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THE HINDU SUCCESSION ACT, 1956

Title : THE HINDU SUCCESSION ACT, 1956

Year : 1956



This Act shall not apply to-

(i) Any property succession to which is regulated by the Indian Succession Act, 1925, ( 39 of 1925.) by reason of the provisions contained in section 21 of the Special Marriage Act, 1954 (43 of 1954)

(ii) Any estate which descends to a single heir by the terms of any covenant or agreement entered into by the Ruler of any Indian State with the Government of India or by the terms of any enactment passed before the commencement of this Act ;

(iii) The Valiamma Thampuran Kovilagam Estate and the Palace
Fund administered by the Palace Administration Board by reason of the powers conferred by Proclamation (IX of 1124) dated 29th June, 1949, promulgated by the Maharaja of Cochin.



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 survivor ship 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 spe-
cified 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, as the case may be, under this Act and not by survivor ship.

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 this 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.

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1. Subs. by Act 39 of 2005, sec. 3, for section 6 (w.e.f. 9-9-2005). Section 6, before substitution, stood as under:

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(1)When a Hindu to whom the marumakkattayam or nambudri law would have applied if this Act had not been passed dies after the commencement of this Act, having at the time of his or her death an interest in the property of a tarwad, tavazhi or illom, as the case may be, his or her interest in the property shall devolve by testamentary or intestate succession, as the case may be, under this Act and not according to the marumakkattayam or nambudri law.

Explanation.-For the purposes of this sub-section, the interest of a Hindu in the property of a tarwad, tavazhi or illom shall be deemed to be the share in the property of the tarwad, tavazhi or illom, as the case may be, that would have fallen to him or her if a partition of that property per capita had been made immediately before his or her death among all the members of the tarwad. tavazhi or illom, as the case may be,. then living, whether he or she was entitled to claim such partition or not under the marumakkattayam or nambudri law applicable to him or her, and such share shall be deemed to have been allotted to him or her absolutely.

(2) When a Hindu to whom the aliyasantana law would have applied if this Act had not been passed dies after the commencement of this Act, having at the time of his or her death an undivided interest in the property of a kutumba or kavaru, as the case may be, his or her interest in the property shall devolve by testamentary or intestate succession, as the case may be, under this Act and not according to the aliyasantana law.

Explanation.-For the purposes of this sub-section, the interest of a Hindu in the property of a kutumba or kavaru shall be deemed to be the share in the property of the kutumba or kavaru, as the case may be, that would have fallen to him or her if a partition of that property per capita had been made immediately before his or her death among all the members of the kutumba or kavaru, as the case may be, then living, whether he or she was entitled to claim such partition or not under the aliyasantana law, and such share shall be deemed to have been allotted to him or her absolutely.

(3) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1), when a sthanamdar dies after the commencement of this Act, the sthanam property held by him shall devolve upon the members of the family to which the sthanamdar belonged and the heirs of the sthanamdar as if the sthanam property had been divided per capita immediately before the death of the sthanamdar among himself and all the members of his family then living,, and the shares falling to the members of his family and the heirs of the sthanamdar shall be held by them as their separate property.

Explanation.-For the purposes of this sub-section, the family of a sthanamdar shall include every branch of that family, whether divided or undivided, the male members of which would have been entitled by any custom or usage to succeed to the position of sthanamdar if this Act had not been passed,



The property of a male Hindu dying intestate shall devolve according to the provisions of this Chapter :-

(a) Firstly, upon the heirs, being the relatives specified in class I of the Schedule ;

(b) Secondly, if there is no heir of class I, then upon the heirs, being the relatives specified in class II of the Schedule ;

(c) Thirdly, if there is no heir of any of the two classes, then upon the agnates of the deceased ; and

(d) Lastly, if there is no agnate, then upon the cognates of the deceased.



Among the heirs specified in the Schedule, those in class I shall take simultaneously and to the exclusion of all other heirs ; those in the first entry in class II shall be preferred to those in the second entry ; those in the second entry shall be preferred to those in the third entry ; and so on in succession.



The property of an intestate shall be divided among the heirs in class I of the Schedule in accordance with the following rules:-

Rule 1.-The intestates widow, or if there are more widows than one, all the widows together, shall take one share.

Rule 2.-The surviving sons and daughters and the mother of the intestate shall each take one share.

