Profound Changes in the Position of Daughter under the Hindu Succession Act

But she secured only a limited estate. On her death inheritance was still traced only to the last male-holder. So as daughter she would inherit being then the nearest heir. She would not, however, become a fresh stock of descent. She would also have only a limited estate. On her death the inheritance was once again traced to the last male holder. That was position under the old law.

Under the Act:

The Act of 1956 has introduced revolutionary changes to improve the daughter’s position as heir. (1) In the first place she can no longer be excluded by the son or the widow. She takes a share along with them an equal share. (2) The children of a pre­deceased daughter are now permitted to take the share which she would have taken. Previously they had no such right of representation. (3) The estate taken by the daughter is no longer a limited estate. It is an absolute estate so that she becomes a fresh stock of descent. That is, on her death the property would devolve on her own heirs and not on the heirs of the last male holder. (4) Even if she had inherited a limited estate prior to the 1956 Act, by force of the Act, if she is in possession constructively or actually, at the time when the Act came into force, her limited estate is enlarged into absolute ownership (s. 14).

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Formerly, when the owner died as a member of a coparcenary in a joint Hindu family, his daughter was excluded by the coparceners. The coparceners may be brothers or paternal uncles and so on. They would completely exclude the daughter for they claimed by survivorship.

Coparcenary property passed by survivorship to the surviving coparceners and did not devolve by inheritance. Now the daughter can claim the right of inheritance even in the coparcenary interest of her deceased father. This is a revolutionary change, which vitally affects the joint family also.

It must be remembered that the daughter’s position has been adversely affected in particular point. Formerly, she could exclude her sister’s children i.e. children of pre-deceased daughter of the owner. Now she has to share with them, all such children taking one share. Secondly, the daughter could exclude the mother of the deceased owner. Now she has to share with her.

By and large it is obvious that the position of the daughter has been considerably improved by the legislation of 1956.

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