   good   faith;   12
                  respondents were in favour of not affecting the
                  vested  rights  and  some  respondents  did not
                  answer the querry.
         .
         4.6 Should  the right of coparcenary be confered on
                  the mother by the proposed legislation?
 
                       The  majoirty  of the respondents favoured
                  conferring coparcenary right on the mother.
 
         4.7 Should  attempts   to   defeat   the   proposed
                  legislation immediately before its enactment by
                  partition or sales be declared invalid?
                       The majority of the  respondents  answered
                  the  question in the affirmative declaring that
                  such transanctions ought to be totally invalid.
 
         4.8 Right to residence or partition of the Dwelling
                  House by a daughter
 
                       The  majority  preferred  that  the law be
                  amended to provide that partition can be sought
                  by the female heirs also even if there was only
                  one ancestral  home.    On  the  issue  whether
                  married daughters be given a right of residence
                  in  the  dwelling  house, the majority favoured
                  equal  treatement  for  married  and  unmarried
                  daughters  and  some also suggested deletion of
                  section 23 of HSA altogether.
 
         4.9 Widows right to residence or forbidding sale of
                  the dwelling house.
 
                       A large majority of the respondents,  that
                  is,  61  have expressed themselves in favour of
                  giving a special protection to a widow's  right
                  to reside   in   the  dwelling  house.    Other
                  alternative suggestions made  were  to  declare
                  that   the  family  dwelling  house  cannot  be
                  alienated  without  the  widow's   consent   or
                  without  providing an alternative accommodation
                  to her after she had agreed to the sale of  the
                  dwelling house, or to confer `Homestead' rights
                  on the wife/widow like in U.S.A., Canada.
 
         4.10 Inheritance  Certificate   on   death   of   an
                  individual  by all heirs indicating their share
                  in the property
 
                       The   majority   wanted  that  Inheritance
                  Certificates should be issued but watnted  that
                  to be  issued  at  the  lowest  rung,  i.e.  by
                  Munsif's Courts.    They  also   favoured   the
                  establishment   of   `Itinerary   Courts'   for
                  achieving the said purpose.
 
         4.11 Model  to  follow  for  bringing  the  proposed
                  legislation
 
                       (a)            Kerala Model, 1976
                       (b)            Andhra Model, 1986
                       (c)            To amend and recast Section 6 of                                                                  HAS
                       (d)      To  omit  Section 6 altogether and add
                                an explanation to Section 8.
 
                       The Commission solicited  opinion  on  the
                  important  question as to which model should be
                  followed  if  it  were  to  recommend   a   new
                  legislation   for  the  purpose  of  conferring
                  rights on daughters.  Out of 67 respondents  24
                  favoured   the  Andhra  Pradesh  model  and  22
                  favoured the  Kerala  Model.    Some,  however,
                  favoured the recasting of Section 6 of HSA, and
                  few  others suggested that section 6 be omitted
                  altogether.
 
         4.12 Placing    restriction    on   the   right   of
                  testamentary disposition
 
                       The majority favoured imposing restriction
                  on the right of testamentary disposition.    22
                  respondents  suggested  to limit it to one half
                  of the share  in  the  property  and  an  equal
                  number  suggested  to  limit it to 1/3rd of the
                  same.
 
 
                                                            
 
Chapter V
                                                                                      
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
                               
         5.1 Conclusions
 
                       To suggest suitable reforms to any law, it
                  is necessary to know the existing provisions of
                  the law and the mischief sought to be remedied.
                  In the previous chapters provisions of  section
                  6  of  HSA  and the various inequities emerging
                  therefrom have been discussed.  In this chapter
                  the conclusions of our study are enumerated and
                  thereafter we have made some suggestions.
 
         5.2   Under the Mitakshara system, joint  family
                  property  devolves  by  survivorship within the
                  coparcenary.  Mitakshara  Law  also  recognises
                  inheritance  by succession but only to property
                  separately  owned  by  an  individual  male  or
                  female.  (Para 1.3.3)
 
         5.3   Dayabhaga  school neither accords right by
                  birth nor by survivorship though a Joint family
                  and its coparcenary is  recognised.    It  lays
                  down  only  one mode of succession and the same
                  rules of inheritance apply whether  the  family
                  is   divided   or  undivided  and  whether  the
                  property is ancestral or self-acquired.    Sons
                  and  daughters  become  coparceners only on the
                  death of the father and get equal rights in the
                  family property.  (Para 1.3.4)
 
         5.4   The framers  of  the  Indian  Constitution
                  took  note  of  the  adverse  and  discriminary
                  position of women in society and  took  special
                  care as per articles 14,15(2)and (3) to prevent
                  discrimination against  women.   Part IV of the
                  Constitution through the  Directive  Principles
                  of State Policy further provides that the State
                  shall  endeavour to ensure equality between man
                  and woman.(para 1.5)
 
         5.5   Despite  the   Constitution   guaranteeing
                  equality   to   women   there  are  still  many
                  discriminatory aspects in the law of succession
                  against a  Hindu  woman  under  the  Mitakshara
                  system  of Joint family as per section 6 of the
                  HSA   as   only   males   are   recognised   as
                  coparceners.  (Para 2.4)
 
         5.6   The States of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil  Nadu,
                  Maharashtra  and  Karnataka  have  amended  the
                  provisions of  HSA  effecting  changes  in  the
                  Mitakshara  coparcenary  of the Hindu undivided
                  family.  These four states  have  declared  the
                  daugher to be coparcener.  The state of Kerala,
                  however,  has  totally  ablished  the  right by
                  birth and put an end to the Joint Hindu  Family
                  instead of tinkering with the coparcenery.  The
                  consequence   of  this  de-recognition  of  the
                  members of the family,  irrespective  of  their
                  sex, who are governed by Mitakshara Law is that
                  they  become  tenants  in  common  of the joint
                  family property and become full owners of their
                  share.(paras 3.2 & 3.3.1)
 
         5.7  Recommendations
 
                       As a first reaction the Law Commission was
                  inclined  to  recommend  the  adoption  of  the
                  Kerala  Model  in  toto as it had abolished the
                  right by  birth  of  males  in  the  Mitakshara
                  coparcenary  and  brought  an  end to the Joint
                  Hindu Family.  This  appeared  to  be  fair  to
                  women  as they did not have any right by birth;
                  but on further examination it became clear that
                  if the joint Hindu family  is  abolshed  as  on
                  date  and there are only male coparceners, then
                  only they would hold as tenants in  common  and
                  women  would  not  get  anything more than what
                  they are already  entitled  to  by  inheritance
                  under section  6  of HSA.  So the Commission is
                  of the view that it would be  better  to  first
                  make  daughters  coparceners  like sons so that
                  they would be entitled to and get their  shares
                  on  partition  or  on  the  death  of  the male
                  coparcener and hold thereafter  as  tenants  in
                  common.  We recommend accordingly.
 
         5.7.1  The Andhra Model does not do full  justice
                  to  daughters  as it denies a daughter, married
                  before the Act came into force,  the  right  to
                  become a coparcener.  Obviously, this was based
                  on  the assumption that daughters go out of the
                  family on marriage and thereby cease to be full
                  members of the family.  The  Commission  wanted
                  to   do  away  with  this  distinction  between
                  married and unmarried daughters,  but  after  a
                  great  deal  of  deliberation and agonizing, it
                  decided,  that  it  should  be  retained  as  a
                  married  daughter has already received gifts at
                  the  time  of   marriage   which   though   not
                  commensurate  with  the  son's  share  is often
                  quite substantial.  Keeping this  in  mind  the
                  distinction  between  daughters already married
                  before the commencment of  the  Act  and  those
                  married thereafter appears to be reasonable and
                  further would prevent heart-burning and tension
                  in the family.  A daughter who is married after
                  the  commencement  of the Act will have already
                  become a coparcener and entitled to  her  share
                  in  the  ancestral  property  so  she  may  not
                  receive any substantial  family  gifts  at  the
                  time of  her  marriage.    Hopefully, this will
                  result in the death of the evil dowry system.
 
         5.7.2  The Kerala Act abrogated the  doctrine  of
                  pious  obligation of the son whereas the Andhra
                  Model and others  which  conferred  coparcenary
                  rights  on  unmarried  daughters  are silent in
                  this regard  except  that  the  daughter  as  a
                  coparcener  is  bound by the common liabilities
                  and presumably can become a karta in the  Joint
                  family.   We  recommend  the  abrogation of the
                  doctrine  of  pious  obligation  and  that  the
                  daughter be a coparcener in the full sense.
 
         5.7.3  Consequently,  as above indicated, we have
                  recommended a combination  of  the  Andhra  and
                  Kerala Models.    We  are of the view that this
                  synthesis is in keeping  with  justice,  equity
                  and family harmony.
 
         5.7.4  We are also of the view that Section 23 of
                  HSA which places restrictions on  the  daughter
                  to claim partition of the dwelling house should
                  be deleted    altogether.        We   recommend
                  accordingly.
 
         5.7.5  As noticed  earlier  quite  often  fathers
                  will  away  their property so that the daughter
                  does not get a share even in his  self-acquired
                  property.  Apart from this, quite often persons
                  will  away their property to people who are not
                  relatives, thus totally depriving the  children
                  and   legal   heirs   who   have  a  legitimate
                  expectation.  Consequently, there  has  been  a
                  strong  demand for placing a restriction on the
                  right of testamentary disposition.   But  after
                  due deliberation the Commission is not inclined
                  to the placing of any restrictions on the right
                  of a Hindu deceased to will away property.
 
         5.8   Accordingly, we have drafted a Bill called
                  the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Bill, 2000  so
                  that   the   recommendations  made  by  us  are
                  hopefully  implemented  with   speed   by   the
                  government.   This  Bill  has  been  annexed as
                  Appendix 'A'
 
 
 
                                  (JUSTICE B.P.  JEEVAN REDDY)(RETD)
                                              CHAIRMAN
 
 
 
 
 
  (MS JUSTICE LEILA SETH)(RETD)(DR.N.M.GHATATE)(MR.T.K.  VISHWANATHAN)
        MEMBER                      MEMBER        MEMBER - SECRETARY
 
 
  DATED:  4.5.2000
 
 
                                                             

(Appendix A)

 

THE HINDU SUCCESSION (AMENDMENT) BILL, 2000

 

A

 

Bill

 

                    further to amend the Hindu Succession Act, 1956.

