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S. 6 of the Hindu Succession Act prevails over S. 29-A inserted by Maharashtra Amendment: Bombay High Court

According to the Bombay High Court, Article 254 of the Constitution only applies when there is a conflict between two laws when both Central and State legislation has been passed on a subject included in the aforementioned list through Justice Vibha Kankanwadi in the case of Babu v. Muktabai ( Second Appeal No. 402 of 2019)

FACTS OF THE CASE:

The appellant argued that the lower courts improperly considered the evidence and legal arguments, even though the validity of the parties’ relationship was not disputed.

Specifically, defendant 1 was the brother of the plaintiff and defendants 3 and 4. Their mother and father, the original defendant 2, passed away on December 14, 1998, leaving behind the lawsuit’s property. Since Defendant 2 received no share of the property, there was no genuine division of the assets. The price of the aforementioned property increased as a result of its division into plots.

The plaintiff claimed that defendants 1 to 3 wanted to prevent her from inheriting anything, therefore she demanded a piece of the suit property. When this was rejected, the plaintiff filed the lawsuit. defendant 2 also passed away later. The claim that the plaintiff and defendants were a joint family was also refuted.

The appellants’ lawyer argued that the lower courts erroneously determined that the property at issue in the lawsuit belonged to the plaintiff and the defendants’ shared Hindu ancestry. Both of the lower courts noted that the case was regulated by an altered Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act but did not fully assess the legal issue at hand (as amended in 2005).

Additionally, it was claimed that defendant number three married in 1965 and the plaintiff did so in 1966. Therefore, the Hindu Succession Act change does not apply to those daughters at present.

JUDGEMENT:

According to the High Court, both of the Courts below appropriately considered the evidence and came to the conclusion that the defendant had failed to establish the validity of the claimed 1982 partition.

Section 29-A of The Hindu Succession Act is still in effect, therefore married daughters, those who were married before 1994will not receive any share of either joint or ancestral family property. According to the High Court, the daughter had previously only been given a limited amount of rights. As a result, Maharashtra State amended the law to grant daughters the same rights as sons by making them co-parceners in order to expand the daughter’s rights along with and after those of other States. However, it was only applicable to daughters who were single at the time the aforementioned rule went into effect.

The Bench also observed that in order to offer daughters the same rights as sons, the Union Government amended Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act in 2005 and changed the status of daughters to that of coparceners. Since the Maharashtra State Amendment only applied to daughters who were not married, the repugnancy existed because the Union Government did not make this distinction in Section 6 of the revised clause.

Due to the inconsistency of both of the enactments, Section 29-A and Section 6, as revised in 2005, the law passed by the Parliament would take precedence over State Law under Article 254(1) of the Indian Constitution. According to the Court, there was no significant issue of law as defined by Section 100 of CPC in this case that called for the admission of the Second appeal. It was noted that the case remained before the trial court for almost 8 years and that the defendants made no attempt to inform the Court that defendant 2 had left any such will.

In deciding the case, the court determined that even though the matter had been before the first appellate court for roughly four years, nine months, and twenty-six days, the present applicant had made no attempt to be added as a party to the proceedings or to independently challenge the judgement entered by the Trial Court in her own right.  In view of this, the present application did not deserve to be allowed.

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JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY REETI SHETTY

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