oppn parties Stepson Not Entitled To Inheritance if Hindu Dies Intestate

News Snippets

  • The Army conducts an operational alert exercise in eastern Ladakh
  • The IAF reopened the Vijaynagar advance landing ground, an airstrip in Arunachal Pradesh near the Chinese border
  • Amit Shah says he never sought to impose Hindi
  • Government bans the manufacture and sale of e-cigarettes in India
  • Mamata Banerjee seeks an appointment with Home Minister Amit Shah today
  • Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee meets PM Modi in what she later described as a government-to-government meeting
  • Supreme Court sets a deadline of October 18 for completing the hearings in the Ayodhya case
  • Pakistan rejects India's request for use of its airspace when PM Modi flies to the US later this week
  • Crude prices fall sharply as Saudi Arabia assures normal production in a few weeks. Prices fall by 5.4% to $65.30 per barrel
  • Sensex tumbles 700 points over fears that rising crude prices will deal a body blow to the tottering Indian economy
  • As Rajeev Kumar fails to appear before the CBI despite several notices, the agency forms a special team to locate and apprehend him
  • S Jaishankar says Pakistan is not a normal neighbour and its behaviour is a "set of aberrations"
  • External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar says PoK in Indian territory and the country hopes to have physical jurisdiction over it one day
  • Barasat Sessions court near Kolkata rejects Rajeev Kumar anticipatory bail application citing lack of jurisdiction as the reason
  • PM Modi celebrates his birthday with Narmada aarti and later has lunch with his mother.
Sunni Wakf Board and Nirvani Akhara write to the Supreme Court for a negotiated settlement to the Ayodhya dispute
oppn parties
Stepson Not Entitled To Inheritance if Hindu Dies Intestate

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The Bombay High Court has ruled that a stepson cannot be a claimant to share in the property of a Hindu man who dies intestate. The court refused to entertain the plea of the petitioner that since the Income Tax Act, 1961 defined a “child” as including stepson and even adopted son, he should be made a party to the case. The court categorically said that “the claim is clearly preposterous. In the first place, the Applicant must show that he is entitled to succeed to the estate of the deceased either as a relative specified in class-I and if there be no such relative, then as a relative specified in class-II, of the schedule under Hindu Succession Act read with Section 8 of that Act. It is important to note that the controversy involves a claim to the property of a male Hindu dying intestate. The schedule to the Hindu Succession Act refers to heirs in class-I and class-II within the meaning of Section 8 of that Act. A son is included in class-I of the schedule. The Applicant, as son of the wife of the deceased from her first marriage, cannot claim as a son of the deceased. The expression “son” appearing in the Hindu Succession Act does not include a step-son. The expression “son” not having been defined under the Hindu Succession Act, the definition of “son” under the General Clauses Act may be appropriately referred to. In clause (57) of Section 2 of the General Clauses Act, the expression “son” includes only an adopted son and not a step-son. Even otherwise “son” as understood in common parlance means a natural son born to a person after marriage. It is the direct blood relationship, which is the essence of the term “son” as normally understood”.

With this, the court has rightly made a clear distinction on the applicability of the term son as related to the Hindu Succession Act. Different laws give different meaning to different terms but those are basically to plug loopholes that unscrupulous citizens might use to reap unlawful gains. Normally, meanings assigned by individual laws to different terms are limited to those laws only and cannot be stretched to mean the same in any other law. If the IT Act defines a child to include stepson and adopted son it may be because the income of a minor needs to be added to the income of the parent having higher income. But when it come to succession, the court is right in saying that a lineage must be established and that lineage must perforce be through blood relation. A person might be close to his or her stepson and might even leave a large part of his or her estate to him, but when a Hindu dies intestate, as per prevailing law and its application, a stepson cannot claim succession rights.