 

BE it enacted by Parliament in the Fifty-first Year of the Republic of India as follows:-

 

1.     Short title extent and commencement.- (1) This Act may be called the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2000.

 

(2) It shall come into force on such date as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, appoint.

 

  2 .   Substitution of new section for section 6 of Act 30 of 1956.- In the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, (hereinafter referred to as the principal Act) for section 6 the following section shall be substituted, namely:-

 

“6. Daughter’s right to be coparcener by birth and devolution of interest in coparcenary property.-    (1)  On and from the commencement of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2000, in a joint Hindu family governed by the Mitakshara  law, the daughter of a coparcener shall,-

 

(a) by birth become a coparcener;

(b) have the same rights in the coparcenary property as she would have had if she had been a son;

(c) be subject to the same liabilities and disabilities in respect of the said coparcenary property as that of a son,

 

and any reference to a Hindu Mitakshara coparcener shall be deemed to include a reference to a daughter:

 

          Provided that nothing contained in this sub-section shall apply to a daughter married before the commencement of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2000.

 

(2) Any property to which a female Hindu becomes entitled by virtue of sub-section (1) shall be held by her with the incidents of coparcenary ownership and shall be regarded, notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, or any other law for the time being in force, as property capable of being disposed of by her by will or other testamentary disposition.

 

(3) When a male Hindu dies after the commencement of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2000, his interest, in the property of a joint Hindu family governed by the Mitakshara law, shall devolve by testamentary or intestate succession, as the case may be, under this Act and not by survivorship, and the coparcenary  property shall be deemed to have been divided as if a partition had taken place and, -

 

(a) the daughter is allotted the same share as is allotted to a son;

 

(b) the share of the pre-deceased son or a pre-deceased daughter, as they would have got  had they been alive at the time of partition, shall be allotted to the surviving child of such pre-deceased son or of such pre-deceased daughter; and

 

(c) the share of the pre-deceased child of a pre-deceased son or of a pre-deceased daughter, as such child would have got had he or she been alive at the time of the partition, shall be allotted to the child of such pre-deceased child of the pre-deceased son or a pre-deceased daughter, as the case may be.

 

          Explanation. – For the purpose of this sub-section, 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, irrespective of whether he was entitled to claim partition or not.

 

(4) After the commencement of the Hindu Succession (Amendment)  Act, no court shall  recognise any right to proceed against a son, grandson or great-grandson for the recovery of any debt due from his father, grandfather or great-grandfather on the ground of the pious obligation under the Hindu law,  of such son, grandson or great-grandson to discharge any such debt:

 

          Provided that in the case of any debt contracted before the commencement of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2000, nothing contained in this sub-section  shall affect –

 

(a) the right of any creditor to proceed against the son, grandson or great-grandson, as the case may be; or

 

(b) any alienation made in respect of or in satisfaction of, any such debt, and any such right or alienation shall be enforceable under the rule of pious obligation in the same manner and to the same extent as it would have been enforceable as if the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2000  had not been enacted.

 

          

Explanation.- For the purposes of  clause (a), the expression “son”, “grandson” or “great-grandson” shall be deemed to refer to the son, grandson or great-grandson, as the case may be, who was born or adopted prior to the commencement  of  the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act 2000.

 

(5) Nothing contained in this section shall apply to a  partition which has been effected

before the date of the commencement of the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2000”.

 

 

3.  Omission of section 23 of  the principal Act.-  In the principal Act, section 23 shall be omitted.

 

 

 
                                                           
                                                     
                                                             
                                                          
ANNEXURE - II
 
ANALYSIS OF THE QUESTIONNAIRE OF
LAW COMMISSION
 
               The Law Commission's  questionnaire  is  divided
        into three  parts.    Part I deals with information about
        the respondent;  part  II  elicits  respondent  views  on
        issues   relating   to  various  aspects  and  impact  of
        coparcenary and lastly part II invites comments from  the
        respondents.  The respondents were asked to answer in yes
        and no  and  were  given  several  choices.   Sixty Seven
        respondents had  replied  to  the  questionnaire.      30
        respondents  were  mainly  from the Department of Law and
        rest were either advocates, sociologists or NGOs etc.
 
                       The responses are indicated below:
 
               1.      Mitakshara Joint Family to be retained or not?
 
                       Out of the 67 respondents, 49  opposed  its
                 retention  and  17  favoured  it and one did not
                 reply (vide Q.1).
                       
               2. Reasons  favouring   retention   of   Mitakshara
                 Coparcenary
                       The  respondents  favouring  retention have
                 done so mainly for the reason that  it  protects
                 the  financially weaker members and gives better
                 rights to males as per parts(b) and (a) of Q.2.
 
               3. Reasons negativating the retention of Mitakshara
                 Joint Family
                       The respondents were asked to give  any  of
                 the  following  grounds  as per Q.3 in case they
                 chose to negative the  retention  of  Mitakshara
                 System - (a) the changes would affect harmony in
                 the  Family;  (b)  that legislative changes have
                 already eroded the utility  of  the  coparcenary
                 system;  (c)  that  it  would have a detrimental
                 effect on the running of  family  business;  (d)
                 that  idle  members of a joint family prosper at
                 the expense of the hard working members and  (e)
                 that  coparcenary  system  discriminates against
                 women.
                       
                       33  respondents   preferred   part(e);   21
                 part(b);  12  part(a); 8 part(d) and 29 favoured
                 more than one part.
               
               4. Steps   to   be   taken   to    remove    gender
                 discrimination
                       The    Law    Commission    suggested   two
                 alternative choices  in  Q.4  to  remove  gender
                 discrimination.
 
                       The   majority  that  is,  35  respondents,
                 favoured part(b) which  stated  that  Mitakshara
                 Coparcenary  should  be  retained but the gender
                 bias to remove by conferring upon daughters  the
                 right  to  become  a  coparcener  like a son; 22
                 respondents  favoured  part(a),  that   is,   to
                 abolish the coparcenary right by birth.
 
               5. Daughter becoming a Karta in the Joint Family.
                       33  respondents  preferring the daughter to
                 become Karta in the Joint Family  of  Mitakshara
                 Joint   Family   is   retained;  10  respondents
                 negativated it and 8 did not reply as per Q.5.
 
                       It may  be  noted  that  this  question  is
                 directly  relevant  to  Q.No.1,  where  only  17
                 respondents favoured the retention of Mitakshara
                 system  whereas  it  may   be   seen   that   33
                 respondents have preferred the daughter becoming
                 Karta  in  the  Joint  Family if Joint Family is
                 retained.
 
                       Several  choices  are  listed  in  Q.6  for
                 negativating the daughters becoming a Karta such
                 as   -  (a)  women  are  incapable  of  managing
                 properties  or   agriculture;   (b)   they   are
                 incapaable  of  running  a  business;  (c)  once
                 married they move away from their families;  and
                 (d)  they  are  susceptible to the influences of
                 the husband or his family; (e) other reasons.
 
                       11 respondents opted  for  part(c);  5  for
                 part(d) and 13 did not reply to this question.
 
               6. Conferring equal rights upon married & unmarried
                 daughters.
                       36  replies  favoured the view that married
                 daughters   should   have   equal   rights    in
                 coparcenary  property as per Clause(b); 14 opted
                 for Clause (a) by limiting this right in  favour
                 of unmarried daughters at the time of passing or
                 enforcing of the enactment and 8 respondents did
                 not reply as per Q.7.
 
               7. From what period should the Act (when passed) be
                 applicable?
                       21  respondents  did not reply; 10 favoured
                 choice in part (a) that is to give retrospective
                 effect from 10 to 15 years prior to the  passing
                 of   the  Act;  15  for  part(b)  for  providing
                 protection to buyers of property in good  faith;
                 12 respondents were in favour of part(c) for not
                 affecting  the  vested  rights  and 11 opted for
                 part(a) of Q.8.
 
               8. Should coparcenary  right  be  confered  on  the
                 mother   of  the  coparcenary  by  the  proposed
                 legislation?
 
                       51 out of 67 respondents  answered  in  the
                 affirmative;  5  in  the negative and 11 did not
                 respond to Q.9.
 
               9. The Commission vide Q.10 pointed out that  there
                 may  be attempts to defeat the provisions of the
                 proposed legislation by effecting partitions  or
                 by sales.   Should such transactions be declared
                 invalid before the  enactment  of  the  proposed
                 legislation?
 
                       The   respondents   were  asked  to  choose
                 between yes or no.  The majority,  that  is,  58
                 respondents   answered   the   question  in  the
                 affirmative; and 7 were against it;  and  9  did
                 not reply.
 
               10. On  the  question  of preference of abolition of
                 special rules discriminating  against  daughters
                 for devolution of agricultural interests.
                       The   majority   that  is,  54  respondents
                 answered Q.11 in the affirmative and only 7 were
                 against it, 6 did not reply.
 
               11. Dwelling House
 
                       43 respondents preferred amendment  of  law
                 to  provide  that partition can be sought by the
                 female heirs also even if  there  was  only  one
                 ancestral home,  as  in part(a) of Q.13.  On the
                 issue whether married daughters be given a right
                 of residence  in  the  dwelling   house.      39
                 respondents  expressed  themselves  in favour of
                 this cause of action and  24  were  against  it.
                 Further, 27 respondents favoured the deletion of
                 section  23  of  HSA altogether and 26 opted for
                 course of action mentioned  in  part(b),  namely
                 making section 23 inapplicable to dwelling house
                 belonging  to Hindu female intestates in respect
                 to Q.14 and others did not reply.
 
