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Thursday, February 1, 2018

Land mark judgment on 1956 and 2005 of Hindu Succession Act – rights of daughters = whether, the appellants, daughters of Gurulingappa Savadi, could be denied their share on the ground that they were born prior to the enactment of the Act and, therefore, cannot be treated as coparceners? = Thus we hold that according to Section 6 of the Act when a coparcener dies leaving behind any female relative specified in Class I of the Schedule to the Act or male relative specified in that class claiming through such female relative, his undivided interest in the Mitakshara coparcenary property would not devolve upon the surviving coparcener, by survivorship but upon his heirs by intestate succession. Explanation 1 to Section 6 of the Act provides a mechanism under which undivided interest of a deceased coparcener can be ascertained and i.e. that the interest of a Hindu Mitakshara coparcener shall be deemed to be the share in the property that would have been allotted to him if a partition of the property had taken place immediately before his death, irrespective of whether he was entitled to claim partition or not. It means for the purposes of finding out undivided interest of a deceased coparcener, a notional partition has to be assumed immediately before his death and the same shall devolve upon his heirs by succession which would obviously include the surviving coparcener who, apart from the devolution of the undivided interest of the deceased upon him by succession, would also be entitled to claim his undivided interest in the coparcenary property which he could have got in notional partition.� ; whether, with the passing of Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005, the appellants would become coparcener �by birth� in their �own right in the same manner as the son� and are, therefore, entitled to equal share as that of a son? = Accordingly, we hold that the rights under the amendment are applicable to living daughters of living coparceners as on 9-9-2005 irrespective of when such daughters are born. Disposition or alienation including partitions which may have taken place before 20-12-2004 as per law applicable prior to the said date will remain unaffected. Any transaction of partition effected thereafter will be governed by the Explanation.�- The law relating to a joint Hindu family governed by the Mitakshara law has undergone unprecedented changes. The said changes have been brought forward to address the growing need to merit equal treatment to the nearest female relatives, namely daughters of a coparcener. The section stipulates that a daughter would be a coparcener from her birth, and would have the same rights and liabilities as that of a son. The daughter would hold property to which she is entitled as a coparcenary property, which would be construed as property being capable of being disposed of by her either by a will or any other testamentary disposition. - The amended provision now statutorily recognizes the rights of coparceners of daughters as well since birth .- However, during the pendency of this suit, Section 6 of the Act was amended as the decree was passed by the trial court only in the year 2007. - This Court in Ganduri Koteshwaramma & Anr. v. Chakiri Yanadi & Anr. 8 held that the rights of daughters in coparcenary property as per the amended S. 6 are not lost merely because a preliminary decree has been passed in a partition suit. So far as partition suits are concerned, the partition becomes final only on the passing of a final decree. Where such situation arises, the preliminary decree would have to be amended taking into account the change in the law by the amendment of 2005. - Since, Savadi died leaving behind two sons, two daughters and a widow, both the appellants would be entitled to 1/5 th share each in the said property. Plaintiff (respondent No.1) is son of Arun Kumar (defendant No.1). Since, Arun Kumar will have 1/5 th share, it would be divided into five shares on partition i.e. between defendant No.1 Arun Kumar, his wife defendant No.2, his two daughters defendant Nos.3 and 4 and son/plaintiff (respondent No.1). In this manner, the plaintiff/respondent No.1 would be entitled to 1/25 th share in the property.

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REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NOS. 188-189 OF 2018
[@SLP(C) Nos. 10638-10639 of 2013]
DANAMMA @ SUMAN SURPUR & ANR. .....APPELLANT(S)
VERSUS
AMAR & ORS. .....RESPONDENT(S)
J U D G M E N T
A.K. SIKRI, J.
The   appellants   herein,   two   in   number,  are   the   daughters   of   one,
Gurulingappa   Savadi,   propositus   of   a   Hindu   Joint   Family.     Apart   from
these   two   daughters,   he   had   two   sons,   namely,  Arunkumar   and   Vijay.
Gurulingappa Savadi died in the year 2001 leaving behind the aforesaid
two daughters, two sons and his widow, Sumitra.  After his death, Amar,
S/o  Arunkumar   filed   the   suit   for   partition   and   a   separate   possession   of
the  suit   property  described  at   Schedule  B  to  E  in  the  plaint  stating  that
the   two   sons   and   widow   were   in   joint   possession   of   the   aforesaid
properties as coparceners and properties mentioned in Schedule B was
acquired   out   of   the   joint   family   nucleus   in   the   name   of   Gurulingappa
Savadi.  Case set up by him was that the appellants herein were not the
coparceners   in   the   said   joint   family   as   they   were   born   prior   to   the

