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The Supreme Court while hearing a batch of appeals Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 on Tuesday, said that daughters will equal and legal right on the parental property even if the father was alive before or at the time of 2005 amendment.
"The rights can be claimed by the daughter born earlier with effect from September 9, 2005, with savings as provided in Section 6 (1) as to the disposition or alienation, partition or testamentary disposition which had taken place before December 20, 2004. Since the right in coparcenary is by birth, it is not necessary that father coparcener should be living as on September 9, 2005," the order as quoted by Bar and Bench.
A three-judge bench of Justices Arun Mishra, S Abdul Nazeer and MR Shah said the amendments can have a retrospective effect. "Once a daughter is always a daughter...son is a son till he is married," Justice Mishra further said.
The SC's judgment came on the number of appeals that raised a legal issue whether the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, which gave equal right to daughters in ancestral property, has a retrospective effect. In other words, whether a daughter could be denied her share on the property that she was born prior to the enactment of the Act.
Recognizing the importance of conferring equal rights, the bench said the daughter shall remain a coparcener throughout life, irrespective of when she was born.
The judgment also ruled out an earlier order of the apex court that directed daughters to have coparcenary rights only if both the father and the daughter were alive as on September 9, 2005, when the amendment was notified. The top court also requested that the pending matters be decided within six months.
The court's verdict came on the issue whether a daughter could be denied her share on the ground that she was born prior to the enactment of the Act and, therefore, cannot be treated as coparcener under the purview of the 1956 act.
According to The Free Press Journal report, the case relates to one Gurulingappa Savadi, who died in 2001, leaving behind his two sons, two daughters and a widow. A year later, his grandson filed a suit for partition of the family property, leaving out his two aunts, the daughters of late Savadi. The aunts approached the court seeking their share in father's property. The trial court's decision came on August 9, 2007, almost two years after the 'Hindu Succession Act, 1956' was amended.
However, Solicitor Tushar Mehta, representing Centre argued that daughters have been given the right of a coparcener without any discrimination.
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