                       The majority of the respondents,  that  is,
                 61   have  expressed  themselves  in  favour  of
                 special protection to widow's right to reside in
                 the dwelling  house  as  per   Q.15.      ;   26
                 respondents  have opted for the course of action
                 in part (b) of Q.16  by  declaring  that  family
                 dwelling   house  cannot  be  alienated  without
                 widow's  consent   or   without   providing   an
                 alternative  accommodation  to her after she had
                 agreed to the sale of  the  dwelling  house;  29
                 respondents   opted   for   part(a),  to  confer
                 `Homestead' rights on  the  wife/widow  like  in
                 U.S.A., Canada , and few have not replied to the
                 question.
 
               12. Inheritance   Certificate   on   death   of   an
                 individual by all heirs indicating  their  share
                 in the property
 
                       In answer to  Q.   No.  17, the majority of
                 the respondents that is 55 favoured  the  taking
                 of an inheritance certificate by all heirs.
 
                Question  of authority to be conferred, upon the
                 issue of `Inheritance Certificate'
 
                       50  respondents   stated   that   `District
                 Munsif's  Courts'  should alone be conferred the
                 authority to issue such Inheritance Certificates
                 and in response to Q.18, all the 49  respondents
                 have  favoured  the  establishment of `Itinerary
                 Courts' for achieving the said  purpose  as  per
                 Q.19.
 
               13. Model   to  follow  for  bringing  the  proposed
                 legislation
                (a)           Kerala Model, 1976
                       (b)            Andhra Model, 1986
                       (c)            To amend and recast Section 6 of HSA
                       (d)      To omit Section 6 altogether  and  add
                           an explanation to Section 8.
                       
                       The  Commission  solicited  opinions on the
                 important question as to which model  should  be
                 followed   if   it   were  to  recommend  a  new
                 legislation for the purpose of conferring rights
                 on daughters.    Out  of   67   respondents   23
                 respondents  favoured  the Andhra Pradesh model;
                 22 respondents  favoured  the  Kerala  Model;  6
                 respondents  favoured the recasting of Section 6
                 of HSA as per part(c) and 7 favoured part(d) for
                 omitting section 6 altogether as per Q.20.
 
               14. Placing restriction on the Right of Testamentary
                 disposition
 
                44 respondents favoured imposing restrictions on
                 the right of testamentary disposition  but  only
                 21  stated  to limit it to one half of the share
                 and 22 to 1/3; and 19 respondnets did not favour
                 imposing restrictions on such a right vide Q.21.
 
                       The last question invited the comments from  the
        respondents
 
                Any other comments
 
               1. Only  35  respondents  made  general comments in
                 response to Q.22.  Their general view  was  that
                 the   concept   of   Hindu  Mitakshara  was  not
                 acceptable  because  it  discriminated   between
                 males and females.  If females were made part of
                 Mitakshara  Coparcenary,  it would reduce gender
                 inequality to a considerable extent.   For  this
                 purpose,  Section 6 of the HSA should be amended
                 by  Parliament  and   so   amended   should   be
                 implemented uniformly throughout India.
               2. Stpes must be take to protect the interests of a
                 wife/widow.
               3. Restrictions  on testamentary disposition should
                 be imposed at least to the extent of half of the
                 property.
               4. A few respondents also suggested the formulation
                 of a Uniform Civil Code.
 
               One of the respondents asked the  Commission  to
        make  an  empirical study of the issue and not to lightly
        decide to discard the  existing  system  of  Hindu  Joint
        Family/HUF  which was based on mutual love, affection and
        compassion and family as a means of  fulfilling  physical
        and economic  needs.  According to this respondent, there
        was no gender bias against females under section 6 of the
        HSA.  In fact, female inherits from the fathers's  family
        as  well  as  husbands  family under Sections 6 and 14 of
        HSA.  She inherited from two families in four capacities.
        Compared to this, the male inherited only from one family
        and in one capacity i.e.  as a son (or grandson or  great
        grandson).  Thus the bias is in favour of the female.
 
 
                                                             
                                                         
 
Annexure - III
                                             
WORKING PAPER ON
COPARCENARY RIGHTS TO DAUGHTERS UNDER THE HINDU LAW
 
               Under  ancient  Hindu   Society,   a   woman   was
        considered  to  be  of  low social status and treated as a
        dependent with barely any property rights.    As  per  the
        text of Baudhayana, women had no place in the Hindu scheme
        of  inheritance  and  "Females  were  devoid of powers and
        incompetent to inherit." But by virtue  of  special  texts
        specified female heirs were given the right to inherit.
 
               The Dayabhaga law  and  the  Benaras  and  Mithila
        sub-schools  of  Mitakashra  law  recognized  five females
        relations as  being  entitled  to  inherit  namely,  widow
        daughter,   mother,  paternal  grandmother,  and  paternal
        great-grandmother and the Madras  and  Bombay  sub-schools
        recognised  the  heritable  capacity of a larger number of
        female heirs.1
 
               Sometimes   the   laws   themselves  discriminated
        against women.  This was particularly true in  the  sphere
        of family laws in India which are "Personal Laws", that is
        the  law  applicable  to  a person on the basis of his/her
        religion.  Some of  these  personal  laws  exhibit  strong
        features of discrimination against women.
               During  the British period social reform movements
        raised the issue of amelioration of  women's  position  in
        society.   The  earliest legislation bringing females into
        the scheme of inheritance is the Hindu Law of  Inheritance
        Act, 1929.    This  Act,  conferred  inheritance rights on
        three female  heirs  i.e.    son's  daughter,   daughter's
        daughters   and   sister   (thereby   creating  a  limited
        restriction on the rule of  survivorship).    During  this
        period  another  landmark legislation conferring ownership
        right on a woman was the Hindu Women's Right  to  Property
        Act XVIII  of  1937.  This Act brought about revolutionary
        changes in the Hindu Law of all schools, and affected  not
        only the law of coparcenary but also the law of partition,
        alienation of property, inheritance and adoption.2
 
               The Act of 1937 enabled the widow to succeed along
        with the  son and to take the same share as the son.  This
        widow is not a coparcener even though she posses  a  right
        akin  to  coparcenary  interest  in  the property and is a
        member of the Joint Family.  However, under the  Act,  the
        widow  was  entitled  only  to  a  limited  estate  in the
        property of the deceased with a right to claim  partition.
        A  daughter  had  virtually  no inheritance rights at all.
        But, both enactments  largely  left  untouched  the  basic
        features   of   discrimination   against  women  and  were
        subsequently repealed.
 
               The framers of our Constitution were aware of  the
        low  position  of a woman in society and they took special
        care to ensure that the state takes positive steps to give
        her equal status.  Articles 14, 15(2) and (3)  and  16  of
        the  Constitution of India not only inhibit discrimination
        against women but in appropriate circumstances  provide  a
        free   hand   to   the   State   to   provide   protective
        discrimination in favour of women.  These  provisions  are
        part   of   the   Fundamental  Rights  guaranteed  by  the
        Constitution.
 
               Part IV of the Constitution contains the Directive
        Principles which are no less fundamental in the governance
        of the State to ensure equality between man and woman such
        as equal pay for equal work.  Despite these provisions for
        ensuring equal status, unfortunately a woman is still  not
        only neglected in her own natal family but also the family
        she marries into because of certain laws and attitudes.
 
               After the advent of the  Constitution,  the  first
        law  made  at the central level pertaining to property and
        inheritance concerning Hindus  was  the  Hindu  Succession
        Act, 1956  (hereinafter  called  the  HSA).  This Act came
        into force on 17th June,  1956.    The  HSA  lays  down  a
        uniform and comprehensive system of inheritance and aplies
        inter-alia to persons governed by Mitakshara and Dayabhaga
        Schools  as  also  to  those  in certain parts of southern
        India who were previously governed by the Murumakkattayan,
        Aliyasantana and Nambudri Systems of Hindu Law.   The  Act
        applies to any person who is a Hindu by religion in any of
        its  forms  or  developments  or  a follower of the Brahmo
        Prarthana or Arya Samaj or to any person who is a Budhist,
        Jain or Sikh by religion.  In the case of  a  testamentary
        disposition  this  Act shall not apply and the interest of
        the deceased would be governed by  the  Indian  Succession
        Act, 1925.
 
               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  orthodox
        sections of  Hindus.  However, the then Prime Minister Pt.
        Jawaher Lal Nehru who was unequivocally committed to carry
        out these reforms suggested, in order to blunt the edge of
        opposition, that piecemeal legislation  be  undertaken  to
        substantially  remove  the  disparities  and  disabilities
        suffered by the Hindu women.  Consequently it was possible
        to bring into force, the Hindu  Marriage  Act,  1955;  the
        Hindu  Adoptions  and  Maintenance  Act,  1956,  the Hindu
        Minority  and  Guardianship  Act,  1956;  and  The   Hindu
        Succession Act, 1956.
 
               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 -
 
               Section 6 of the HSA dealing  with  devolution  of
        interest to coparcenary property states-
 
                       "When   a   male   Hindu  dies  after  the
        commencement of this Act, having at the time his death  an
        interest   in   a  Mitakshara  coparcenary  property,  his
        interest in the property  shall  devolve  by  survivorship
        upon  the  surviving members of the coparcenary and not in
        accordance with this Act:
 
               Provided that, if the  deceased  had  left
                him surviving a female relative specified in Class
                I  of the Schedule or a male relative specified in
                that  class  who  claims   through   such   female
                relative,  the  interest  of  the  deceased in the
                Mitakshara Coparcenary property shall  devlove  by
                testamentary  or intestate succession, as the case
                may be, under this Act and not by survivorship.
 
               Explanation 1.-- For the purposes of  this
                section,   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 the his death, irrespective  of
                whether  he  was entitled to claim partition of or
                not.
 
               Explanation 2,-- Nothing contained in  the
                proviso  to  his  section  shall  be  construed as
                enabling a person who has separated  himself  from
                the  coparcenary  before the death of the deceased
                or any his heirs to claim on intestacy a share  in
                the interest referred to therein.
 
               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  in  the  Mitakshara  coaprcenary  property  shal
        devolve by testamentary or intestate succession and not by
        survivorship.  In the absence of this event  his  interest
        would  have devolved by survivorship on the living members
        of the coparcenary.
 
