Rights of Children on their Father’s Property

Law
08-Nov-2022
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In the Hindu Succession Act of 1956, Class I heirs have the right to inherit their father's self-acquired property if he dies intestate (without a will). Daughters and sons are considered Class I heirs under the Act and have coparcenary rights.

Children as coparceners have certain rights over their parent's property, including ancestral and self-acquired properties. This article will briefly describe the rights of the Son and Daughter on ancestral property and self-acquired properties.

Rights of Son on father's ancestral property

According to the Hindu Succession Act of 1956, inheritance properties are divided into ancestral and self-acquired properties, with different rights attached. A boy child automatically acquires ancestral properties at his birth. It is a property inherited from up to four generations of male lineage. However, there are two conditions to be fulfilled for claiming ancestral property. One is whether it is inherited from the father after his demise or the grandfather who partitioned the property. However, a property gifted to the father from his father will not be regarded as ancestral property.

A son can claim his share in the such property even during his father's lifetime. In any case, the person seeking his share in the property must prove his succession. Even during his father's lifetime, a son may claim his share of ancestral property. Whatever the case, the applicant must prove his right to share in the property.

Sometimes, the court allows stepsons to inherit the father's property. In a case addressed by the Bombay High Court, the applicant was the son of a deceased Hindu woman's first husband. The woman acquired the property from her second husband. The court held that the stepson of the second husband - could claim his succession over the property after the mother's death. 

Right of Daughter on father's ancestral property

Earlier, only male members of the Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) had a right over ancestral property. As a result of the amendments made to the Hindu Succession Act of 2005 ("Amendment"), a Hindu female has the same right to ancestral property as a Hindu male. 

The Amendment came into effect on 9 September 2005 and gave an equal coparcenary right to them as sons. Moreover, this amendment has also given rights to a married Hindu daughter to reside in her father's house if she is deserted, divorced, etc.

Rights of Son on Father Self-Acquired Property

In self-acquired property, the father has a right to gift or Will the property to anyone he deems fit. The son does not have any legal right over such property. However, he could claim proving his contribution towards the property. 

In other words, if a property is self-acquired and that property is gifted or willed to someone by his own will, without being coerced, unduly influenced, fraudulent, or misrepresented, then the property cannot be claimed by the beneficiary.

Rights of Daughter on Father Self-Acquired Property

A self-acquired property is a property purchased by an individual from his resources. The property owner's right to dispose of a self-acquired property in any way he deems fit and the legal heirs cannot object. But what about the mother's property? Any self-acquired or inherited property of the mother will go to the daughter without any other direct heir (instead of the male collaterals).

An ancestral property would otherwise be divided equally between the sons and daughters of a deceased woman.

Supreme Court judgments on Father Property Rights

The Supreme Court of India, vide its judgment dated 20 January 2022 in the case of Arunachala Gounder (Dead) by LRs v Ponnusamy and Ors. They ruled even before the Hindu Succession Act of 1956 that if a Hindu male dies intestate and leaves behind the self-acquired property, the property will pass through inheritance, not through survivorship. Moreover, the daughter shall be entitled to self-acquired property and property obtained through partitioning a coparcenary or family property. 

In addition, it was observed that, in the event of the woman's death intestate, her ancestral property descended from her father would be passed on to her father's heirs. If she died issueless, the property descended from her husband would go to her husband's heir.

In another case, Vineeta Sharma vs Rakesh Sharma & Ors. of 11 August 2020, the SC passed a gender-neutral judgment, wherein it took progressive steps towards making succession law more women-friendly. The SC held that daughters would acquire equal coparcenary rights as a son. Further, to implement such right, the fathers need not have been alive when the 2005 amendment to the Hindu Succession Act 1956 was passed.

You Might be Intrested in: Property Division Among Siblings After Parent's Death

Conclusion

There are various religions covered under the Indian property inheritance law. Over time, it has been amended numerous times. Due to the amendment act of 2005, women's property rights have been uplifted under Hindu law in the contemporary era. Now, the daughter has the same rights as the son. It is crucial for children to be aware of their rights when it comes to their father's property. Consulting with a Property lawyer can provide valuable guidance and clarity in understanding the specific laws and provisions governing property inheritance.

Faqs:

Q. How much property does a daughter get from her father?

A daughter gets an equal rights with her brothers, except under different understandings.

Q. Can a father give all his property to one child?

A father has the right to give his self-acquired -property to any child as he deems fit. 

Q. Can a married daughter claim the father's property?

According to the 2005 Amendment and subsequent judicial decisions, married daughters have the same rights as sons over their father's property.

Q. When can a daughter not claim a father's property?

The legal daughter cannot claim any property rights in the event of a will that grants the property to the extended family's male heirs.

 Author Bio: Adv. Ankan Suri is an experienced lawyer with over 15 years of experience, practicing before the Supreme Court and the High Court of Delhi. His areas of expertise include Intellectual Property, Matrimonial Law, Property Law, Company Matters, and Criminal Law. Currently, Ankan runs his law firm from his office in Greater Kailash and maintains a chamber in the Supreme Court, leading a dedicated team of 8 juniors.