Succession of Property of Female Hindu
Succession of Property of Female Hindu

According to section 15 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, the property of a female Hindu dying intestate shall devolve according to the rules set out in section 16. Thus to know how the property of a female Hindu dying intestate shall devolve, one needs to know the rules and the condition laid down in section 15 and section 16, respectively.

Sources of Property

The source of property is a vital factor in deciding the rule of devolution.

Usually, a person acquires the property in two forms:
1. The property that comes through succession is called the inherited property.
2. The property that a person buys in their life is referred to as self-acquired property.

Bare Act PDFs

General Provision of Succession

Section 15(1) of the Hindu Succession Act is a general provision that applies only in such cases where the property does not come in succession. It means the property is other than inherited property.

It states that the property of a female Hindu dying intestate shall devolve according to the rule of section 16:

(a) Firstly, upon sons and daughters (including any pre-deceased son or daughter) and husband;
(b) Secondly, upon the heirs of husband;
(c) Thirdly, upon the mother and father;
(d) Fourthly, upon the heirs of the father;
(e) Lastly, upon the heirs of the mother.

Now let’s make it simpler using this table.

Section 15 (1)Includes
(a) Sons and daughters and husbandSon and daughter include Legitimate or illegitimate, naturally born or adopted, a child born out of the void or voidable marriage but doesn’t include step-son and step-daughter.

Husband means legally wedded husband. Thus husband of void or voidable or divorced marriage Is not allowed to succeed.
(b) Heirs of husbandHeirs of the husband shall be decided firstly from class 1 then from class 2 given in the schedule of section 8 of the said Act then from agnates and then from cognates.
(c) Mother and fatherFather includes Legal father but not step-father.

Step-mother not included.
(d) Heirs of fatherHeirs of the Father shall be decided firstly from class 1 then from class 2 given in the schedule of section 8 of the said Act, then from agnates and then from cognates.
(e) Heirs of motherHeirs of the mother shall be decided according to section – 15(1), which mean this order will follow again.

The order of succession is in the order specified above. Thus, the heirs in the first entry take the property simultaneously and in exclusion to all others and so on.

Now, clause 2 of section 15 has an overriding effect on clause 1.

Section 15(2) is divided into:

Section 15(2)(a)Section 15(2)(b)
Where property is inherited by a female Hindu from her father or mother:

Then during the devolution of this property, if she had no son or daughter (including any pre-deceased son or daughter), the property will not devolve according to section 15(1) but goes to the heirs of her father.
Where property is inherited by a female Hindu from her husband or father in law:

Then during the devolution of this property, if she had no son or daughter (including any pre-deceased son or daughter), the property will not devolve according to section 15(1) but goes to the heirs of the husband.

Note: The rules governing the intestate succession of a Hindu male are specified in sections 8 to 13 of the Hindu Succession Act.

Now, after knowing where the property will be devolved, the next question will be how this devolution of property occur? For this, we have to jump to section 16 of the Hindu Succession Act.

Section 16- The order of succession among heirs referred shall distribute among those heirs according to the following rules.

Rules of Succession

RULE 1:

It is the general rule. It states that those in the first entry shall be preferred to those in any succeeding entries, and those included in the same entry shall take simultaneously.

For example,
(1) Suppose a female Hindu has two daughters, one son. Now, if she died, her property shall devolve equally among her two daughters each, one son and husband separately.
(2) Now, if she is a widow and has no children and if she dies, her property will devolve according to entry 2 given under section 15(1)(b), that is, the property will devolve in the heirs of the husband.

RULE 2:

If any son or daughter of the female intestate had pre-deceased the intestate leaving his or her children alive at the time of the intestate’s death, the children of such son or daughter shall take between them the share which such son or daughter would have taken if living at the intestate’s death.

Let’s make it easy by an example:

Suppose a female Hindu (say Z) has 2 daughters (A & B) and 2 sons (C & D). Now suppose B died in the lifetime of her mother (Z), leaving her 1 daughter (E) and 1 son (F). Now, when Z dies, her property will devolve among A, C, D and her husband. And the share of B (which she could have if she were alive) will devolve between her children, that is, E and F equally.

Now, this is a bit confusing rule so let us understand it more by a mathematical example:

Suppose Z (mother) has 5 properties. When she dies, her living children, ie. A, C, D and the husband will get one property each, whereas the rest of one property that B could have if she were alive will devolve equally among her children (E and F). Then the share of E and F will be ½ each.

RULE 3:

It is a specific rule that applies only in the case of devolution of property referred under:

  • Section 15(1)(b) that is Heirs of Husband,
  • Section 15(1)(d) that is Heirs of Father, and
  • Section 15(1)(e) that is Heirs of Mother.

According to this rule:

  • Under section 15(1)(b), the property of the deceased female Hindu shall be deemed to be the property of her husband and shall devolve in the heirs of the husband according to section 8.
  • Under section 15(1)(d), the property of the deceased female Hindu shall be deemed to be the property of the father and shall devolve in the heirs of the father according to section 8.
  • Under section 15(1)(e), the property of the deceased female Hindu shall be deemed to be the property of the mother and shall devolve in the heirs of the mother according to sections 15 and 16, respectively.

You’ll also like:
1. Hindu Succession Act, 1956 – Full Bare Act
2. Male and Female Succession Under Hindu Succession Act
3. Succession Under Muslim Law

ABOUT OUR AUTHOR
Author Ritesh WritingLaw
Ritesh Kumar is pursuing LL.B (3rd year) from Banaras Hindu University. He is enthusiastic and passionate about his career. Ritesh loves to write on legal issues, particularly family law, criminal law, contract and arbitration.
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