What is Impartible Property under Hindu Law?

Alienability:

The Privy Council held in Sartaj Kuari v. Deoraj Kumari, 1888 (15) I.A. 51, that an ancestral impartible estate may be alienated even by way of gift by the holder for the time being.

The power to dispose of it by will was also recognised by the Privy Council in Raja Venkata Surya Rao v. Court of Wards, 1899 (22) Mad. 383 (PC) (1st Pittapur case). To get over these decisions in the Madras Presidency the Madras Impartible Estates Act was passed in 1904. This Act has superseded these decisions by confining the powers of the holder of the impartible estate to those which are exercisable by the manager of a joint family not being the father-manager.

Maintenance Rights of Junior Members:

In the 2nd Pittapur Case, Ramarao v. Raja of Pittapur, 1941 Mad. 778 (PC), it was held by the Privy Council that junior coparceners have no right to maintenance out of an impartible estate. The Madras Impartible Estate Act of 1904 conferred on junior coparceners the right to maintenance out of impartible property.

Succession to Impartible Property:

When the coparceners have no right of partition, no right to interdict alienation, and no right to maintenance the question naturally arises what it is that makes the estate ancestral property. The incidents of survivorship are recognised in the case of an ancestral impartible estate. Assuming that the property is partible, the coparceners who can take are ascertained.

Then on account of the special nature of the property only one of them becomes the holder. The rule of primogeniture of is applied. The first born son takes when there are several sons. As between an adopted son and a subsequently-born aurasa son, only the latter becomes the holder. In the absence of male decedants, the estate passes by survivorship to the senior most coparcener in the senior-most line.

Abolition of Impartible Estates:

As a result of. s. 5 (ii) of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, impartible estates have now been abolished. An impartible estate can now exist only (i) when by the terms of a covenant entered into by the Ruler of an Indian State with the Government of India an estate descends to a single heir and (ii) when by the terms of any enactment passed before the commencement of the Act of 1956, any particular estate is descendible to a single heir.

Subject to these two exceptions, there are now no impartible estates. The Madras Impartible Estates Act of 1904 was replaced by the Estates Abolition Act of 1948. The Estates Abolition Act has provided for the taking over of Zamindari estates by the State and their conversion into Ryotwari land. By Estates Abolition legislation undertaken in different States, the impartible zamindari estates have now become extinct.

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