What are the Categories of Separate Property which could be possessed by a Hindu?

Property acquired by a Hindu in any of the following twelve ways is deemed to be his separate or self-acquired property:

(1) Property inherited as an obstructed heritage, i.e., property inherited by a Hindu from any person other than his father, father’s father, or father’s father’s father.

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(2) Property acquired by a Hindu by his own exertions and without the aid of the joint family property.

(3) Property obtained by a Hindu as his share on a partition of a joint family.

(4) Property devolving on a sole surviving coparcener, provided there does not exist a widow having a child in her womb or having the power to adopt.

(5) Property obtained by a Hindu under a will, or by way of a gift, unless given by his father, father’s father or father’s father’s father, for the benefit of the family, and not exclusively for himself.

(6) Property comprising ancestral movables obtained as a gift from the father (out of affection), provided such gift is within reasonable limits.

(7) Property obtained by a Hindu under a grant from the Govern-ment, unless it appears that the grant was made for the benefit of the family, and not exclusively to him.

(8) Ancestral property which has been lost to the family and which has passed into the possession of strangers, and is recovered by a coparcener without the aid of any other coparcener and without using the funds of the coparcenary. If such property is movable, the coparcener who recovers it takes it exclusively. In the case of immovable property, if the person recovering it is the father, he takes it exclusively; in the case of other coparceners, the person recovering it takes one-fourth of it as a reward, the remainder being shared by all the members, including the person recovering it. (Bajada v. Trimbak, 36 Bom. 106)

(9) Property which was formerly ancestral, but was alienated by the family, and later purchased by a member out of his self­-acquired- funds.

(10) Gains of learning. (See below)

(11) Impartible property and savings from such property.

(12) Income of separate property (as enumerated above), purchases made from such property, or from its income, or from the sale proceeds of such property.

An interesting question that arises is whether the proceeds of a life insurance policy effected by a coparcener on his life is joint family property or the separate property of the coparcener. The test to be applied in such cases is not whether the policy was taken by the coparcener for the benefit of his wife and children, but whether he did so without detriment to the joint family funds.

It has been held that on a partition of joint family property, if certain property is allotted to a member to discharge the family debts, it does not become his separate property on that ground. Such property retains its ancestral character, and will be joint family property vis-a-vis his son. (M. Shanmugha Udayar v. Sivanandam, A. I.R. 1994 Mad. 123)

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