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enactment of Hindu Succession Act, 1956 (hereinafter referred to as the
�Act�).   It was also pleaded that they were married daughters and at the
time   of   their   marriage   they   had   received   gold   and   money   and   had,
hence, relinquished their share.  
2) The appellants herein contested the suit by claiming that they were also
entitled   to   share   in   the   joint   family   properties,   being   daughters   of
Gurulingappa  Savadi   and  for   the  reason  that   he  had  died   after   coming
into force the Act of 1950.  
3) The trial court, while decreeing the suit held that the appellants were not
entitled to any share as they were born prior to the enactment of the Act
and, therefore, could not be considered as coparceners.   The trial court
also   rejected   the   alternate   contention   that   the   appellants   had   acquired
share in the said properties, in any case, after the amendment in the Act
vide   amendment   Act   of   2005.     This   view   of   the   trial   court   has   been
upheld by the High Court in the impugned judgement dated January 25,
2012   thereby   confirming   the   decree   dated   August   09,   2007   passed   in
the suit filed for partition.
4) In   the   aforesaid   backdrop,   the   question   of   law   which   arises   for
consideration  in  this  appeal  is  as  to  whether,  the  appellants,   daughters
of Gurulingappa Savadi, could be denied their share on the ground that
they were born prior to the enactment of the Act and, therefore, cannot
be treated as coparceners?  Alternate question is as to whether, with the

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passing   of   Hindu   Succession   (Amendment)   Act,   2005,   the   appellants
would   become   coparcener   �by   birth�   in   their   �own   right   in   the   same
manner as the son� and are, therefore, entitled to equal share as that of
a son?  
5) Though, we have mentioned the gist of the  lis  involved in this case along
with   brief   factual   background   in   which   it   has   arisen,   some   more   facts
which may be necessary for understanding the genesis of issue involved
may   also   be   recapitulated.     We   may   start   with   the   genealogy   of   the
parties, it is as under:
� Guralingappa=Sumitra
     (Def.8)
---------------------------------------------------------------
Mahandanda    Arunkumar @ Arun=Sarojini Vijay    Danamma
(Def. 7)      (Def.1) (dead)      (Def.2)   (Def.5)  (Def. 6)
----------------------------------------------
       Sheetal      Amar        Triveni
    (Def. 3)       (Plff)   (Def. 4) �
6)   Respondent   No.   1   herein   (the   plaintiff)   filed   the   suit   on   July   01,   2002
claiming 1/15 th
  share in the suit schedule properties. In the said suit, he
mentioned the properties which needed partition.
7) The plaint schedule C compromised of the house properties belonging to
the joint family.  The plaint schedule D comprised of the shop properties

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belonging   to   the   joint   family.    The   plaint   schedule   E   comprised   of   the
machineries   and   movable   belonging   to   the   joint   family.     The   plaintiff
averred   that   the   plaint   schedule   properties   belonged   to   the   joint   family
and   that   defendant   no.   1,   the   father   of   the   plaintiff   was   neglecting   the
plaintiff   and   his   siblings   and   sought   partition   of   the   suit   schedule
properties.    The  plaintiff  contended  that   all  the  suit   schedule  properties
were the joint family properties.   The plaintiff contended in para 5 of the
plaint that the propositus, Guralingappa died 1 year prior to the filing of
the suit.  In para 7 of the plaint, the plaintiff contended that defendant no.
1 had 1/3 rd
 share and defendant no. 5 and 8 had 1/3 rd
 share each in the
suit schedule properties.   The plaintiff also contended that defendants 6
and 7 did not have any share in the suit schedule properties.
8) Defendant no. 1 (father of the plaintiff) and son of  Guralingappa Savadi
did not file any written statement.   Defendant nos. 2, 3 and 4 filed their
separate   written   statements   supporting   the   claim   of   the   plaintiff.
Defendant   no.   5   (respondent   no.   5   herein   and   son   of   Guralingappa
Savadi), however, contested the suit.  He, inter alia, contended that after
the   death   of   Guralingappa,   an   oral   partition   took   place   between
defendant   no.   1,   defendant   no.   5   and   others   and   in   the   said   partition,
defendant no. 1 was allotted certain properties and defendant no. 5 was
allotted   certain   other   properties   and   defendant   no.   8,   Sumitra,   wife   of
Guralingappa   Savadi   was   allotted   certain   other   properties.     Defendant

