Supreme Court: Women are not entitled to claim the share in the inherited property

The Apex Court has decided that the rights of daughter on the inherited property are prospective in their application. In the recent case of Prakash & Ors V. Phulvati & Ors, the Supreme Court in its verdict stated that the daughter has no right to the ancestral property if the father died before September 9th, 2005. As per, The Hindu Succession Act 1956 did not confer any rights on the daughters to inherit the ancestral property and only brothers were considered as the sole heirs. However, this has changed with an amendment which came into effect from September 9th, 2005 and was seen as a huge victory for the women who are now entitled to claim the right in father’s property. However, the Amendment has fueled a debate over the daughter’s right in coparcenary property and whether the retrospective application is available prior to the commencement of Amendment Act, 2005. In this case, the daughter has filed a suit for claiming partition and separate possession of her share in the father’s property. By the time her father was passed away in 1988 and the matter was pending. During the pendency of the case, she amended her plaint and claimed the share in the property after the Amendment Act, 2005. The High Court has decided the case in favour of her and holds the view that such amendment would be applicable in the pending proceedings. However, the appeal was filed before the Supreme Court against the order of the High Court and the Apex Court has held that the daughter would have a right in the ancestral property inherited by her father in case if the daughter and the father are alive at the commencement of the Amendment Act, 2005.  The text of the amendment itself clearly mentions that the rights conferred on a ‘daughter of a coparcener’ is ‘on and from the commencement of Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005. The Court further stated that as per section 6(3) of the Act, it talks about the death after the amendment for its applicability. In view of plain language of the law, there is no scope for a different interpretation of the amendment. Therefore, an amendment of a substantive provision is always prospective in nature unless it is either express or by necessary intendment of the statue that it is retrospective.

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