Case comment – Vineeta Sharma Vs. Rakesh Sharma

Vineeta Sharma Vs. Rakesh Sharma (Civil Appeal Dairy No. 32601 of 2018)

Introduction:

The Supreme Court on 11th August 2020 in Vineeta Sharma Vs. Rakesh Sharma case judgement gave a clarification for Hindu succession amendment 2005 act that, the daughter is considered as a Coparcener in Hindu undivided family irrelevant of the fact of her father’s death. Now the daughter will have equal rights and liabilities as a Coparcener along with the son on joint family property.

Background:

Before in Hindu succession act, 1956 the Supreme Court had followed the rules of Mitakshara law school considering male lineage as Coparceners in succession and this rule is called the survivorship rule. In this rule, women were not given any right in succession. But after the amendment in 2005 section 6 of the Hindu succession amendment act 2005 says that the daughter will have legal rights and liabilities in the ancestral property by birth in a Hindu undivided family equal to that of a son1. By minding the fundamental rights of the Indian Constitution viz article 14 – equality2. In Prakash V. Phulavati case3the Supreme Court held that this act applies prospectively and it applies only if the daughter and father were alive at the time of the amendment.

In Danamma @ Suman surpur V. Amar case4the Supreme Court held that this act applies retrospectively which means the daughter will get the share as Coparcener irrespective of her father’s death.

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Facts:

In this case Sh. Dev Dutt Sharma (Father) had three sons, a daughter and a wife. He expired on 11th December 1999. And one of his sons expired on 1st July 2001 who was unmarried. And then the daughter Ms Vineeta Sharma (Appellant) claimed for 1/4th share in her father’s property by filing a case against two brothers who are Mr Rakesh Sharma and Satyendra Sharma, and her mother (Respondents). The respondents contended that after her marriage she ceased to be a member of the joint family. The Honorable Delhi High Court declined the appeal as the 2005 amendment Act did not gain the appellant as the death of the father of the appellant happened on 11th December 1999.

Issues:

  • Whether it affects the daughter’s right if the father dies before the amendment act 2005?
  • Whether the amendment 2005 Act apply retrospectively or prospectively?
  • can a petition of oral partition after 20 December 2004 be accepted as a statutorily recognised mode of partition?

Arguments:

Shri Tushar Mehta the advocate on behalf of the Union of India argued that the cases in which the partition took place before December 2004 should be set aside untouchable as if we consider those there may be a chance for chaos. And he agreed with the statement that, the daughter can be considered a coparcener even though her father’s death happened before the amendment. Venkata Ramani who was an amicus curiae argued that the amendment Act 2005 applies prospectively by saying that, the right for a daughter arrived by amendment and not by her birth and it applies only to the daughter who was born after the amendment and the father should be alive as if he died the succession would already take place. V. V. S. Rao an amicus curiae argued by considering the grammar in the act and said, it applies prospectively. Sridhar Potharaju an advocate on the respondent’s side argued that notional partition should be considered as actual partition and the preliminary decree should be recognized as a final decree and the amendment act applies prospectively. Amit Pai & Sameer Srivatsava the advocates on the petitioner side argued that the act applies retrospectively cause there is no achievement of the object of the act if it applies prospectively and hence there is discrimination against women is seen.

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Ratio Decidendi:

The judgement in the above case was decided by a three judges bench comprised of justice Arun Mishra, M. R. Shah and S. Abdul Nazeer. The verdict had cleared the conflicts that arose between the Prakash & Ors. V. Phulavati & Ors. Case And the Danamma @ Suman Surpur & And. V. Amar & Ors. Case5 by saying that the daughter is considered as a Coparcener by birth irrespective of her father being alive or not. And the act applies retroactively as the notional partition gives clear scope of the shares. The notional partition is nothing but the partition and is not the actual partition; it is like imagining the partition and concluding the approximate share.

The Supreme Court Overruled the judgement of Prakash & Ors. V. Phulavati & Irs. Case6.

Comment:

The judgement in the above case cleared the ambiguity in the Hindu succession amendment 2005 act7 and In my opinion, there is no point to criticise the above verdict as it clarified all the questions before the court regarding the coparcenary right of a woman. The 2005 amendment act made a great favour to women by giving them the same rights as men in succession.

Endnote

  1. Section 6 of The Hindu Succession Amendment Act 2005 .
  2. Constitution of Indian article 14
  3. (2016) 2 SSC 36
  4. (2018) 3 SSC 343
  5. 2018) 3 SSC 343
  6. 2016) 2 SSC 36
  7. Section 6 of The Hindu Succession Amendment Act 2005 .

 

I.Sirisha

Dr B.R Ambedkar College of Law

5th Year – B.A.L.L.B

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