               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.
        Heerabai3 reaffirming   in   State  v.    Narayanaro4  had
        examined Section 6 of the HSA and is  of  the  view  above
        expressed.
 
               Section 6 of the HSA contemplates the existence of
        a  coparcenary  consisting  of  male  members  who have an
        interest by birth in the joint family  property.    At  no
        time  before  partition  can  it  be  predicted that he is
        entitled to so much share (one half or one fourth  or  one
        third) in  the joint family property.  Nor can he say that
        such and such items of property belong to him, even if the
        properties are in the possession or use.  Until  partition
        takes  place  this  is  an  unpredictable  and fluctuating
        interest which may be enlarged by deaths and diminished by
        births in the family.  According to the  noted  Hindu  Law
        Jurist  Mayne, every coparcener has a right to be in joint
        possession and enjoyment of the joint family property  and
        this  is  expressed by saying that there is both community
        of interest and unity of possession.
 
               Every coparcener has  a  right  to  be  maintained
        including  a right to marriage expenses being defrayed out
        of the joint family funds and every coparcener is bound by
        the alienation made by the Karta for  legal  necessity  or
        benefit of the estate and by legitimate acts of management
        of  the  Karta;  every coparcener has a right to object to
        and challenge alienations made without his consent or made
        without legal necessity; and every coparcener has a  right
        of partition and survivorship.5
 
               A  widow  or  daugher on the death of her husband/
        father cannot claim to be a  survivor  as  she  is  not  a
        coparcener recognised under the Act.
 
               Desipte  constitutional  guarantee  for  not  only
        ensuring equality to women, we find that in the sphere  of
        property rights granted to Hindu women as wives/widows and
        daughters,  there are still many discriminatory aspects in
        the law.  When a Woman  is  maltreated  in  her  husband's
        family  or  there  is a demand of dowry, there is huge hue
        and cry as the  instances  of  killing  by  in  laws/bride
        burning are not unknown in our society.
 
               But the issue here is regarding the discriminatory
        treatment  given  to  her  even  by the members of her own
        natal family.  In Hindu  System,  ancestral  property  has
        traditionally been held by a joint Hindu family consisting
        of male  coparceners.    Coparcenary is a narrower body of
        persons within a joint  family  and  consists  of  father,
        son's son's  and  son's  son's  son.    A  coparcenary can
        consist of a grandfather and grandson, or brothers, or  an
        uncle and  nephew  and  so  on.    Thus ancestral property
        continues to be governed by a wholly partrilineal  regime,
        wherein  property  descends  only through the male line as
        only the male members of a  joint  Hindu  family  have  an
        interest  by  birth  in the joint or coparcenary property.
        Since  women  could  not  be  coparceners  they  were  not
        entitled  to any share in the ancestral property by birth.
        A son's share in the  property  of  his  intestate  father
        would  be in addition to the share he acquired at the time
        of birth whereas  the  share  of  a  daughter/mother/wife,
        would  only  be  out of the interest the deceased had in a
        coparcenary on his death.
 
               Secondly, the patrilineal assumptions of  dominant
        male  ideology  is  also reflected in the laws governing a
        Hindu female who dies intestate, laws  that  are  markedly
        different   from  those  governing  Hindu  males  who  die
        intestate.6 The  property  is  to  devolve  first  to  her
        children and  husband:   secondly, to her husband's heirs;
        thirdly to her father's heirs, and lastly, to her mother's
        heirs.   The  provisions  of  section  15(2)  attempt   to
        guarantee  that property continues to be inherited through
        the male heir from which  it  came  either  back  to  (her
        father's family or back to her husband's family.
 
               The  report  on  the  Status  of  Women  in  India
        (1971-74) reveals that  the  Hindu  Code  Bill,  1948,  as
        amended  by  the  Select  Committee  had in fact suggested
        abolition of the coparcenary  i.e.    the  male  right  to
        property by birth, and its conversion to the the Dayabhaga
        system  where  the  daughters  get  equal  shares with the
        brothers as there is no right by birth for the sons.   But
        the traditional  resistance  was too strong.  Further, the
        case for a daughter's share is often turned  down  on  the
        ground  that there is hardly a case of a daughter claiming
        equal rights to parental family property in  view  of  the
        over-weighing  consideration  of amity with the family and
        social disapproval of such a claim.
 
               Thus the  law  by  excluding  the  daughters  from
        participating  in  coparcenary ownership (merely by reason
        of their  sex)  not  only  contributed  to  discrimination
        against  females but has led to oppression and negation of
        her fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.  As
        such, the State has  failed  to  bring  about  a  suitable
        legislation as  required  by  the Constitution.  It is law
        that  can  contribute  to  overcoming  this  oppression by
        creating a  legal  order  that  treats  females  on  equal
        footing.  Legislation that on the face of it discriminates
        between  a  male and a female must be made gender neutral.
        Thus, there is little doubt that  radical  reform  of  the
        Mitakshara  law  of  coparcenary  is  required so that and
        there should be equal distribution of  property  not  only
        with  respect to the separate or self-acquired property of
        the deceased male but also with respect to  his  undivided
        interest in  the  coparcenary  property.    This should be
        distributed equally  among  his  male  and  female  heirs,
        particularly his son and daughter.  This will go a one way
        in eradicating the evils of the dowry system prevailing in
        our  society and award a status of honour and dignity to a
        daughter at least in her family of birth.
 
               It  is  a matter of satisfaction to note that five
        states in India, namely,  Kerala,  Kanataka,  Tamil  Nadu,
        Andhra  Pradesh  and  Maharashtra have taken cognisance of
        the fact that social justice requires a  woman  should  be
        treated  equally  both  in the economic and social sphere.
        Consequently these states  being  of  the  view  that  the
        exclusion  of  daughters from participating in coparcenary
        ownership merely  by  reason  of  their  sex  was  unjust,
        brought   about   a   change   in  respect  of  Mitakshara
        coparcenary property and extended the right  by  birth  in
        coparcenary property  to  the  daughters  also.  Improving
        their economic conditions and social status by giving them
        right by birth equal to that  of  sons  was  a  long  felt
        social  need  as  it would eradicate the baneful system of
        dowry by positive measures.  The  practice  of  dowry  has
        emerged as a major social evil in contemporary India.  The
        gravity  of  the  social evil is reflected all over in our
        country.  The Dowry Prohibition Act of  1961  passed  with
        the ostensible idea of checking the evil has almost proved
        to be an ineffective legislation.
 
               As  per  the  law  passed by four of these states,
        (Kerala law being  different)  in  a  Joint  Hindu  Family
        governed  by  Mitakshara Law, the daughter of a coparcener
        by birth becomes a coparcener in her own right in the same
        manner  as  the  son  and  has  the  same  rights  in  the
        coparcenary property as she would have had if she had been
        a  son,  inclusive of the right to claim survivorship, and
        is subject to the same  liabilities  and  disabilities  in
        respect thereto as the son.  Of course, this change in the
        law  is  prospective  and  daughters  married prior to the
        coming into force of the law have been excluded.   A  list
        of  the  legislation  passed by the five states is set out
        below and the legislation is annexed as Annexed `IV'.
 
        (1) The Joint Hindu  Family  System  (Abolition)  Act,
                1975, Kerala.
 
        (2) The Hindu Succession  (Andhra  Pradesh  Amendment)
                Act, 1986
        (3) The  Hindu  Succession  (Tamil   Nadu   Amendment)
                Act,1989.
        (4) The   Hindu   Succession   (Karnataka   Amendment)
                Act,1994.
        (5) The Hindu Succession (Maharashtra Amendment)  Act,
                1994
 
               One redeeming feature of these State enactments is
        that  they  are more or less couched in the same language,
        though the Kerala model is different.   The  Kerala  Joint
        Hindu  Family  System  (Abolition) Act, 1975 abolished the
        right of birth of males under the Mitakshara  as  well  as
        the Marumakkattayam law, following the Report of the Hindu
        Committee in connection with the Hindu Code Bill Section 3
        of  the  Kerala  Act States that after its commencement, a
        right  to  claim  any  interest  in  any  property  of  an
        ancestor,  during his or her life time founded on the mere
        fact that the claimant was  born  in  the  family  of  the
        ancestor, shall not be recognised.  Thus the Act is wholly
        prospective  and  fails  to confirm rights on daughters in
        the existing coparcenary property unlike the Andhra  model
        legislation.   Section  4(i)  of  the Kerala Act lays down
        that all the members of a Mitakshara coparcenary will hold
        the property as tenants-in-common on the day the Act comes
        into force as if a partition  had  taken  place  and  each
        holding  his  or her share separately.7 The major drawback
        in the legislation is that it fails to protect  the  share
        of  the  daughter  from  being defeated by the making of a
        testamentary or other disposition.
 
               The  approach  of  the  other State Legislature is
        strikingly different.   It  elevates  a  daughter  to  the
        position  of a coparcener in a Mitakshara coparcenary i.e.
        succession by survivorship.
 
               The above mentioned state amendments to the  Hindu
        Succession Act 1956, thus considerably altered the concept
        of the  Mitakshara coparcenary.  Once a daughter becomes a
        coparcener she continues to be member of the  natal  joint
        family even after her marriage.  This has introduced a far
        reaching change  in  the  law  of a joint family.  Section
        29-A of the Andhra Pradesh,  Tamil  Nadu  and  Maharashtra
        Acts  and Section 6A of the Karnataka Act states that in a
        Joint  Hindu  Family  governed  by  Mitakshara  law,   the
        daughter   of   a  coparcener  shall  by  birth  become  a
        coparcener in her own right in the same manner  as  a  son
        and  have  the  same rights in the coparcenary property as
        she would have had if she had been a son inclusive of  the
        right  to  claim  by survivorship; and shall be subject to
        the same liabilities and disabilities in  respect  thereto
        as a son.
 
