Women’s Right to Property-Property Possessed by Hindu Female to be held as Absolute Owner-Bombay HC

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April 29, 2019

In a recent case, the High Court of Bombay by virtue of the provisions of the Hindu Women’s Right to Property Act, 1937 and Hindu Succession Act, 1956 has held that any property possessed by female Hindu whether acquired before or after the commencement of the Act shall be held by her as full owner and not as a limited owner.

Case name: Shri Jagannath Waman Undre v. Smt. Yamunabai Sitaram Kadam

In the case, the Plaintiff and Defendant are sister and brother and the plaintiff had filed the suit for declaration of her rights in the suit property i.e. their mother’s property. However, the Trial Court dismissed the suit holding that a woman whether wife or widow or daughter, has no right in co­parcenary property and, therefore, could not claim share separately.

Bench’s verdict

The High Court of Bombay while deciding the issue considered the provisions of Section 3 of the Hindu Women’s Right to Property Act, 1937 pertaining to devolution of property and Section 14 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 which states that property of a female Hindu to be her absolute property.

While considering the law in the aforesaid provisions, the High Court was of the view that mother of the plaintiff and defendant became absolute owner of her share in the suit property which was the limited interest or Hindu woman’s estate. Thus, any property possessed by female Hindu whether acquired before or after the commencement of the Act shall be held by her as full owner and not as a limited owner and the same would devolve upon her sons, daughters and husbands.

Thus, the limited interest or Hindu woman’s estate shall be held by the widow as full owner in terms of the provisions of the Section 14(1) of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 and as interest in the property acquired by   a   female   Hindu   member   of   the   family   before commencement of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 becomes an absolute owner.