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no.   5   further   contended   that   defendant   nos.   6   and   7   were   not   allotted
any properties in the said alleged oral partition.
9) Defendant   no.   5   further   contended   that   one   of   the   properties,   namely,
C.T.S.   No.   774   and   also   certain   other   properties   were   not   joint   family
properties.
10) The appellants claimed that they were also entitled to their share in
the   property.   After   framing   the   issues   and   recording   the   evidence,   the
trial  court   by  its   judgment   and   decree   dated  August   09,   2007   held   that
the suit schedule properties were joint family properties except CTS No.
774 (one of the house properties in plaint C schedule).
11) The   trial   court   held   that   the   plaintiff,   defendant   nos.   2   to   4   were
entitled to 1/8 th
 share in the joint family properties.  The trial court further
noted that defendant no. 8 (wife of Gurulingappa Savadi) died during the
pendency   of   the   suit   intestate   and   her   share   devolved   in   favour   of
defendants no. 1 and 5 only and, therefore, defendant nos. 1 and 2 were
entitled to � share in the said share.  The trial court passed the following
order:
� The suit of the plaintiff is decreed holding that the plaintiff
is   entitled   for   partition   and   separate   possession   of   his
1/8 th
  share in the suit �B�, �C� and �D� schedule properties
(except   CTS   No.   774)   and   also   in   respect   of   the
Machinery�s   stated   in   the   report   of   the   commissioner.
The commissioners report Ex. P16 which contains the list
of machinery�s to form part of the decree.

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The defendants 2 to 4 are each entitled to a/8 th
 share and
the   5 th
  defendant   is   entitled   for   4/8   share   in   the   above
said properties.�
12) The trial court, thus, denied any share to the appellants.
13) Aggrieved   by   the   said   judgment   and   decree   of   the   trial   court,   the
defendant nos. 6 and 7 filed an appeal bearing R.F.A.  No. 322 of 2008
before   the   High   Court   seeking   equal   share   as   that   of   the   sons   of   the
propositus, namely, defendant nos. 1 and 5.
14) The High Court by its impugned judgment and order dated January
25,   2012   dismissed   the   appeal.   Thereafter,   on   March   04,   2012
defendant nos. 6 and 7 filed a review petition bearing no. 1533 of 2012
before the High Court, which met the same fate.
15) We have heard the learned counsel for the parties.   Whereas, the
learned counsel for the appellants reiterated his submissions which were
made  before  the  High  Court   as  well  and  noted  above,   learned  counsel
for   the   respondents   refuted   those   submissions   by   relying   upon   the
reason given by the High Court in the impugned judgment.
16) In the first instance, let us take note of the provisions of Section 6
of   the   Act,   as   it   stood   prior   to   its   amendment   by   the   Amendment   Act,
2005.  This provision reads as under:
6.   Devolution   of   interest   in   coparcenary   property. �When   a
male Hindu dies after the commencement of this Act, having at

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the   time   of   his   death   an   interest   in   a   Mitakshara   coparcenary
property,   his   interest   in   the   property   shall   devolve   by
survivorship   upon   the   surviving   members   of   the   coparcenary
and not in accordance with this Act:
Provided   that,   if   the   deceased   had   left   him   surviving   a
female   relative   specified   in   Class   I   of   the   Schedule   or   a   male
relative specified in that class who claims through such female
relative,   the   interest   of   the   deceased   in   the   Mitakshara
coparcenary   property   shall   devolve   by   testamentary   or
intestate   succession,   as   the   case   may   be,   under   this  Act   and
not by survivorship.
Explanation   1 .�For   the   purposes   of   this   section,   the
interest of a Hindu Mitakshara coparcener shall be deemed to
be   the   share   in   the   property   that   would   have   been   allotted   to
him   if   a   partition   of   the   property   had   taken   place   immediately
before   his   death,   irrespective   of   whether   he   was   entitled   to
claim partition or not.
Explanation   2 .�Nothing   contained   in   the   proviso   to   this
section   shall   be   construed   as   enabling   a   person   who   had
separated himself from the coparcenary before the death of the
deceased   or   any   of   his   heirs   to   claim   on   intestacy   a   share   in
the interest referred to therein.�

17) No   doubt,   Explanation   1   to   the   aforesaid   Section   states   that   the
interest   of   the   deceased   Mitakshara   coparcenary   property   shall   be
deemed to be the share in the property that would have been allotted to
him   if   the   partition   of   the   property   had   taken   place   immediately   before
his death, irrespective whether he was entitled to claim partition or not.
This   Explanation   came   up   for   interpretation   before   this   Court   in   Anar
Devi   &   Ors.   v.   Parmeshwari   Devi   &   Ors. 1
.     The   Court   quoted,   with
approval,  the following passage  from  the  authoritative  treatise  of   Mulla,
Principles   of   Hindu   Law,   17 th
  Edn.,   Vol.   II,   p.   250   wherein   the   learned
1   (2006) 8 SCC 656