               Under the Amending Acts the eldest daughter like a
        son  will  be  entitled to be a Karta of the Joint Family,
        and will by virtue of that position exercise the right  to
        spend  the  income  for joint family purposes and alienate
        the joint family properties for legal necessity or benefit
        of the  estate.    However,  under  the  Shastric  Law,  a
        daughter on marriage ceases to be a member of the parental
        family,  but  the Amending Acts have changed her position,
        which is quite alien to Hindu patriarchal notions.  Though
        her  position  as  defacto  manager  was  recognized  when
        mothers  acted  as guardians of their minor sons after the
        death of their husbands,  the  dejure  conferment  of  the
        right eluded her.
 
               The  aspect  of  succession  and joint family fall
        under the concurrent list entry 5 contained in the Seventh
        Schedule of the Constitution and both the Centre  as  well
        as the  States  can  legislate  in this field.  It is also
        noted that the five States  mentioned  above  have  passed
        their enactments  with  the  assent  of the President.  In
        fact, it  would  appear  to  us  that  instead  of  having
        piecemeal  legislations  for  effecting  amendments in the
        Hindu Succession Act by the states, there is a strong case
        for a uniform civil code in this  area  governing  atleast
        Hindu  Society  and  providing  equality in the family the
        child is  born  into,  irrespective  of  the  sex.     Our
        suggestion  would  tackle  not only the evils of dowry but
        also the longing for a son and  would  promote  the  small
        family norm and check the population explosion.
 
               However,  the  State  Amendments  to  the HSA have
        given rise to various questions which need to be  answered
        before  a  uniform  law  is  brought  for  all the States.
        First, the Amendment has excluded the right of a  daughter
        from  the  coparcenary  property, who was married prior to
        the commencement of the amending Act.   The  provision  is
        similar in all the Acts and the Karnataka provision is set
        out as under:
 
        6(d) "Nothing  in  clause (b) shall apply to a daughter
                married prior to or to a partition which had  been
                effected   before   the   commencement   of  Hindu
                Succession (Karnataka Amendment) Act, 1994."
 
               The reasons for exclusion of the  already  married
        daughter appear to be sociological and the fact that dowry
        might have been given at the time of marriage.  This dowry
        might  in  some  cases have included immovable and movable
        property apart from jewellery.   But  there  may  be  many
        cases  where  nothing  has  been  given and there does not
        appear to be any cogent reason for discriminating  between
        a married and an unmarried daughter.  Excluding a daughter
        married  before  the  date of commencement of the Amending
        Acts is wrong in our opinion  as  all  daughters  must  be
        treated equally,  and  at  par  with  sons.   By denying a
        married daughter equal rights in coparcenary  property,  a
        large  number  of  females  are  getting  left  out of the
        benefit.
 
               A recent Supreme Court decision in Savita  Samvedi
        v.   Union  of  India8  lends  support  to the view that a
        distinction between a married and  an  unmarried  daughter
        will be unconstitutional.  The Supreme Court held that the
        circular in fettering the choice of a retiring employee to
        nominate   a   married   daughter   is   "wholly   unfair,
        unreasonable and gender biased" and liable  to  be  struck
        down under  Article  14 of the Constitution.  Referring to
        the distinction drawn by the circular  between  a  married
        and an unmarried  daughter,  Punchhi,  J.  observed:  "The
        eligibility of a married daughter must be placed at a  par
        with  an  unmarried  daughter  (for she too must have been
        once in that State) so as to claim the benefit....."
 
               The Preamble to the Amending  Acts  indicates  the
        objective   as   the  removal  of  discrimination  against
        daughters inherent in the mitakshare coparcenary  and  the
        eradication  of  the  baneful  system of dowry by positive
        measures thus ameliorating the condition of women  in  the
        human society.    This  is only a subsidiary or collateral
        objective and it cannotg be said that  the  classification
        drawn  by  the Amending Acts bears a rational relationship
        to the objective sought to be achieved.9
 
               Thus cl.(d) of  S.6A  of  the  Karnataka  Act  and
        clause  (iv)  of  29A  of  the  other three Acts should be
        deleted and the main object of the Acts should be only  to
        remove   discrimination   inherent   in   the   Mitakshara
        coparcenary against daughters both married and unmarried.
 
               Another reason for having an all India legislation
        is that if the Joint Family has properties in two  states,
        one  which  is  governed by the Amending Act and the other
        not so governed, it  may  result  in  two  Kartas,  one  a
        daughter and  the other a son.  Difficulties pertaining to
        territorial application of Amending Act and the Lex  Situs
        principle will  also  arise.   Thus is the need for an all
        India Act or Uniform Civil Code more immediate.
 
               It is important  to  notice  what  the  impact  of
        Section  6-A  of the Karnataka Act and Section 29-A of the
        other three Acts would be  on  Section  23  of  the  Hindu
        Seccession Act,  1956.  Section 23 of the Hindu Succession
        Act 1956 provides that on the death of Hindu intestate  in
        case of a dwelling house wholly occupied by members of the
        joint  family,  a  female  heir  is not entitled to demand
        partition unless the male  heir  chooses  to  do  so;  and
        secondly  it  curtails  even  the  right of residence of a
        daughter  by  stating  that  where  such  female  heir  is
        daughter, she shall be entitled to a right of residence in
        the  dwelling  house  only if she is unmarried or has been
        deserted  by  or  separated  from  her  husband  or  is  a
        widow."10  Whether these restrictions will be operative in
        the case of female coparceners will have to be  considered
        and  we  must  focus  on  the  interpretation of the words
        `Hindu intestate `and'  `heirs'  exclude  coparceners  and
        coparcenary interests  from their scope.  Section 6 of the
        Hindu Succession Act retains the  rule  of  devolution  of
        undivided coparcenary interest by survivorship in spite of
        the significant change introduced in it.  Under the Act it
        should be clarified that female coparcener will have equal
        rights  as  males in the matter of asking for partitioning
        and allotment  to  them  of  their  share  in  coparcenary
        property.   Thus  Section  23  from the HSA may need to be
        deleted altogether.
 
                       It  is  noteworthy, that there is hardly a
        case of a daughter claiming equal rights  to  property  in
        the  parental  family,  even  though  her dowry may not be
        equal to  the  son's  share.    This  is  due  mainly   to
        overweighing consideration of modesty and desire for amity
        and the  fear of social disapproval.  A study prepared for
        the Ministry  of  Education  and  Social  Welfare  on  the
        succession  rights  of  women  in  Andhra Pradesh, is very
        revealing in this regard.11 It observed that 38  per  cent
        of  women  in Godavari and 12 per cent of women in Krishna
        districts reported considerations of family  prestige,  27
        percent  of the respondents in both the districts reported
        consideration of getting  bad  name  among  relatives  and
        others,  for not taking resort to courts of law in getting
        their due  share  in  property.    Cost   of   litigation,
        complicated the procedures of law and uneconomic nature of
        the deal in terms of the cost involved in property are the
        other reasons stated by the respondents.
 
               In  view  of the limited assertion of equal rights
        to property by women, it is necesary to understand that if
        equality exists only as a phenomenon outside the awareness
        and approval of the majority of the people, it  cannot  be
        realzed  by  a section of women socialized in tradtions of
        inequality.  Thus there is need to social awareness and to
        educate  people  to  change  their  attitude  towards  the
        concept of  gender equality.  The need of the hour is also
        to focus attention on changing  the  social  attitudes  in
        favour  of  equality  for  all  by enacting a uniform law.
        This is what the  Law  Commission  suggests  and  we  have
        attempted to draft a Bill which is annexed.
 
        Bill No.  _______ of 1998
 
                       An Act to amend the Hindu Succession Act, 1956.
 
                       Whereas the Constitution of India has proclaimed
        equality before the law as a Fundamental Right;
 
                       And  Whereas  the exclusion of the daughter from
        participation in coparcenary ownership merely  by  reason
        of her sex is contrary thereto;
 
                       And  Whereas  such exclusion of the daughter has
        also led to the creation of the socially pernicious dowry
        system with its attendant social evils.
 
                       And Whereas this baneful system of dowry has  to
        be   eradicated   by   positive   measures   which   will
        simultaneously ameliorate the condition of women  in  the
        Hindu society;
 
                       Be  it  enacted by Parliament in the fifty-first
        year of the Republic of India as follows:
 
        Short Title, Extent and Commencement
               1.(1) This Act may  be  called  the  Hindu  Succession
                 (Amendment) Act, 2000.
               (2) It  extends  to  the whole of India except Jammu
                 and Kashmir;
               (3) It shall be deemed to have come  into  force  on
                 the day of ________________, 1998
 
               After  Section  6 of the Hindu Succession Act 1956 the
        following sections shall be inserted  by  virtue  of  the
        Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 1998 (.....  of 1998).
 
        6A.    Notwithstanding  anything contained in section 6
        of this Act -
 
                Equal  rights  to   daughters   in   coparcenary
                 property
 
               (i) in  a  Joint Hindu family governed by Mitakshara
                 Law, the daughter of a coparcener shall by birth
                 become a coparcener in her own right in the same
                 manner as the son and have the  same  rights  in
                 the  coparcenary  property as she would have had
                 if she had been a son, inclusive of the right to
                 claim by survivorship, and shall be  subject  to
                 the same liabilities and disabilities in respect
                 thereto as the son;
 
               (ii) at  a partition in such a joint Hindu Family the
                 coparcenary property shall be so divided  as  to
                 allot  to  a  daughter  the  same  share  as  is
                 allotable to a son.
 
