What are the Changes brought about by the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 in the Pre-existing System of Hindu law?

(ii) In a joint family, on the death of a coparcener, the principle of survivorship operated. The widow or daughter or mother of the deceased coparcener or his predeceased son’s daughter, or predeceased daughter’s daughter cannot inherit his share. This is now remedied, (s. 6)

II. Separate Property of Male Propositus:

(iii) Under the old law simultaneous succession of different types of heirs was not recognised. Now Class I heirs take simultaneously.

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(iv) Female heirs (except in Bombay) took only a life estate. Now all female heirs take an absolute estate.

(v) After the compact series of heirs, the gotraja Sapindas and then Bandhus had to take. In Class II heirs some gotraja Sapindas and some Bandhus have been jumbled together. A Bandhu like the daughter’s daughter’s daughter is given priority over a gotraja sapinda like father’s father. The basis of the new system is natural love and affection.

(vi) The Samanodakas ending with the 14th degree marked the limit of agnatic kinship. Now this limit has been removed. Similarly 5 degrees on the mother’s side and seven degrees on the father’s side marked the limits of cognatic relationship. Now these limits have been removed.

(vii) The pre-existing law gave the benefit of the doctrine of representation only to the sons, grandsons and great grandsons of predeceased sons. The new law extends the benefit of this doctrine also to the children of predeceased daughters and also to daughters of predeceased sons and daughters of a pre-deceased son of a predeceased son as also to the widow of a pre-deceased son and the widow of a pre­deceased son of a predeceased son.

III. Stridhana Property:

(viii) Under the pre-existing law succession to Stridhana depended upon the nature of the Stridhana and the nature of the marriage (whether approved or unapproved) and the particular school of law to which the parties belonged. Now a simplified system has been devised.

IV. Illegitimate Issue:

(ix) Under the pre-existing law the rights of illegitimate issue depended upon the caste to which the parents belonged. They also varied from school to school. Now, illegitimate kinship is recognised only with reference to the mother for purposes of inheritance. This simplifies the legal position.

V. Removal of Disqualifications:

(x) The pre-existing law had rules of disinheritance based upon disqualifications, e.g. lunacy and idiocy. Such disqualifications have now been abolished. Unchastity of widow disqualified her for inheritance. This has now been removed.

Thus may drastic changes have been made by the Act of 1956?

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