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author   made   following   remarks   while   interpreting   Explanation   1   to
Section 6:
�� Explanation   1   defines   the   expression   �the   interest   of   the
deceased   in   Mitakshara   coparcenary   property�   and
incorporates into the subject the concept of a notional partition.
It   is   essential   to   note   that   this   notional   partition   is   for   the
purpose   of   enabling   succession   to   and   computation   of   an
interest, which was otherwise liable to devolve by survivorship
and   for   the   ascertainment   of   the   shares   in   that   interest   of   the
relatives mentioned in Class I of the Schedule. Subject to such
carving   out   of   the   interest   of   the   deceased   coparcener   the
other incidents of the coparcenary are left undisturbed and the
coparcenary can continue without disruption. A statutory fiction
which  treats  an  imaginary  state  of  affairs   as real  requires  that
the consequences and incidents of the putative state of affairs
must flow from or accompany it as if the putative state of affairs
had   in   fact   existed   and   effect   must   be   given   to   the   inevitable
corollaries of that state of affairs.�
7.   The learned author further stated that:
[T]he operation of the notional partition and its inevitable
corollaries and incidents is to be only for the purposes of
this   section,   namely,   devolution   of   interest   of   the
deceased   in   coparcenary   property   and   would   not   bring
about total disruption of the coparcenary as if there had
in   fact  been   a  regular   partition   and   severance   of  status
among all the surviving coparceners.�
8.  According to the learned author, at pp. 253-54, the undivided
interest
� of   the   deceased   coparcener   for   the   purpose   of   giving
effect   to   the   rule   laid   down   in   the   proviso,   as   already
pointed   out,   is   to   be   ascertained   on   the   footing   of   a
notional   partition   as   of   the   date   of   his   death.   The
determination   of   that   share   must   depend   on   the
number of persons who would have been entitled to a
share   in   the   coparcenary   property   if   a   partition   had   in
fact   taken   place   immediately   before   his   death   and
such   person   would   have   to   be   ascertained   according
to   the   law   of   joint   family   and   partition.   The   rules   of
Hindu   law   on   the   subject   in   force   at   the   time   of   the
death   of   the   coparcener   must,   therefore,   govern   the
question   of   ascertainment   of   the   persons   who   would

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have been entitled to a share on the notional partition�.

18) Thereafter the Court spelled out the manner in which the statutory
fiction is to be construed by referring to certain judgments and summed
up the position as follows:
� 11.   Thus we hold that according to Section 6 of the Act when a
coparcener dies leaving behind any female relative specified in
Class I of the Schedule to the Act or male relative specified in
that class claiming through such female relative, his undivided
interest   in   the   Mitakshara   coparcenary   property   would   not
devolve   upon   the   surviving   coparcener,   by   survivorship   but
upon   his   heirs   by   intestate   succession.   Explanation   1   to
Section   6   of   the   Act   provides   a   mechanism   under   which
undivided   interest   of   a   deceased   coparcener   can   be
ascertained   and   i.e.   that   the   interest   of   a   Hindu   Mitakshara
coparcener   shall   be   deemed   to   be   the   share   in   the   property
that   would   have   been   allotted   to   him   if   a   partition   of   the
property   had   taken   place   immediately   before   his   death,
irrespective of whether he was entitled to claim partition or not.
It means for the purposes of finding out undivided interest of a
deceased   coparcener,  a   notional   partition   has   to   be   assumed
immediately before his death and the same shall devolve upon
his   heirs   by   succession   which   would   obviously   include   the
surviving   coparcener   who,   apart   from   the   devolution   of   the
undivided   interest   of   the   deceased   upon   him   by   succession,
would   also   be   entitled   to   claim   his   undivided   interest   in   the
coparcenary   property   which   he   could   have   got   in   notional
partition.�

19) This case clearly negates the view taken by the High Court in the
impugned judgment.
20) That   apart,   we   are   of   the   view   that   amendment   to   the   aforesaid
Section vide Amendment Act, 2005 clinches the issue, beyond any pale
of doubt, in favour of the appellants.  This amendment now confers upon
the  daughter   of   the  coparcener   as  well   the   status   of   coparcener   in   her
own   right   in   the   same   manner   as   the   son   and   gives   same   rights   and

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liabilities   in   the   coparcener   properties   as   she   would   have   had   if   it   had
been son.  The amended provision reads as under:
� 6. Devolution of interest in coparcenary property.?(1) On and
from   the   commencement   of   the   Hindu   Succession
(Amendment)  Act,   2005   (39   of   2005),   in   a   Joint   Hindu   family
governed by the Mitakshara law, the daughter of a coparcener
shall,? 
(a)   by   birth   become   a   coparcener   in   her   own   right   the   same
manner as the son; 
(b)   have   the   same   rights   in   the   coparcenery   property   as   she
would have had if she had been a son; 
(c)   be   subject   to   the   same   liabilities   in   respect   of   the   said
coparcenery property as that of a son, 
and   any   reference   to   a   Hindu   Mitakshara   coparcener   shall   be
deemed to include a reference to a daughter of a coparcener: 
Provided that nothing  contained  in this  sub-section  shall
affect   or   invalidate   any   disposition   or   alienation   including   any
partition   or   testamentary   disposition   of   property   which   had
taken place before the 20th day of December, 2004. 
(2) Any  property  to  which  a  female  Hindu  becomes  entitled   by
virtue of sub-section (1) shall be held by her with the incidents
of   coparcenary   ownership   and   shall   be   regarded,
notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or any other law
for   the   time   being   in   force,   as   property   capable   of   being
disposed of by her by testamentary disposition. 
(3) Where a Hindu dies after the commencement of the Hindu
Succession   (Amendment)  Act,   2005   (39   of   2005),   his   interest
in   the   property   of   a   Joint   Hindu   family   governed   by   the
Mitakshara   law,   shall   devolve   by   testamentary   or   intestate
succession,   as   the   case   may   be,   under   this   Act   and   not   by
survivorship, and the coparcenery property shall be deemed to
have been divided as if a partition had taken place and,? 
(a)   the   daughter   is   allotted   the   same   share   as   is   allotted   to   a
son; 
(b)   the   share   of   the   pre-deceased   son   or   a   pre-deceased
daughter,  as   they   would   have   got   had   they   been   alive   at   the

