General Rules of Succession

The Hindu Succession Act of 1956 is the third step in the process of amending and codifying Hindu succession rules. It contains a large number of directions regarding intestate succession. It is based on the Mitakshara rule of succession in significant part, although it applies uniformly to every other school of Hindu law in India. The survivorship of coparcenary property and the succession of separate property are the two modalities of devolution recognised by Hindu law. Initially, only males were permitted to own a portion of the coparcenary estate. When a male coparcener died, his portion of the property was returned to the surviving coparceners, and the deceased’s wife or any female heirs had no claim to it. The Hindu succession laws rectified this by allowing female heirs and the son of the deceased Hindu’s daughter to inherit. Another significant shift was brought about by the 2005 amendment act, which made a daughter in a joint family, a coparcener in her own right. A daughter now has the same rights and obligations as a son and is given an equal part of the property. The prerogative of a female in reference to the residence of the house was previously restricted by Section 23. Despite the fact that female beneficiaries were given equal ownership of the house left by the deceased in the same proportions as male beneficiaries, they were not allowed to divide the property.

Sections 18 to 23 give general succession rules in addition to the other rules indicated in previous sections. If the nature of the relationship is the same in every other element, Section 18 states that heirs who are connected to an intestate by full blood are to be favoured above those who are related by half blood. If two or more heirs jointly succeed to an interstate’s property, they will get it per capita rather than per unit, and as tenants in common rather than joint tenants, according to Section 19. The owners of a property may hold it as tenants in common or joint tenants. When a tenant in common dies, his share of the property belongs to his heirs, however when a joint tenant dies, the deceased’s heirs receive nothing and the deceased’s share passes to the remaining joint owner or owners. A child who was in the womb at the time of the intestate’s death and is born alive later has the same right to inherit the intestate’s property as if he or she were born before the intestate died, according to Section 20.

Section 21 discusses presumptions in the event of several deaths. There may be instances where two people, such as a husband and wife, die in the same plane crash or shipwreck. In such scenarios, the question of who died later in time becomes significant for succession purposes. If two people die in circumstances that make it unclear whether one of them survived the other or, if so, which one survived the other, the younger of the two is presumed to have survived the elder unless the contrary is proven. Section 21 is intended to cover disasters such as shipwrecks, earthquakes, bombings, air or rail mishaps, and other similar events. Although death may or may not have occurred simultaneously in such circumstances, the section establishes an artificial rule of presumption.

 If an intestate’s immovable property or a commercial interest has devolved to two or more heirs of class one of the schedule, and one of them wishes to sell his stake, the other heirs have a preferential right to buy it, pursuant to section 22. The transfer is voidable at the request of any co-heir if the property is sold without making an offer to co-heirs. Previously, the term “immovable property” did not include agricultural land under this clause. In Babu Ram (v) Santokh Singh, the Supreme Court decided that an heir’s right of preference under section 22 of the Hindu succession act 1956 applies even if the property in question is agricultural land.

Section 23 of this act had been deleted by the Hindu succession amendment act of 2005.  This section provided that if a Hindu dying intestate leaves surviving him or her both male and female heirs specified in class one of the schedule and if such intestate property includes a dwelling house, wholly occupied by his family members, a female heir could not claim partition of the dwelling house until the male heirs chose to divide their respective shares therein. The female heir was entitled to a right of residence in such a house. If such a female heir was a daughter, she was entitled to this right of residence only if she was unmarried, deserted by or separated from her husband or if she was a widow.

As a result, the Hindu succession act of 1956 and the amending act of 2005 addressed numerous fundamental limits in the law of succession. The act’s major goal was to ensure total equality in property rights between male and female successors. Female rights have now been proclaimed absolute, putting an end to the concept of limited estate.

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign ā€œBalancing Lifeā€and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

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