The Expression “Son” u/Hindu Succession Act Doesn’t Include “Step-Son”

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February 08, 2018

Case name: Yansh Bahadur Sabhajeet Yadav v. Dudhnath Kallu Yadav and Anr.

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Date of Judgment: January 31, 2018

In this case, the step­son of deceased Defendant claimed to be his legal heir and entitled to defend the present suit, for partition of joint family property which was co­owned by the deceased.

The Bombay High Court in the case while holding that the expression “son” under the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 cannot be construed to include a “step-son” made the following observations in the case:

  • That the Applicant (stepson of deceased) must show that he is entitled to succeed to the estate of the deceased either as a relative specified in class­I and if there be no such relative, then as a relative specified in class­II, of the schedule under Hindu Succession Act read with Section 8 of that Act. The schedule to the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 refers to heirs in class­I and class­II within the meaning of Section 8 of Hindu Succession Act. A son is included in class­I of the schedule. The Applicant, as son of the wife of the deceased from her first marriage, cannot claim as a son of the deceased.
  • The expression “son” appearing in the Hindu Succession Act does not include a step­son. The expression “son” not having been defined under the Hindu Succession Act, the definition of “son” under the General Clauses Act, 1897 may be appropriately referred to. In clause (57) of Section 2 of the General Clauses Act, 1897, the expression “son” includes only an adopted son and not a step­son.
  • That the word “son” appearing in class­I of the schedule to that Act would thus include an adopted son but there is clearly no warrant for including a step­son within the meaning of the expression “son” used in class­I of the schedule. The context in which the term “son” is used in the schedule does not admit of a step­son being included within it.
  • Reliance was also placed on Supreme Court’s judgment in the case of Lachman Singh Vs. Kripa Singh and ors[1]., wherein it was held that a step­son or a step­daughter of a female Hindu dying intestate are not covered by the expression “son” or “daughter” in Section 15(1)(a) of Hindu Succession Act. They could merely be said to be falling under either Section 15(1)(b) or sub¬section (2) of Section 15.

The entire case can be accessed here.

 

 

[1] 1987 SCR (2) 933