Rule 3.-The heirs in the branch of each pre-deceased son or each pre-deceased daughter of the intestate shall take between them one share.

Rule 4.-The distribution of the share referred to in Rule 3-

(i) Among the heirs in the branch of the pre-decease son shall be so made that his widow (or widows together), and the surviving sons and daughters get equal portions ; and the branch of his pre-deceased sons gets the same portion;

(ii) Among the heirs in the branch of the pre-deceased daughter shall be so made that the surviving sons and daughters get equal portions.



The property of an intestate shall be divided between the heirs specified in any one entry in class II of the Schedule so that they, share equally.



The order of succession among agnates or cognates, as the case may be, shall be determined in accordance with the rules of preference laid down hereunder:-

Rule 1.-Of two heirs, the one who has fewer or no degrees of ascent is preferred.

Rule 2.-Where the number of degrees of ascent is the same or none, that heir is preferred who has fewer or no degrees of descent.

Rule 3.-Where neither heir is entitled to be preferred to the other under Rule 1 or Rule 2 they take simultaneously.



(1) For the purposes of determining the order of succession among agnates or cognates, relationship shall be reckoned from the intestate to the heir in terms of degrees of ascent or degrees of descent or both, as the case may be.

(2) Degrees of ascent and degrees of descent shall be computed inclusive of the intestate.

(3) Every generation constitutes a degree either ascending or descending.



(1) Any property possessed by a female Hindu, whether acquired before or after the commencement of this Act, shall be held by her as full owner thereof and not as a limited owner.

Explanation.-In this sub-section, " property " includes both mov-
able and immovable property acquired by a female Hindu by inheritance or devise, or at a partition, or in lieu of maintenance or arrears of maintenance, or by gift from any person, whether a relative or not, before, at or after her marriage, or by her own skill or exertion, or by purchase or by prescription, or in any other manner whatsoever, and also any such property held by her as stridhana immediately before the commencement of this Act.

(2) Nothing contained in sub-section (1) shall apply to any property acquired by way of gift or under a will or any other instrument or under a decree or order of a civil court or under an award where the terms of the gift, will or other instrument or the decree, order or award prescribe a restricted estate in such property.



(1) The property of a female Hindu dying intestate shall devolve according to the rules set out in section 16,-

(a) Firstly, upon the sons and daughters (including the children of any pre-deceased son or daughter) and the husband;

(b) Secondly, upon the heirs of the husband;

(c) Thirdly, upon the mother and father;

(d) Fourthly, upon the heirs of the father; and

(e) Lastly, upon the heirs of the mother.

(2) Notwithstanding anything contained in sub-section (1),-

(a) Any property inherited by a female Hindu from her father or mother shall devolve, in the absence of any son or daughter of the deceased (including the children of any pre-deceased son or daughter) not upon the other heirs referred to in sub-section (1) in the order specified therein, but upon the heirs of the father; and

(b) Any property inherited by a female Hindu from her husband or from her father-in-law shall devolve, in the absence of any son or daughter of the deceased (including the children of any pre- deceased son or daughter) not upon the other heirs referred to in sub-section (1) in the order specified therein, but upon the heirs of the husband.



The order of succession among the heirs referred to in section 15 shall be, and the distribution of the intestates property among those heirs shall take place according to the following rules, namely:-

Rule 1.-Among the heirs specified in sub-section (1) of section
15, those in one entry shall be preferred to those in any succeeding entry, and those included in the same entry shall take simultaneously.

Rule 2.-If any son or daughter of the intestate had pre-deceased the intestate leaving his or her own children alive at the time of the intestates 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 intestates death.

Rule 3.-The devolution of the property of the intestate on the heirs referred to in clauses (b), (d) and (e) of sub-section. (1) and in
sub-section (2) of section 15 shall be in the same order and according to the same rules as would have applied if the property had been the fathers or the mothers or the husbands as the case may be, and such person had died intestate in respect thereof immediately after the intestates death.



The provisions of sections 8, 10, 15 and 23 shall have effect in relation to persons who would have been governed by the marumakkattayam law or aliyasantana law if this Act had not been passed as if-

(i) For sub-clauses (c) and (d) of section 8, the following had been substituted, namely :-

(c) Thirdly, if there is no heir of any of the two classes, then upon his relatives, whether agnates or cognates.

