The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 is an Act relating to the succession and inheritance of property of the Hindu who had died intestate. This Act is applicable to the intestate succession of the estate of the Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs. The Act has made separate rules for the inheritance of estate of Hindu male and female.
The Hindu Succession Act groups the heirs of a male Hindu into four categories and lays down that his/her inheritable property devolves –
- firstly, upon the heirs, being the relatives specified in class – I of the Schedule
- secondly, if there are no class-I legal heirs, then upon the heirs, being relatives specified in class-II of the Schedule
- thridly, if there is no heir of any of the two classes, then upon the agnates of the deceased and
- lastly, if there is no agnate, then upon the cognates of the deceased.
The heirs specified in Class I are: i. Mother, ii. Widow, iii. Daughter, iv. Son, v. Widow of a predeceased son, vi. Son of a predeceased son, vii. Daughter of a predeceased son, viii. Widow of a predeceased son of a predeceased son, ix. Daughter of a predeceased son of a predeceased son, x. Son of a predeceased son of a predeceased son, xi. Daughter of a predeceased daughter, and xii. Son of a predeceased daughter.
The heirs specified in Class II are grouped in nine categories and the relatives in the previous category shall have precedence to releatives in the subsequent category. The relative in the first category in Class-II is father of the deceased hindu. The relatives in the second category are a) Son’s daughter’s son, b) Son’s daughter’s daughter, c) Brother, d) Sister. If there are no relatives belonging to category 1 & 2 then the inheritance passes on to the relatives in subsequent category.
Often, lack of awareness on the rules of succession and/or disharmony amongst legal heirs leads to differences and disputes. The aggrieved heir/s may be compelled to approcah the court for the intervention resulting into litigation. There is delay in transfer/posession of property and unnecessary expenses.
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