Husband can’t inherit wife’s property if she dies without bearing children, says HC

Children file plea 56 years after stepmom dies

January 25, 2018 12:50 am | Updated 12:50 am IST - Mumbai

The Bombay High Court recently ruled that the property inherited by a Hindu woman will not go to her husband in the absence of her not having her own children as per the Hindu Succession Act.

A Bench of Justice Shalini Phansalkar Joshi was hearing a plea filed by the stepchildren and relatives of Sundarabai 56 years after she died. They challenged an order passed on November 28, 2016 by the second joint civil judge junior division, Pune, which ruled against handing over the properties of Sundarabai to her stepchildren.

The children born to Sundarabai’s husband’s second wife had claimed their share in the property by stating that they are her children too as she does not have her own children.

According to Section 15 (2) of the Hindu Succession Act “any property inherited by a female Hindu from her father or mother, shall devolve, in the absence of any son or daughter of the deceased not upon the legal heirs of the father”. The court said that this provision clearly excludes the husband from inheriting the property received by a Hindu woman from her parents if she does not have children or dies ‘issueless’.

The trial court had also accepted that the stepchildren could not claim any share in the properties inherited by Sundarabai and rejected their plea.

The High Court said, “Since Sundarabai has died issueless and in such a situation, in the absence of her son or daughter, her husband also cannot inherit her property and the property will devolve upon the legal heirs of her father.

“Since her husband is not the legal heir of her father, he cannot get any share in Sundarabai’s property. He has no cause to file a suit for partition of Sundarabai's property.”

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