The Hindu Succession Act, 1956, is a law & preamble of the Act signifies that an Act to amend and codify the law relating to intestate succession among Hindus. The Act lays down a uniform and comprehensive system of succession whereas attempt has been made to ensure equality inheritance rights between sons and daughters. It applies to all Hindus including Buddhists Jains and Sikhs. The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 preserves the dual mode of devolution of property under the Mitakshara School. The joint family still devolves by Survivorship with this important exception that if a Mitakshara Coparcener dies leaving behind mother, widow, daughter, daughter’s daughter, son’s daughter, son’s son’s daughter, son’s widow, son’s son’s widow, or daughter’s son his interest in the joint family property will devolve by succession.
Succession to the property of a Hindu Male under The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 deals with the inheritance to: a) The separate properties of a Mitakshara male, b) The separate and coparceners properties of a Dayabhaga male, and c) The undivided interest in the joint family property of a Mitakshara Coparcener. The Act does not apply to the property of a Hindu who is married under the Special Marriage Act to a non -Hindu. Heirs of a Hindu Male The heirs of Hindu male fall under the following categories:- 1) Class I heirs 2) Class II heirs 3) Agnates 4) Cognates, and 5) Government Class I heirs:- The property of a Hindu Male dying intestate would be given first to heirs within Class I are basically Widow, Son, Daughter & mother
They are: Mother, Widow, Daughter, Son, Widow of a predeceased son, Son of a predeceased son, Daughter of a predeceased son, Widow of a predeceased son of a predeceased son, Daughter of a predeceased son of a predeceased son, Son of a predeceased son of a predeceased son, Daughter of a predeceased daughter, and Son of a predeceased daughter. Some new heirs are added by Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005. They are: Son of a predeceased daughter of a predeceased daughter, Daughter of a predeceased daughter of a predeceased daughter, Daughter of a predeceased son of a predeceased daughter, and Daughter of a predeceased daughter of a predeceased son. Shares of Class I heirs:
Section 10, Hindu Succession Act deals with the distribution of the property of the Hindu Male, among class I heirs equally. If Son has died then only his share goes to all his class 1 hairs.
All these heirs inherit simultaneously and to the exclusion of other heirs. In the absence of any of the heirs in this category,
The Hindu Succession Act, 1956, is the statute which comprehensively covers all matters relating to the intestate and unwilled succession of Hindus. This act has undergone a number of amendments in recent years- including daughters to become coparceners, giving them a right to a share in the joint family property and abolition of a number of out-dated doctrines. These are certainly indicative steps towards gender equality, but there still remain many aspects of Hindu succession law that are patriarchal and are in pressing need of amendment.
Class 2 heirs include:
Father, Sons daughter’s son, Sons daughter’s daughter, Brother, Sister, Daughters son’s son, Daughters son’s daughter, Daughters daughter’s son, Daughters Daughter’s daughter, Brothers son, Sisters son, Brothers daughter, Sisters daughter, Fathers father, Fathers mother, Fathers widow, Brothers widow, Fathers brother, Fathers sister, Mothers father, Mothers mother, Mothers brother & Mothers sister
The devolution in Class II heirs is made in the absence of any heir in Class I and in such a manner that heirs specified in a particular entry share equally. For this purpose if more than one heir is specified in a single entry, they share the property simultaneously and equally to the exclusion of those specified in subsequent entries.
A person is said to be an agnate of another if the two are related by blood or adoption wholly through males. Agnate relationship does not extend to relationship by marriage and is restricted to relationship by blood. Also, agnate does not include widows of lineal descendants of the intestate.
If a Hindu male passes away without a Will and has no class 1 or class 2 heirs or agnates, then the succession would be through cognates. Cognates are ones who are related to the intestate by blood or adoption but not wholly, through males. Thus mother’s brother’s son and brother’s daughter’s son are cognates, eligible for heirship.
The law laid down by this is quite simple; in the absence of any son or daughter, property inherited from the parents shall pass to the heirs of the father, and property inherited from the matrimonial relations will pass to the heirs of the husband. Therefore, the property reverts to the same line or family from which it came.
Family Arrangement/Family Settlement can be executed to avoid all future disputes.
Please refer to separate article on Family Arrangement