The manner of Distribution of Property among heirs of female Hindu
Section 14 of The Hindu Succession Act gives to a female Hindu an absolute title over the properties which under the traditional Hindu law she held as a limited owner. Section 15 of the Act delineates the heirs of a female Hindu and the order in which they are to succeed to her property if she dies intestate. Section 16 of the Act provides the manner of distribution of a deceased female Hindu among her heirs.
Rule 1 of section 16 provides:
Rule 1.-Among the heirs specified in sub-section (1) of section 15, those in one entry shall be preferred to those in any succeeding entry, and those included in the same entry shall take simultaneously.
Therefore, if A, a Hindu female, dies intestate and after her death she is survived by the son of her husband and her own mother. Now, the son of her husband being an heir of her husband figures in entry (b) of sub-section 1 of section 15 and the mother figures in entry (c). As per Rule 1, those in one entry shall be preferred to those in succeeding entries. Therefore, heirs in entry (b) shall be preferred to those in entry (c). Hence son of A’s husband shall inherit the property of A to the exclusion of A’s mother.
If in the above example, A is survived by only her father and mother and no one else, then A’s property shall devolve upon both of them and both shall inherit equally as both of them figure in entry (c) and according to Rule 1 heirs included in the same entry shall take simultaneously. Therefore if in this example, A was survived by any two or more people figuring in the same entry like her own son and daughter, or if she does not have any children of her own, then the children of her husband being his heirs, or the heirs of her father or heirs of her mother, if by operation of law A’s property is to succeed to heirs mentioned in any single category and where they are more than one, they shall inherit equally.
Rule 2.-If any son or daughter of the intestate had pre-decease the intestate leaving his or her own children alive at the time of the intestate’s death, the children of such son or daughter shall take between them the share which such son or daughter would have taken if living at the intestate’s death.
Rule 2 is self explanatory. For example if A, a Hindu female dying intestate is survived by a son, a daughter and two daughters from one son who had pre-deceased A, i.e. who had already expired before A’s death, then all of them being heirs mentioned in entry (a) of sub-section (1) of section 15, all of them shall be entitled to A’s property. But what would be the share of each of them? Rule 1 says that heirs mentioned in the same entry succeed simultaneously. All the heirs of A are mentioned in entry (a), so do they succeed simultaneously? The answer is provided by Rule 2. Property of A after her death shall be divided in three parts. A’s son and daughter shall take one part each and the remaining one part shall devolve upon the branch of A’s pre-deceased son, i.e. the son and daughter of A’s pre-deceased son shall together inherit one part which their father would have inherited had he been alive. Among themselves however, both of them shall take equally the one part of A’s property that they have inherited. Hence A’s son shall take 1/3rd share in A’s property, A’s daughter shall also take 1/3rd share while A’s grandson and grand-daughter from her predeceased son shall each take 1/6th share in A’s property.
Rule 3.-The devolution of the property of the intestate on the heirs referred to in clauses (b), (d) and (e) of sub-section. (1) and in sub-section (2) of section 15 shall be in the same order and according to the same rules as would have applied if the property had been the father’s or the mother’s or the husband’s as the case may be, and such person had died intestate in respect thereof immediately after the intestate’s death.
If there comes a situation that the property of a Hindu female dying intestate is under the provisions of section 15 to be succeeded by –
1. the heirs of her husband; or
2. the heirs of her father; or
3. the heirs of her mother;
then Rule 3 of section 16 provides that such property shall devolve upon such heirs in accordance with the rules under which their own property would have devolved upon their heirs. So if the property of a Hindu female dying intestate is to devolve upon the heirs of her husband or her father, then it shall devolve upon them in accordance with the provisions of section 8 to 12 of the Hindu Succession Act as these sections deal with the rules of succession in case of Hindu males. And if her property is to devolve upon the heirs of her mother, then the property shall devolve upon them in accordance with the provisions of section 15 and 16 of the Act as if the property which is to devolve was the property of her mother and not that of the deceased female Hindu.
For example A, a female Hindu dies intestate. She had no children of her own and her husband had also expired before her. Her parents had also expired before her death. So now she has no heirs from among those mentioned in entry (a), (b) or (c) of sub-section 1 of section 15. Her property shall now devolve upon the heirs of either her father or her mother as provided in clauses (d) and (e) of sub-section 1 of section 15. The heirs of her father are alive therefore the property shall devolve upon them to the exclusion of the heirs of her mother in accordance with Rule 1 of section 16. And now as per Rule 3 of section 16, A’s property shall devolve upon the heirs of her father as if the property belonged to A’s father and not to A and as if A’s father had also expired intestate. Therefore, A’s brother and sister who are class I heirs of her father shall take A’s property simultaneously in equal shares. If there was no Class I heir of A’s father alive at the time of A’s death, then her property would devolve upon Class II heirs of her father. In case there is no Class II heir available, then the property of A shall devolve upon the agnates of her father and if there are no agnates, upon the cognates of A’s father.
The above Article Distribution of Property among heirs of female Hindu is a copyright of Vakilno1.com written by S. Chopra