11
time of partition, shall be allotted to the surviving child of such
pre-deceased son or of such pre-deceased daughter; and 
(c) the share of the pre-deceased child of a pre-deceased son
or   of   a   pre-deceased   daughter,  as   such   child   would   have   got
had   he   or   she   been   alive   at   the   time   of   the   partition,   shall   be
allotted   to   the   child   of   such   pre-deceased   child   of   the
pre-deceased   son   or   a   pre-deceased   daughter,   as   the   case
may be. 
Explanation.?For   the   purposes   of   this   sub-section,   the
interest of a Hindu Mitakshara coparcener shall be deemed to
be   the   share   in   the   property   that   would   have   been   allotted   to
him   if   a   partition   of   the   property   had   taken   place   immediately
before   his   death,   irrespective   of   whether   he   was   entitled   to
claim partition or not. 
(4)   After   the   commencement   of   the   Hindu   Succession
(Amendment) Act, 2005 (39 of 2005), no court shall recognise
any   right   to   proceed   against   a   son,   grandson   or
great-grandson   for   the   recovery   of   any   debt   due   from   his
father, grandfather or great-grandfather solely on the ground of
the   pious   obligation   under   the   Hindu   law,   of   such   son,
grandson or great-grandson to discharge any such debt: 
Provided   that   in   the   case   of   any   debt   contracted   before
the   commencement   of   the   Hindu   Succession   (Amendment)
Act,   2005   (39   of   2005),   nothing   contained   in   this   sub-section
shall affect? 
(a)   the   right   of   any   creditor   to   proceed   against   the   son,
grandson or great-grandson, as the case may be; or 
(b)   any   alienation   made   in   respect   of   or   in   satisfaction   of,   any
such   debt,   and   any   such   right   or   alienation   shall   be
enforceable   under   the   rule   of   pious   obligation   in   the   same
manner   and   to   the   same   extent   as   it   would   have   been
enforceable   as   if   the   Hindu   Succession   (Amendment)   Act,
2005 (39 of 2005) had not been enacted. 
Explanation.?For   the   purposes   of   clause   (a),   the
expression   �son�,   �grandson�   or   �great-grandson�   shall   be
deemed to refer to the son, grandson or great-grandson, as the
case   may   be,   who   was   born   or   adopted   prior   to   the
commencement   of   the   Hindu   Succession   (Amendment)   Act,
2005 (39 of 2005). 
(5)   Nothing   contained   in   this   section   shall   apply   to   a   partition,

12
which   has   been   effected   before   the   20th   day   of   December,
2004.
  Explanation.?For the purposes of this section �partition�
means   any   partition   made   by   execution   of   a   deed   of   partition
duly registered under the Registration Act, 1908 (16 of 1908) or
partition effected by a decree of a court.]�

21) The   effect   of   this   amendment   has   been   the   subject   matter   of
pronouncements   by   various   High   Courts,   in   particular,   the   issue   as   to
whether   the  right  would  be conferred  only  upon  the  daughters  who  are
born after September 9, 2005 when Act came into force or even to those
daughters   who   were   born   earlier.     Bombay   High   Court   in   Vaishali
Satish   Gonarkar   v.   Satish   Keshorao   Gonarkar 2
  had   taken   the   view
that the provision cannot be made applicable to all daughters born even
prior   to   the   amendment,   when   the   Legislature   itself   specified   the
posterior date from which the Act would come into force. This view was
contrary   to   the   view   taken   by   the   same   High   Court   in   Sadashiv
Sakharam Patil  v.  Chandrakant Gopal Desale 3
.  Matter was referred to
the   Full   Bench   and   the   judgment   of   the   Full   Bench   is   reported   as
Badrinarayan   Shankar   Bhandari   v.   Omprakash   Shankar   Bhandari 4
.
The Full Bench held that clause (a) of sub-section (1) of Section 6 would
be  prospective  in operation  whereas  clause (b)  and  (c)  and other  parts
of   sub-section   (1)   as   well   as   sub-section   (2)   would   be   retroactive   in
operation.     It   held   that   amended   Section   6   applied   to   daughters   born
2   AIR 2012 Bom 110
3   2011 (5) Bom CR 726
4   AIR 2014 Bom 151