                       Provided   that   the   share   which    a
                 pre-deceased  son  or  a  pre-deceased  daughter
                 would have got at the partition if he or she had
                 been alive at the time of the partition shall be
                 allotted  to  the  surviving   child   of   such
                 predeceased   son   or   of   such  pre-deceased
                 daughter;
 
                       Provided further that the share  allotable
                 to  the pre-deceased child of a pre-deceased son
                 or of a pre-deceased daughter, if such child had
                 been alive at the time of the  partition,  shall
                 be  allotted  to  the child of such pre-deceased
                 child  of  the  pre-deceased  son  or   of   the
                 pre-deceased daughter as the case may be;
 
               (iii) any  property  to  which  a female Hindu becomes
                 entitled by virtue of the provisions  of  clause
                 (i)  shall  be held by her with the incidents of
                 coparcenary  ownership  and  shall  be  regarded
                 notwithstanding  anything contained in this Bill
                 or anyother law for the time being in force,  as
                 property  capable of being disposed of by her by
                 will or other testamentary disposition;
 
        6B. Interest to devolve by survivorship on death
 
               When a female Hindu dies after the  commencement
           of  the  Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2000 having
           at the time of her death an interest in  a  Mitakshara
           coparcenary  property,  her  interest  in the property
           shall devolve by survivorship as in the case of  males
           upon  the surviving members of the coparcenary and not
           in accordance this Act.
 
               Provided that if the deceased had left any child
           or child of a pre-deceased child the interest  of  the
           deceased  in the Mitakshara coparcenary property shall
           devolve by testamentary or intestate succession as the
           case may be, under this Act and not by survivorship.
 
               Explanation-1.- For the purposes of this section, the 
         interest of a female Hindu Mitakshara coparcener shall
           be deemed to be the share in the property  that  would
           have  been  allotted  to  her  if  a  partition of the
           property had taken place immediately before her  death
           irrespective  of  whether  she  was  entitled to claim
           partition or not.
 
               Nothing contained in the proviso to this section
           shall be construed as enabling a  person  who,  before
           the  death  of  deceased,  has  separated  himself  or
           herself from the coparcenary, or any  of  his  or  her
           heirs  to  claim  on intestacy a share in the interest
           referred to therein.
 
        6C. Preferential  right  to  acquire   property   in
                 certain cases
 
        (1)    Where, after the commencement of the Hindu
                 Succession  (Amendment) Act, 2000 an interest in
                 any immovable property of an intestate or in any
                 business carried  on  by  him  or  her,  whether
                 solely  or  in  conjunction with others devolves
                 under section 6A or section 6B upon two or  more
                 heirs  and  any  one  of  such heirs proposes to
                 transfer his or her interest in the property  or
                 business,    the    other   heirs   shall   have
                 preferential  right  to  acquire  the   interest
                 proposed to be transferred.
 
        (2)    The  consideration  for which any interest
                 in  the  property  of  the   deceased   may   be
                 transferred  under  this  section  shall  in the
                 absence of any agreement between the parties, be
                 determined by the court,  on  application  being
                 made  to  it  in  this behalf, and if any person
                 proposing to acquire the interest is not willing
                 to  acquire  it   for   the   consideration   so
                 determined,  such  person shall be liable to pay
                 all costs of or incidential to the application.
 
        (3)    If there are two or more heirs,  proposing
                 to acquire any interest under this section, that
                 heir  who  offers  the highest consideration for
                 the transfer shall be preferred.
 
               Explanation:- In this section `court' means the court 
           within the limits of whose jurisdiction the  immovable
           property is situate or the business is carried on, and
           includes  any  other  court which the State Government
           may, by notification in the official  Gazette  specify
           in this behalf.
 
         FOOT NOTE
 
        1.      M.  Indira Devi,  "Woman's  Assertion  of  Legal
                 Rights  to Ownership of Property" p.168 in Women
                 AND Few, Contemporary Problems, (1994) edt by L.
                 Sarkar & B.  Sivaramayya/
 
        2       Mayne, Treaties  on  Hindu  Law  &  Usage,  14th
                 Edition ed.  by Alladi Kuppuswami, (1996)
 
        3.             AIR 1978 SC 1239
 
        4.             AIR 1985 SC 716
 
        5.             Ibid.
        6.      Ratna  Kapur  and   Brenda   Cossman,   Feminist
                 Engagements with Law in India (1996)
        7.      B.     Sivaramayya,   "Coparcenary   Rights   to
                 Daughters  Constitutional  and  interpretational
                 issues" (1997) 3 SCC(J), page 25.
        8.      (1996) 2 SCC 380
        9.             Ibid
        10.    Proviso to section 23 of HSA.
        11. Department  of  Cooperation & Applied Economics,
                 Andhra  University,  Agricultural  Growth  Rural
                 Development  and Poverty selected writings of G.
                 Parthasarthy 497 (1998 as noted in Supra, n 1.
 
 
                                                            
ANNEXURE - IV
                                                     
The Kerala Joint Hindu Family System
(Abolition) Act, 1975*
 
          (Act 30 of 1976 amended by Act 15 of 1978)
          ----------
 
         An Act to abolish the joint family  system  among
                Hindus in the state of Kerala.
 
         Preamble:- Whereas it is expedient to abolish the
                joint  family system among Hindus in the state of
                Kerala
 
         Be it enacted in the  Twenty-Sixth  Year  of  the
                Republic of India as follows:-
 
               1.      Short title, extent and commencement -
                (1)  The  Act  may  be  called the Kerala
                        Joint  Hindu  Family  System  (Abolition)
                        Act, 1975.
                (2)  It  extends  to  the  whole State of
                        Kerala.
               ** (3) It shall come into force on such date
                        as the Government  may,  by  notification
                        the Gazette, appoint.
 
 
 
        2.     Definition  -  In  this Act, "joint Hindu family"
        means any Hindu family with  community  of  property  and
        includes-
 
               *The   above  Act  received  the  assent  of  the
        President on the 10th  day  of  August,  Kerala  Gazette,
        Extraordinary No.484, dated 17.8.1976.
 
               **The  Act  came  into  force on 1-12-1976 as per
        notification No.  17469/Leg (A)2/69 Law,  dated  18.11.76
        S.R.O.  1185/76.  K.G.No.  46, dated 23.11.1976.
 
                (1)    a  tarward or tavazhi governed by
                        the Madras Marumakkattayam Act, 1932, the
                        Travancore Nayar Act,  II  of  1100,  the
                        Travancore  Ezhava  Act  III of 1100, the
                        Nanjinad  Vellala  Act   of   1101,   the
                        Travancore  kshatriya  Act  of  1108, the
                        Travancore  krishnavaka   Marumakkattayam
                        Act,  VII  of  1115, the Cochin Nayar Act
                        XXXIX   of   1113,    or    the    Cochin
                        Marumakkattayam Act, XXXIII of 1113;
 
                (2)    a  kutumba  or kavaru governed by
                        Madras Aliyasantana Act, 1949;
 
                (3)    an illom governed by  the  Kerala
                        Nambudiri Act, 1958; and
 
                (4)    an    undivided    Hindu   family
                        governed by the Mitakshara law.
 
               3. Birth in family not to give rise to right
                        in property - 
 
                       On and after the commencement  of
                        this  Act  no right to claim any interest
                        in any property of an ancestor during his
                        or her lifetime which is founded  on  the
                        mere  fact  that the claimant was born in
                        the  family  of  the  ancestor  shall  be
                        recognized in any court.
               
               (4) Joint  tenancy  to be replaced by tenancy
                        in common --
               
                (1) All members  of  an  undivided  Hindu
                        family  governed  by  the  Mitakshara law
                        holding any coparcenary property  on  the
                        day  this Act comes into force shall with
                        effect from that day, be deemed  to  hold
                        it as tenants-in-common as if a partition
                        had  taken place among all the members of
                        that undivided Hindu family  as  respects
                        such  property and as if each one of them
                        is holding his or her share separately as
                        full owner thereof;
 
                Provided that nothing in this sub-section
                        shall affect the right to maintenance  or
                        the right to marriage or funeral expenses
                        out  of  the  coparcenary property or the
                        right  to  residence,  if  any,  if   the
                        members  of  an  undivided  Hindu family,
                        other  than  persons  who   have   become
                        entitled to hold their shares separately,
                        &  any such right can be enforced if this
                        Act had not been passed.
 
                (2)    All  members  of  a  joint  Hindu
                        family,  other  than  an  undivided Hindu
                        family referred to  in  sub-section  (1),
                        holding  any joint family property on the
                        day of this Act comes into force,  shall,
                        with  effect  from  that day be deemed to
                        hold it as  tenants-in-common,  as  if  a
                        partition of such property per capita had
                        taken  place among all the members of the
                        family  living  on  the  day   aforesaid,
                        whether  such  members  were  entitled to
                        claim such partition or not under the law
                        applicable to them, and as i.e.  each one
                        of the members  is  holding  his  or  her
                        share separately as full owner thereof.
 
         NOTES
 
               By  virtue  of  this Act the joint family
                system  of  the  Marumakkattayam   Tarwad   stood
                abolished   by  the  operation  of  law  and  the
                properties  of  the   joint   family   are   held
                thereafter by the members of the joiint family as
                tenants-in-common as if there was a partition.1
 
               If under the custom, a female is entitled
                to ask for partition or is granted a share in the
                property  in lieu of her right to maintenance, or
                marriage expenses, then only she is entitled to a
                share  in  the  property.2  Where  there  was   a
                partition  in  a  joint  family consisting of the
                asessee, his wife and son  prior  to  the  coming
                into  force  of  this  Act,  it was held that the
                property held by the assessee was his  individual
                property  and  the  wife  is  not entitled to any
                share in it.  Therefore, the entire  income  from
                the  property  in the hands of the assessee is to
                be assessed in his hand as an individual.3
 
               After passing of Joint  Family  Abolition
                Act, 1975, section 17 of the Hindu Succession Act
                does not become inoperative in respect of persons
                living on 18.6.1956 (Date of coming into force of
                Hindu  Succession  Act)  and  who  died after the
                passing  of  Joint  Family   Abolition   Act   on
                1.12.1976.   It  also does not become inoperative
                in respect of persons who were born on  or  after
                18.6.1956 but before 1.12.1976 and who died on or
                after that date.
 
               5. Rule  of  pious  obligations of Hindu son
                        abrogated.-
 
                (1)    After the  commencement  of  this
                        Act,  no court shall, save as provided in
                        sub-sections (2) recognize any  right  to
                        proceed   against   a  son,  grandson  or
                        great-grandson for the  recovery  of  any
                        debt  due from his father, grandfather or
                        great grandfather or  any  alienation  of
                        property in respect of or in satisfaction
                        of  any  such  debt  on the ground of the
                        pious obligation under the Hindu law, the
                        son,  grandson  or  great   grandson   to
                        discharge any such debt.
 
