Short Essay on the Hindu Succession Act, 1956

Several difficulties and complications, however, arose, owing mainly to the differences in the law of inheritance amongst the two major school of Hindu Law, viz., the Mitakshara and the Dayabhaga, and the matriarchal systems prevailing in some southern parts of the country.

Beside this, some more anomalies and some clearly inequitable rules of succession had come into existence, partly due to historical reasons and partly due to the conservative approach of judicial interpreters. Conflicting pronouncements of the Law Courts added to the existing confusion, and legal reform on the subject became the pressing need of the day.

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The first step in this direction was taken in 1937, with the passing of the Hindu Women’s Right to Property Act, which introduced important changes in the law of succession by conferring new rights of succession on certain Hindu females.

Then came the Hindu Succession Act, which came into force on 17th June, 1956. This Act amends and codifies the law relating to succession among the Hindus, and at the same time, introduces some fundamental and radical changes in the law of succession. The greatest merit of the Act is that it lays down a uniform and comprehensive system of inheritance, applicable to all Hindus. The act applies to the whole of India, except the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

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