I have two sisters. We have some ancestral property in our Hindu Undivided Family (HUF) of my father. My father passed away in 2002. Now both of my sisters have asked for their share in HUF assets and have asked for a partition. Is their claim valid? -Rajesh Gupta
Section 6 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 governs rights of members of an HUF over properties of Hindu Undivided Family. Only male members called coparceners were entitled to ask for partition and get a share in the joint family properties prior to 2005. Section 6 of The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 was amended in 2005 making daughters as coparcener of the joint family thereby entitling each one of them for a share in the joint family property equal to that of a son. The amendment made the daughters subject to the same rights and liabilities as a son.
Since the daughters were made coparcener, they automatically became entitled to ask for partition of the HUF. There were some controversy about whether the daughters which born after 9th September 2005, the date on which the amendments came into force, only were covered by this amendment or whether all those daughters who were alive on that date became coparcener. There were further controversy as regards whether it was necessary that father and daughter both should be alive on that date to make a living daughter a coparcener under these amended provisions, There were conflicting decisions of various High Courts as well as Supreme Court on the subject.
The matter was ultimately settled by the Supreme Court through a decision in the case of Vineeta Sharma v/s Rakesh Sharma delivered on 11th August, 2020. By this decision the Supreme Court has held that the incidence of becoming a coparcener is connected with the birth of a person so the date of death of the father is not relevant for determining when the daughter became a coparcener.
The court held that though the daughter became a coparcener as soon as she was born but her rights in the joint family property as coparcener gets crystallised on the day when the amendment in section 6 of Hindu Succession Act 1956 came into effect. So your sister are legitimately entitled to get their share in the HUF assets and also ask for partition of HUF assets to get their share.
Balwant Jain is a tax and investment expert. He can be reached on jainbalwant@gmail and @jainbalwant on Twitter
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