13
prior   to  June   17,   1956   (the   date   on   which  Hindu   Succession  Act   came
into   force)   or   thereafter   (between   June   17,   1956   and   September   8,
2005)   provided   they   are   alive   on   September   9,   2005   i.e.   on   the   date
when Amended Act, 2005 came into force.  Orissa, Karnataka and Delhi
High Court have also held to the same effect 5
.
22) The   controversy   now   stands   settled   with   the   authoritative
pronouncement   in   the   case   of   Prakash   &   Ors.   v.   Phulavati   &   Ors. 6
which has approved the view taken by the aforesaid High Courts as well
as Full Bench of the Bombay High Court.  Following discussion from the
said judgment is relevant:
� 17.   The   text   of   the   amendment   itself   clearly   provides   that   the
right conferred on a �daughter of a coparcener� is �on and from
the   commencement   of   the   Hindu   Succession   (Amendment)
Act, 2005�. Section 6(3) talks of death after the amendment for
its applicability. In view of plain language of the statute, there is
no   scope  for   a  different   interpretation  than  the  one  suggested
by the text of the amendment. An amendment of a substantive
provision   is   always   prospective   unless   either   expressly   or   by
necessary   intendment   it   is   retrospective.   [ Shyam
Sunder   v.   Ram Kumar , (2001) 8 SCC 24, paras 22 to 27] In the
present case, there is neither any express provision for giving
retrospective   effect   to   the   amended   provision   nor   necessary
intendment   to   that   effect.   Requirement   of   partition   being
registered   can   have   no   application   to   statutory   notional
partition   on   opening   of   succession   as   per   unamended
provision, having regard to nature of such partition which is by
operation   of   law.  The   intent   and   effect   of   the   amendment   will
be considered a little later. On this finding, the view of the High
Court cannot be sustained.
18.   The   contention   of   the   respondents   that   the   amendment
should   be   read   as   retrospective   being   a   piece   of   social
5   AIR 2008 Ori 133: Pravat Chandra Pattnaik v. Sarat Chandra Pattnaik; ILR 2007 Kar
4790: Sugalabai v. Gundappa A. Maradi and 197 (2013) DLT 154: Rakhi Gupta v. Zahoor Ahmad
6   (2016) 2 SCC 36

14
legislation cannot be accepted. Even a social legislation cannot
be   given   retrospective   effect   unless   so   provided   for   or   so
intended by the legislature. In the present case, the legislature
has expressly made the amendment applicable on and from its
commencement and only if death of the coparcener in question
is   after   the   amendment.   Thus,   no   other   interpretation   is
possible   in   view   of   the   express   language   of   the   statute.   The
proviso keeping dispositions or alienations or partitions prior to
20-12-2004   unaffected   can   also   not   lead   to   the   inference   that
the   daughter   could   be   a   coparcener   prior   to   the
commencement   of   the   Act.   The   proviso   only   means   that   the
transactions   not   covered   thereby   will   not   affect   the   extent   of
coparcenary   property   which   may   be   available   when   the   main
provision   is   applicable.   Similarly,   Explanation   has   to   be   read
harmoniously with the substantive provision of Section 6(5) by
being   limited   to   a   transaction   of   partition   effected   after
20-12-2004.   Notional   partition,   by   its   very   nature,   is   not
covered   either   under   the   proviso   or   under   sub-section   (5)   or
under the Explanation.
19.   Interpretation   of   a   provision   depends   on   the   text   and   the
context.   [ RBI   v.   Peerless   General   Finance   &   Investment   Co.
Ltd. , (1987) 1 SCC 424, p. 450, para 33] Normal rule is to read
the words of a statute in ordinary sense. In case of ambiguity,
rational meaning has to be given. [ Kehar Singh   v.   State (Delhi
Admn.) ,   (1988)   3   SCC   609   :   1988   SCC   (Cri)   711]   In   case   of
apparent   conflict,   harmonious   meaning   to   advance   the   object
and   intention   of   legislature   has   to   be   given.   [ District   Mining
Officer v.   T ISCO , (2001) 7 SCC 358]
20.   There   have   been   number   of   occasions   when   a   proviso   or
an   explanation   came   up   for   interpretation.   Depending   on   the
text,   context   and   the   purpose,   different   rules   of   interpretation
have   been   applied.   [ S.   Sundaram   Pillai   v.   V.R.   Pattabiraman ,
(1985) 1 SCC 591]
21.   Normal   rule   is   that  a   proviso  excepts  something  out  of   the
enactment which would otherwise be within the purview of the
enactment   but   if   the   text,   context   or   purpose   so   require   a
different rule may apply. Similarly, an explanation  is to explain
the   meaning   of   words   of   the   section   but   if   the   language   or
purpose   so   require,   the   explanation   can   be   so   interpreted.
Rules   of   interpretation   of   statutes   are   useful   servants   but
difficult   masters.   [ Keshavji   Ravji   &   Co.   v.   CIT ,   (1990)   2   SCC
231   :   1990   SCC   (Tax)   268]   Object   of   interpretation   is   to
discover the intention of legislature.
22.   In this background, we find that the proviso to Section 6(1)