                (2)    In   the   case   of   any   debt
                        contracted  before  the  commencement  of
                        this    Act,    nothing    contained   in
                        sub-section(1) shall affect-
 
                (a) the  right  of  any  creditor  to
                                proceed against the son, grandson
                                or  great  grandson,  as the case
                                may be; or
                (b) any alienation made in respect of
                                or in satisfaction of,  any  such
                                debt,   and  any  such  right  or
                                alienation shall  be  enforceable
                                under    the    rule   of   pious
                                obligation in the same manner and
                                to the same extent  as  it  would
                                have been enforceable if this Act
                                had not been passed.
 
               Explanation- For  the  purposes of sub-section
                                (2),   the   expression    "son",
                                "grandson"  or  "great  grandson"
                                shall be deemed to refer  to  the
                                son,  grandson or great grandson,
                                as the case may be, who was  born
                                or    adopted    prior   to   the
                                commencement of this Act.
 
         The expression "Hindu Law" in this section has to
                be understood  in  a  broad  sense  as  including
                Marumakkattayam  Law  which is also part of Hindu
                Law.4
 
               6. Liability  of  members  of  joint   Hindu
                        family  for  debts  contracted before Act
                        not affected - 
 
                       Where a debt binding on  a  joint
                        Hindu  family  has been contracted before
                        the commencement of this Act by Karnavan,
                        Yejman, Manager or Karta, as the case may
                        be,  of  the   family,   nothing   herein
                        contained  shall  affect the liability of
                        any member of the family to discharge any
                        such debt and any such liability  may  be
                        enforced   against  all  or  any  of  the
                        members liable, therefore,  in  the  same
                        manner and to the same extent as it would
                        have been enforceable if this Act had not
                        been passed.
 
               7. Repeal.-
 
                (1)  Save as otherwise expressly provided
                        in  this   Act,   any   text,   rule   or
                        interpretation of Hindu law or any custom
                        or  usage  part  of  that  law  in  force
                        immediately before  the  commencement  of
                        this  Act shall cease to have effect with
                        respect to any matter for which provision
                        is made in this Act.
 
                (2) The Acts mentioned in  the  schedule,
                        in  so  far as they apply to the whole or
                        any part of  the  State  of  Kerala,  are
                        hereby repealed.
 
        8.      Proclamation  IX of 1124 and Act XVI 1961
                        to continue in force5
 
               Notwithstanding any  thing  contained  in
                this  Act  or in any other law for the time being
                in force, Proclamation (IX of  1124)  dated  29th
                June,   1949,  promulgated  by  the  Maharaja  of
                Cochin, as  amended  by  the  Valiamma  Thampuran
                Kovilakam  Estate and the Palace Fund (Partition)
                and Act, the Kerala  Joint  Hindu  Family  system
                (Abolition)Amendment  Act  1978  and the valiamma
                Thampuron    Kovilakam    Estate    and    Palace
                Fund(Partition)5 1961 (16 of 1961), as amended by
                the  said  Act, shall continue to be in force and
                shall apply to the Valiamma  Thampuran  Kovilakam
                Estate  &  the  Palace  Fund  administered by the
                Board of Trustees appointed under  section  3  of
                the said proclamation.
 
        The Schedule
        [See section 7(2)
        Acts repealed
 
               (1) The   Madras  Marumakkathayam  Act,  1932
                        (XXII of 1933);
               (2) The Madras Aliyasantana Act,  1949(IX  of
                        1949);
               (3) The Travancore Nayar Act, II of 1100;
               (4) The Travancore Ezhava Act, III of 1100;
               (5) The  Nanjinad  Vallala Act of 1101 (VI of
                        1101);
               (6) The Travancore  Kshatriya  Act  of  1108,
                        (VII of 1108);
               (7) The         Travancore        Krishnavaka
                        Marumakkathayee Act, (VII of 1115);
               (8) The Cochin Thiyya Act, VII of 1107;
               (9) The Cochin Makkathayam Thiyya  Act,  XVII
                        of 1115;
               (10) The Cochin Nayar Act, XXIX of 1113;
               (11) The Cochin Marumakkathayam Act, XXXIII of
                        1113;
               (12) The Kerala Nambudiri  Act,  1958  (27  of
                        1958)
         FOOT NOTES
 
        1. WTO  v Madhavan Nambiar(K)(1988) 169 ITR 810; CWT
                v Padmanabhan (PM) (1989) 179 ITR 243.
 
        2. CWT v Padmanabhan (PM)(1989)179 ITR 243;
 
        3. Deputy CAgIT v  Chidambaram  (RS)(1994)  209  ITR
                531(Ker)  distinguishing Surjit Lal Chhabda v CIT
                (1975) 101 ITR 776 (SC): 1976(2) SCR 164; Krishna
                Prasad  (C)  v  CIT   (1974)   97   ITR   493(C);
                Narendranath  (NV)  v CWT (1969) 74 ITR 190 (SC):
                1970 SC 14: Gowli Bhddanna v CIT  (1966)  60  ITR
                293 (SC).
 
        4. Chellamma v Narayana 1993 Ker 146 (FB).
 
        5. By  section  8  of  Valiamma  Thampuram Kovilakam
                Estate and the Palace Fund  (Partition)  and  the
                Kerala  Joint  Hindu  Family  System  (Abolition)
                Amendment  Act,  1978  (Act  15  of  1978)  after
                section 7 of the Kerala Joint Hindu Family System
                (Abolition)  Act, 1975 (Act 30 of 1976) section 8
                was inserted and shall be deemed always  to  have
                been inserted.
                                                            
 
ANDHRA PRADESH ACTS, ORDINANCES
AND REGULATIONS, ETC.
 
                       The  following Act of Andhra Pradesh Legislative
        Assembly which was reserved by the Governor on  the  10th
        October,  1985  for  the  consideration and assent of the
        President received the assent of  the  President  on  the
        16th  May,  1986  and  the  said  assent  is hereby first
        published on the 22nd May, 1986  in  the  Andhra  Pradesh
        Gazette for general information.
 
         ACT NO. 13 OF 1986
 
                An  Act  to amend the Hindu Succession Act, 1956
                 in  its  application  to  the  State  of  Andhra
                 Pradesh.
 
                Whereas the Constitution of India has proclaimed
                 equality before the law as a Fundamental Right;
 
                And  Whereas  the exclusion of the daughter from
                 participation in coparcenary ownership merely by
                 reason of her sex is contrary thereto;
 
                And Whereas such exclusion of the  daughter  has
                 led  to  the creation of the socially pernicious
                 dowry system with its attendant social ills.
                And  Whereas this baneful system of dowry has to
                 be eradicated by positive  measures  which  will
                 simultaneously ameliorate the condition of women
                 in the Hindu society;
 
                Be  it  enacted  by  Legislative Assembly of the
                 State of Andhra Pradesh in the Thirty-Sixth Year
                 of the Republic of India as follows:
 
         Short Title, Extent and Commencement
 
               1.(1) This  Act  may  be  called  the Hindu Succession
                 (Andhra Pradesh Amendment) Act, 1986
               (2) It extends to the whole of the State  of  Andhra
                 Pradesh.
               (3) It  shall  be  deemed to have come into force on
                 the 5th September, 1985.
 
               2 Insertion of a new Chapter II-A in  Central  Act
                 30 of 1956
 
                In the Hindu Succession Act,  1956  (hereinafter
                 referred  to as this Act) after Chapter -II, the
                 following chapter shall be inserted, namely:-
 
 
 
CHAPTER  - II-A.
 
Succession by survivorship
Equal rights to daughter in coparcenary property
 
               29A.- Notwithstanding anything contained in Section  6
                 of this Act-
 
               (i) in a Joint Hindu family governed  by  Mitakshara
                 Law, the daughter of a coparcener shall by birth
                 become a coparcener in her own right in the same
                 manner  as  the  son and have the same rights in
                 the coparcenary property as she would  have  had
                 if she had been a son, inclusive of the right to
                 claim  by  survivorship, and shall be subject to
                 the same liabilities and disabilities in respect
                 thereto as the son;
 
               (ii) at  a partition in such a joint Hindu Family the
                 coparcenary property shall be so divided  as  to
                 allot  to  a  daughter  the  same  share  as  is
                 allotable to a son.
 
                       Provided   that   the   share   which    a
                 pre-deceased  son  or  a  pre-deceased  daughter
                 would have got at the partition if he or she had
                 been alive at the time of the partition shall be
                 allotted  to  the  surviving   child   of   such
                 predeceased   son   or   of   such  pre-deceased
                 daughter;
 
                       Provided further that the share  allotable
                 to  the pre-deceased child of a pre-deceased son
                 or of a pre-deceased daughter, if such child had
                 been alive at the time of the  partition,  shall
                 be  allotted  to  the child of such pre-deceased
                 child  of  the  pre-deceased  son  or   of   the
                 pre-deceased daughter as the case may be;
 
               (iii) any  property  to  which  a female Hindu becomes
                 entitled by virtue of the provisions  of  clause
                 (i)  shall  be held by her with the incidents of
                 coparcenary  ownership  and  shall  be  regarded
                 notwithstanding  anything  contained in this Act
                 or any other law for the time being in force, as
                 property capable of being disposed of by her  by
                 will or other testamentary disposition;
 
               (iv) nothing in clause (ii) shall apply to a daughter
                 married prior to or to  a  partition  which  had
                 been  effected  before the commencement of Hindu
                 Succession (Andhra Pradesh Amendment) Act, 1986.
 
                       Interest to devolve by survivorship on death
 
                29-B   When   a   female  Hindu  dies  after  the
                 commencement of  the  Hindu  Succession  (Andhra
                 Pradesh  Amendment) Act, 1986 having at the time
                 of  her  death  an  interest  in  a   Mitakshara
                 coparcenary   property,   her  interest  in  the
                 property shall devolve by survivorship upon  the
                 surviving  members of the coparcenary and not in
                 accordance this Act.
 
