Property received by woman through partition deed not inheritance: HC

Such a property becomes a woman’s absolute property.

An ancestral property received by a Hindu woman through a registered partition deed will not qualify as inheritance under the Hindu Succession Act, the Karnataka High Court has ruled. Consequently, such a property will not go back to the heirs of the woman’s father upon her demise, the HC added.

“In a considered opinion of this court, it is not possible to hold that the acquisition of the property by virtue of registered partition by the deceased woman cannot be construed to be an inheritance within the meaning of Section 15(2) of the Hindu Succession Act,” the HC said while allowing an appeal by one Basangouda, whose wife Eshwaramma died issueless in 1998.

After her demise, Basangouda filed a suit before a civil court to claim ownership of 22 acres of land his wife received from her father’s side through a partition deed registered in 1974. The civil court rejected his suit.

Under the provisions of Section 15(2) of the Hindu Succession Act, a woman’s share in ger father’s property goes back to the heirs of her father after her death. Similarly, her share in her husband’s property goes back to the legal heirs of her husband.

“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 (including the children of any pre-deceased son or daughter) upon the heirs of the father,” reads the section.

“Any property inherited by a female Hindu from her husband or from her father-in-law shall devolve in the absence of any son or daughter of the deceased (including the children of any pre-deceased son or daughter) upon the heirs of the husband,” it adds.

“Once there is a partition and properties have been divided by metres and bounds, it becomes absolute property of such sharer. If the sharer had any surviving heirs at the time of partition, the property may become the joint family property of the acquirer and his family members. Therefore, registered partition cannot be construed to convey the property by way of inheritance at any stretch of imagination,” said the HC.

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