15
and   sub-section   (5)   of   Section   6   clearly   intend   to   exclude   the
transactions   referred   to   therein   which   may   have   taken   place
prior   to   20-12-2004   on   which   date   the   Bill   was   introduced.
Explanation   cannot   permit   reopening   of   partitions   which   were
valid   when   effected.   Object   of   giving   finality   to   transactions
prior   to   20-12-2004   is   not   to   make   the   main   provision
retrospective   in   any   manner.   The   object   is   that   by   fake
transactions available property at the introduction of the Bill is
not   taken   away   and   remains   available   as   and   when   right
conferred   by   the   statute   becomes   available   and   is   to   be
enforced.   Main   provision   of   the   amendment   in   Sections   6(1)
and   (3)   is   not   in   any   manner   intended   to   be   affected   but
strengthened   in   this   way.   Settled   principles   governing   such
transactions  relied   upon  by   the  appellants  are  not  intended  to
be   done   away   with   for   period   prior   to   20-12-2004.   In   no   case
statutory   notional   partition   even   after   20-12-2004   could   be
covered by the Explanation or the proviso in question.
23.   Accordingly,  we   hold   that   the   rights   under   the   amendment
are   applicable   to   living   daughters   of   living   coparceners   as   on
9-9-2005   irrespective   of   when   such   daughters   are   born.
Disposition   or   alienation   including   partitions   which   may   have
taken   place   before   20-12-2004   as   per   law   applicable   prior   to
the   said   date   will   remain   unaffected.   Any   transaction   of
partition   effected   thereafter   will   be   governed   by   the
Explanation.�

23) The law relating to a joint Hindu family governed by the  Mitakshara
law   has   undergone   unprecedented   changes.   The   said   changes   have
been   brought   forward   to   address   the   growing   need   to   merit   equal
treatment   to   the   nearest   female   relatives,   namely   daughters   of   a
coparcener.   The   section   stipulates   that   a   daughter   would   be   a
coparcener from her birth, and would have the same rights and liabilities
as   that   of   a   son.   The   daughter   would   hold   property   to   which   she   is
entitled   as   a   coparcenary   property,   which   would   be   construed   as
property being capable of being disposed of by her either by a will or any
other testamentary disposition. These changes have been sought to be

16
made   on   the   touchstone   of   equality,   thus   seeking   to   remove   the
perceived   disability   and   prejudice   to   which   a   daughter   was   subjected.
The   fundamental   changes   brought   forward   about   in   the   Hindu
Succession Act, 1956 by amending it in 2005, are perhaps a realization
of the immortal words of   Roscoe Pound   as appearing in his celebrated
treaties,   The Ideal Element in Law,   that �the law must be stable and yet
it   cannot   stand   still.   Hence   all   thinking   about   law   has   struggled   to
reconcile the conflicting demands of the need of stability and the need of
change.�
24) Section   6,   as   amended,   stipulates   that   on   and   from   the
commencement   of   the   amended   Act,   2005,   the   daughter   of   a
coparcener shall   by birth   become a coparcener in her own right in   the
same manner as the son . It is apparent that the status conferred upon
sons under the old section and the old Hindu Law was to treat them as
coparceners   since   birth .     The   amended   provision   now   statutorily
recognizes   the   rights   of   coparceners   of   daughters   as   well   since   birth .
The   section   uses   the   words   in   the   same   manner   as   the   son .   It   should
therefore   be   apparent   that   both   the   sons   and   the   daughters   of   a
coparcener have been conferred the right of becoming coparceners   by
birth .     It   is   the   very   factum   of   birth   in  a  coparcenary   that   creates  the
coparcenary, therefore the sons and daughters of a coparcener become
coparceners   by   virtue   of   birth .   Devolution   of   coparcenary   property   is

