The Supreme Court has said family members on the parental side of a Hindu widow can’t be held to be ‘strangers’ & her property can devolve upon them under the Hindu Succession Act.
Referring to Section 15(1)(d) of the Act, a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy said the heirs of the father of a Hindu woman are covered under persons entitled to succession of property.
The Bench said that “A perusal of the Section indicates that heirs of the father are covered in the heirs (of the property), who could succeed. When heirs of father of a female are included as person who can possibly succeed, it can’t be held that they are strangers & not the members of the family qua the female”.
Section 15 says the property of a female Hindu dying intestate (not having made a will) shall devolve according to the rules set out in Section 16 — (a) firstly, upon the sons & daughters (including the kids of any predeceased son or daughter) & the husband; (b) upon the heirs of the husband; (c) upon the mother & father; (d) upon the heirs of the father; & (e) lastly, upon the heirs of the mother.”
The court upheld the order of High Court & trial court which allowed a childless widow to enter into a family settlement in favour of her brothers’ son. In this case, the woman named Jagno became the absolute owner after her husband’s death.
She entered into a family settlement & settled the property in favour of her brothers’ sons. Her husband’s brother’s kids challenged the transfer.