(ii) For clauses (a) to (e) of sub-section (1) of section 15, the following had been substituted, namely :-

(a) Firstly, upon the sons and daughter (including the children of any predeceased son or daughter) and the mother;

(b) Secondly, upon the father and the husband

(c) Thirdly, upon the heirs of the mother ;

(d) Fourthly, upon the heirs of the father ; and

(e) Lastly, upon the heirs of the husband."

(iii) Clause (a) of sub-section (2) of section 15 had been omitted ;

(iv) Section 23 had been omitted.General provisions relating to succession



Heirs related to an intestate by full blood shall be preferred to heirs related by half blood, if the nature of the relationship is the same in every other respect.



If two or more heirs succeed together to the property of an intestate, they shall take the property,-

(a) Save as otherwise expressly provided in this Act, per capita and not per stirpes and

(b) As tenants-in-common and not as joint tenants.



A child who was in the womb at the time of the death of an intestate and who is subsequently born alive shall have the same right to inherit to the intestate as if he or she had been born before the death of the intestate, and the inheritance shall be deemed to vest in such a case with effect from the date of the death of the intestate.



Where two persons have died in circumstances rendering it uncertain whether either of them, and if so which, survived the other, then, for all purposes affecting succession to property, it shall be presumed, until the contrary is proved, that the younger survived the elder.



(1) Where, after the commencement of this Act, 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 upon two or more heirs specified in class I of the Schedule, and any one of such heirs proposes to transfer his or her interest in the property or business, the other heirs shall have a 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 incident to the application.

(3) If there are two or more heirs specified in class I of the
Schedule 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.



Where a Hindu intestate has left surviving him or her both male and female heirs specified in class I of the Schedule and his or her property includes a dwelling-house wholly occupied by members of his or her family, then, notwithstanding anything contained in this Act, the right of any such female heir to claim partition of the dwelling-house shall not arise until the male heirs choose to divide their respective shares therein ; but the female heir shall be entitled to a right of residence therein:

Provided
that where such female heir is a 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 has separated from her husband or is a widow.

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1. Section 23, before repeal by Act 39 of 2005, stood as under:

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Any heir who is related to an intestate as the widow of a pre- deceased son, the widow of a pre-deceased son of a pre-deceased son or the widow of a brother shall not be entitled to succeed to the property of the intestate as such widow, if on the date the succession opens, she has re-married.

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1. Section 24, before repeal by Act 39 of 2005, stood as under:

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A person who commits murder or abets the commission of murder shall be disqualified from inheriting the property of the person murdered, or any other property in furtherance of the succession to which he or she committed or abetted the commission of the murder.



Where, before or after the commencement of this Act, a Hindu has ceased or ceases to be a Hindu by conversion to another religion, children born to him or her after such conversion and their descendants shall be disqualified from inheriting the property of any of their Hindu relatives, unless such children or descendants are Hindus at the time when the succession opens.



If any person is disqualified from inheriting any property under this Act, it shall devolve as if such person had died before the intestate.



No person shall be disqualified from succeeding to any property on the ground of any disease, defect or deformity, or save as provided in this Act, on any other ground whatsoever.



If an intestate has left no heir qualified to succeed to his or her property in accordance with the provisions of this Act, such property shall devolve on the Government; and the Government shall take the property subject to all the obligations and liabilities to which an heir would have been subject.State Amendments Chapter IIA Andhra Pradesh: After Chapter II, insert the following Chapter, namely:-

"Chapter IIA Succession by survivorship

29A Equal rights to daughter in coparcenary property.-

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 survivor ship; 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 pre-deceased 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 the Hindu Succession (Andhra Pradesh Amendment) Act, 1986.

29B Interest to devolve by survivorship on death .-

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 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 survivor ship.

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 this section shall be construed as enabling a person who before the death of the 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.

29C 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 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 a 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 incidental 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 his 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 Andhra Pradesh Gazette, specify in this behalf." [ Vide Andhra Pradesh Act 13 of 1986, sec. 2 (w.r.e.f. 5-9-1985).] Maharashtra :

After Chapter II, insert the following Chapter, namely:— “CHAPTER IIA SUCCESSION BY SURVIVOR SHIP


Last updated on September, 2016

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