Pro­visions under the Hindu Succe­ssion Act Gov­erning Intestate Succession to the Property of a Female

The Explanation to the section seeks to give a very comprehensive connotation to the term ‘property’, and deals elaborately with the various sources and the sundry modes of
acquisition of property by such a person. It provides that ‘property’ includes both movable and immovable property acquired by a female Hindu —

(i) By inheritance or devise, or

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(ii) At a partition, or

(iii) In lieu of maintenance or arrears of maintenance, or

(iv) By gift from any person, whether a relative or not, and whether before, at, or after her marriage, or

(v) By her own skill or exertion, or

(vi) By purchase, or

(vii) By prescription, or

(viii) In any other manner whatsoever, and includes any such property held by her as stridhan immediately before the commencement of the Act.

What is stated above is subject to the qualification that the above provisions do not 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, if the terms of such gift, will or other instrument, or the decree, order or award prescribe a restricted estate in such property.

The object of the above provisions is to confer a benefit on Hindu females by enlarging their limited interest in property inherited or held by them into an absolute interest with retrospective effect. (Eramma v. Veerupana, (1966) 2 S.C.R. 626)

The Orissa High Court has held that if a wife acquires an absolute interest in her husband’s property under S. 14, her subsequent re-marriage does not divest her of such property. (K. Naik v. D. Bewa, A.I.R. 1989 Ori. 10)

The Supreme Court has held that it cannot be said that this section (i.e., S. 14) is violative of Article 14 or Article 15 of the Indian Constitution. (Pratap Singh v. Union of India, A.I.R. 1985 S.C. 1695)

The Supreme Court has observed (in Kotturuswami v. Veerauve, 1959 S.C.J. 437) that the word “possessed” used in this Section is to be understood in a very broad sense and as referring to “the state of owning or having in one’s hand or power”. It need not be actual or physical possession, as it also covers constructive possession or possession-in-law.

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