                       Provided that if the deceased had left any
                 child or  child  of  a  pre-deceased  child  the
                 interest  of  the  deceased  in  the  Mitakshara
                 coparcenary   property    shall    devolve    by
                 testamentary or intestate succession as the case
                 may be, under this Act and not by survivorship.
 
                Explanation-1.-   For   the   purposes  of  this
                 section,  the  interest  of   a   female   Hindu
                 Mitakshara  coparcener shall be deemed to be the
                 share in  the  property  that  would  have  been
                 allotted  to  her if a partition of the property
                 had taken place  immediately  before  her  death
                 irrespective  of  whether  she  was  entitled to
                 claim partition or not.
 
                Explanation 2:Nothing contained in  the  proviso
                 to this section shall be construed as enabling a
                 person  who,  before  the death of deceased, had
                 separated   himself   or   herself   from    the
                 coparcenary  or any of his or her heirs to claim
                 on intestacy a share in the interest referred to
                 therein.
 
        29-C Preferential  right  to  acquire   property   in
                 certain cases
 
                       (1) Where, after the commencement of the Hindu
                       Succession (Andhra Pradesh Amendment) Act,
                       1986 an interest in any immovable property
                       of an intestate or in any business carried
                       on by him or her,  whether  solely  or  in
                       conjunction  with  others  devolves, under
                       section 29A or section 29-B  upon  two  or
                       more  heirs  and  any  one  of  such heirs
                       proposes to transfer his or  her  interest
                       in  the  property  or  business, the other
                       heirs shall  have  preferential  right  to
                       acquire   the   interest  proposed  to  be
                       transferred.
 
                       (2)     The  consideration   for   which   any
                       interest  in  the property of the deceased
                       may  be  transferred  under  this  section
                       shall  in  the  absence  of  any agreement
                       between the parties, be determined by  the
                       court,  on application being made to it in
                       this behalf, and if any  person  proposing
                       to  acquire the interest is not willing to
                       acquire  it  for  the   consideration   so
                       determined, such person shall be liable to
                       pay  all  costs  of  or incidential to the
                       application.
 
                       (3)     If  there  are  two  or  more   heirs,
                       proposing  to  acquire  any interest under
                       this section, that  heir  who  offers  the
                       highest  consideration  for  the  transfer
                       shall be preferred.
 
                        Explanation:-   In  this  section  `court'
                       means the court within the limits of whose
                       jurisdiction  the  immovable  property  is
                       situate or the business is carried on, and
                       includes  any  other court which the State
                       Government may,  by  notification  in  the
                       official Gazette, specify in this behalf.
 
TAMIL NADU ACTS & ORDINANCES
 
                       The following Act of Andhra Pradesh  Legislative
        Assembly received the assent of the President on the 15th
        January,   1990  and  is  hereby  published  for  general
        information.
 
         ACT NO.  1 OF 1990
 
                An  Act  further  to  amend the Hindu Succession
                 Act, 1956, in its application to  the  State  of
                 Tamil Nadu.
 
                WHEREAS the Constitution of India has proclaimed
                 equality before the law as a Fundamental Right;
 
                AND  WHEREAS  the exclusion of the daughter from
                 participation in coparcenary ownership merely by
                 reason of her sex is contrary thereto;
 
                AND WHEREAS such exclusion of the  daughter  has
                 led  to  the creation of the socially pernicious
                 dowry system with its attendant social evils.
 
                AND WHEREAS this baneful system of dowry has  to
                 be  eradicated  by  positive measures which will
                 simultaneously  ameliorate  the  conditions   of
                 women in the Hindu society;
 
                Be  it  enacted  by  Legislative Assembly of the
                 State of Tamil Nadu in the Fortieth Year of  the
                 Republic of India as follows:
 
         Short Title, Extent and Commencement
 
               1.(1) This Act may  be  called  the  Hindu  Succession
                 (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 1989
               (2) It  extends  to  the whole of the State of Tamil
                 Nadu
               (3) It shall be deemed to have come  into  force  on
                 the 25th day of March, 1989.
 
        Insertion of new Chapter II-A
 
               2. In  the  Hindu Succession Act, 1956 (hereinafter
                 referred to as the Principal Act), after Chapter
                 -II, the following chapter  shall  be  inserted,
                 namely:-
 
                                                             
 
CHAPTER - II-A.
 
Succession by survivorship
 
Equal rights to daughter in coparcenary property
 
               29A.- Notwithstanding anything contained in Section  6
                 of this Act.
 
               (i) in  a  Joint Hindu family governed by Mitakshara
                 Law, the daughter of a coparcener shall by birth
                 become a coparcener in her own right in the same
                 manner as the son and have the  same  rights  in
                 the  coparcenary  property as she would have had
                 if she had been a son, inclusive of the right to
                 claim by survivorship; and shall be  subject  to
                 the same liabilities and disabilities in respect
                 thereto as the son;
 
               (ii) at  a partition in such a joint Hindu Family the
                 coparcenary property shall be so divided  as  to
                 allot  to  a  daughter  the  same  share  as  is
                 allotable to a son.
 
                       Provided   that   the   share   which    a
                 pre-deceased  son  or  a  pre-deceased  daughter
                 would have got at the partition if he or she had
                 been alive at the time of the partition shall be
                 allotted  to  the  surviving   child   of   such
                 predeceased   son   or   of   such  pre-deceased
                 daughter;
 
                       Provided further that the share  allotable
                 to  the pre-deceased child of a pre-deceased son
                 or of a pre-deceased daughter, if such child had
                 been alive at the time of the  partition,  shall
                 be  allotted  to  the child of such pre-deceased
                 child  of  the  pre-deceased  son  or   of   the
                 pre-deceased daughter as the case may be;
 
               (iii) any  property  to  which  a female Hindu becomes
                 entitled by virtue of the provisions  of  clause
                 (i)  shall  be held by her with the incidents of
                 coparcenary ownership  and  shall  be  regarded,
                 notwithstanding  anything  contained in this Act
                 or any other law for the time being in force, as
                 property capable of being disposed of by her  by
                 will or other testamentary disposition;
 
               (iv) nothing   in  this  chapter  shall  apply  to  a
                 daughter  married  before  the  commencement  of
                 Hindu  Succession  (Tamil  Nadu  Amendment) Act,
                 1986.
 
               (v) Nothing  in  clause  (ii)  shall  supply  to   a
                 partition  which  had  been  effected before the
                 date    of    commencement    of    the    Hindu
                 Succession(Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 1989.
 
        29-B. Interest to devolve by survivorship on death
 
                       When   a   female  Hindu  dies  after  the
                 commencement of the Hindu Succession (Tamil Nadu
                 Amendment) Act, 1989 having at the time  of  her
                 death,  an  interest in a Mitakshara coparcenary
                 property by virtue of the provisions of  Section
                 29-A, her interest in the property shall devolve
                 by  survivorship  upon  the surviving members of
                 the coparcenary and not in accordance with  this
                 Act.
 
                       Provided that if the deceased had left any
                 child  or  child  of  a  pre-deceased child, the
                 interest  of  the  deceased  in  the  Mitakshara
                 coparcenary    property    shall    devolve   by
                 testamentary or  intestate  succession,  as  the
                 case   may   be,  under  this  Act  and  not  by
                 survivorship.
 
               Explanation-I.- For the purposes of this section, the 
                interest of a female Hindu Mitakshara coparcener
                 shall be deemed to be the share in the  property
                 that  would  have  been  allotted  to  her  if a
                 partition  of  the  property  had  taken   place
                 immediately  before  her  death, irrespective of
                 whether she was entitled to claim  partition  or
                 not.
 
         Explanation II:       Nothing contained in  the  proviso  to
                this section shall be construed  as  enabling  a
                 person  who,  before  the death of deceased, had
                 separated   himself   or   herself   from    the
                 coparcenary,  or any of his or her heir to claim
                 on intestacy a share in the interest referred to
                 therein.
 
        29-C Preferential   right   to  acquire  property  in
                 certain cases
 
               (1)     Where, after the commencement of the Hindu
                 Succession (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 1989,  an
                 interest   in   any  immovable  property  of  an
                 intestate or in any business carried on  by  him
                 or  her,  whether  solely or in conjunction with
                 others, devolves under section  29A  or  section
                 29B  upon  two or more heirs and any one of such
                 heirs proposes to transfer his or  her  interest
                 in  the  property  or  business, the other heirs
                 shall have preferential  right  to  acquire  the
                 interest proposed to be transferred.
 
               (2)     The  consideration  for which any interest
                 in  the  property  of  the   deceased   may   be
                 transferred  under  this  section  shall, in the
                 absence of any agreement between the parties, be
                 determined by the  court  on  application  being
                 made  to  it  in  this  behalf and if any person
                 proposing to acquire the interest is not willing
                 to  acquire  it   for   the   consideration   so
                 determined,  such  person shall be liable to pay
                 all costs of or incidential, to the application.
 
               (3)     If there are two or more  heirs  proposing
                 to acquire any interest under this section, that
                 heir  who  offers  the highest consideration for
                 the transfer shall be preferred.
 
               Explanation:- In this section `court' means the court 
                within the  limits  of  whose  jurisdiction  the
                 immovable property is situate or the business is
                 carried  on,  and includes any other court which
                 the State Government may, by notification in the
                 Tamil Nadu Government Gazette  specify  in  this
                 behalf.
 
        3.      Certain Partitions to be null and void
 
                       Notwithstanding anything contained in  the
                 principal  Act  or in any other law for the time
                 being in force, where on or after the  25th  day
                 of   March,   1989   and   before  the  date  of
                 publication  of  the  Act  to  the  Tamil   Nadu
                 Government  Gazette, any partition in respect of
                 coparcenary property of a Joint Hindu Family has
                 been effected  and  such  partition  is  not  in
                 accordance  with the provisions of the principal
                 Act, as amended  by  this  Act,  such  partition
                 shall be deemed, to be, and to have always been,
                 null and void.