17
the later stage of and a consequence of death of a coparcener. The first
stage of a coparcenary is obviously its creation as explained above, and
as is well recognized. One of the incidents of coparcenary is the right of
a   coparcener   to   seek   a   severance   of   status.     Hence,   the   rights   of
coparceners  emanate  and  flow  from   birth  (now  including  daughters)   as
is evident from sub-s (1)(a) and (b). 
25) Reference to the decision of this Court, in the case of   State Bank
of India  v.  Ghamandi  Ram 7
  in essential to understand the  incidents of
coparceneryship   as   was   always   inherited   in   a   Hindu   Mitakshara
coparcenary:
� According   to   the   Mitakshara   School   of   Hindu   Law   all   the
property of  a Hindu joint  family  is held  in collective  ownership
by   all   the   coparceners   in   a   quasi-corporate   capacity.   The
textual authority of the Mitakshara lays down in express terms
that the joint family property is held in trust for the joint family
members   then   living   and   thereafter   to   be   born   (See
Mitakshara,   Ch.   I.   1-27).   The   incidents   of   coparcenership
under   the   Mitakshara   law   are :   first,   the   lineal   male
descendants of a person up to the third generation, acquire on
birth   ownership   in   the   ancestral   properties   is   common;
secondly, that such descendants can at any time work out
their   rights   by   asking   for   partition;   thirdly,  that   till   partition
each   member   has   got   ownership   extending   over   the   entire
property,   conjointly   with   the   rest;   fourthly,   that   as   a   result   of
such   co-ownership   the   possession   and   enjoyment   of   the
properties is common; fifthly, that no alienation of the property
is  possible   unless  it  be  for  necessity, without  the  concurrence
of the coparceners, and sixthly, that the interest of a deceased
member lapses on his death to the survivors.�
26) Hence, it is clear that the right to partition has not been abrogated.
The right is  inherent  and can be availed of by  any  coparcener,  now
7   AIR 1969 SC 1330.

18
even a daughter who is a coparcener.
27) In the present case, no doubt, suit for partition was filed in the year
2002.     However,  during   the   pendency   of   this   suit,   Section   6   of   the  Act
was   amended   as   the   decree   was   passed   by   the   trial   court   only   in   the
year 2007.  Thus, the rights of the appellants got crystallised in the year
2005 and this event should have been kept in mind by the trial court as
well  as by the High  Court.   This  Court  in   Ganduri  Koteshwaramma  &
Anr.   v.   Chakiri   Yanadi   &   Anr. 8
    held   that   the   rights   of   daughters   in
coparcenary   property   as   per   the   amended   S.   6   are   not   lost   merely
because a preliminary decree has been passed in a partition suit. So far
as partition suits are concerned, the partition becomes final only on the
passing  of  a  final  decree.    Where  such  situation  arises,   the  preliminary
decree would have to be amended taking into account the change in the
law by the amendment of 2005.
28) On   facts,   there   is   no   dispute   that   the   property   which   was   the
subject  matter  of  partition  suit  belongs  to  joint  family  and  Gurulingappa
Savadi   was   propositus   of   the   said   joint   family   property.    In   view   of   our
aforesaid   discussion,   in   the   said   partition   suit,   share   will   devolve   upon
the appellants as well.  Since, Savadi died leaving behind two sons, two
daughters   and   a   widow,   both   the   appellants   would   be   entitled   to   1/5 th
share   each   in   the   said   property.     Plaintiff   (respondent   No.1)   is   son   of
8   (2011) 9 SCC 788

19
Arun Kumar (defendant No.1).   Since, Arun Kumar will have 1/5 th
  share,
it   would   be   divided   into   five   shares   on   partition   i.e.   between   defendant
No.1 Arun Kumar, his wife defendant No.2, his two daughters defendant
Nos.3   and   4   and   son/plaintiff   (respondent   No.1).     In   this   manner,   the
plaintiff/respondent No.1 would be entitled to 1/25 th
 share in the property.
29) The   appeals   are   allowed   in   the   aforesaid   terms   and   decree   of
partition shall be drawn by the trial court accordingly.
No order as to costs.
.............................................J.
(A.K. SIKRI)
.............................................J.
(ASHOK BHUSHAN)
NEW DELHI;
FEBRUARY 1, 2018.

20
ITEM NO.1501               COURT NO.6               SECTION IV-A
               S U P R E M E  C O U R T  O F  I N D I A
                       RECORD OF PROCEEDINGS
Civil Appeal  No(s).  188-189/2018
DANAMMA @ SUMAN SURPUR & ANR.                      Appellant(s)
                                VERSUS
AMAR & ORS.                                        Respondent(s)
(HEARD BY HONBLE A.K. SIKRI AND HONBLE ASHOK BHUSHAN, JJ.)
Date : 01-02-2018 These appeals were called on for hearing today.
For Appellant(s)    Mr. S. N. Bhat, AOR
                 
For Respondent(s)
                    Mr. H. Chandra Sekhar, AOR
                 
       
 Hon'ble Mr. Justice A.K. Sikri pronounced the judgment of the
Bench   comprising   His   Lordship   and   Hon'ble   Mr.   Justice   Ashok
Bhushan.
The   appeals   are   allowed   in   terms   of   the   signed   reportable
judgment.
Pending   application(s),   if   any,   stands   disposed   of
accordingly.
(Ashwani Thakur)    (Mala Kumari Sharma )
   COURT MASTER          COURT MASTER
(Signed reportable judgment is placed on the file) 

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