The law of succession under the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, is classified as
- Testamentary succession:
The law of testamentary is concerned with giving the
best effect to
the wishes of the testator.
- Intestate succession:
The law of intestate succession is concerned with the
mode of devolution
of property of the person dying intestate and heirs disqualified from
The Act provides a detailed scheme of devolution of property by intestate
succession for Hindus who
are subject to the application of this Act. It abolishes the distinct laws of
succession under the
Dayabhaga and Mitakshara systems and provides a uniform law, based on natural
love and affection,
and nearness in a relationship. Under Hindu Law, the inheritance rights of a
person were not absolute.
Despite the nearness of the relationship, a person could still be disqualified
from inheriting property.
The Hindu Succession Act, 1956 has simplified the Hindu law and reduced the
to the barest minimum. The present Act provides for three types of
disqualifications only, which
are based on a violation of the fundamental principles of inheritance.
Succession when Disqualified:
Section 27, Hindu Succession Act, 1956 lays down that "if any person is
disqualified from inheriting any property under this Act, it shall devolve as if
such person had died before the intestate."
It states that a person who is disqualified under this section is considered to be dead before the
intestate. It means no title or right can be succeeded by the disqualified heir.
For instance, P dies leaving behind two brothers A and B, and nephew AS, son of A. A is a
disqualified heir. AS will not inherit anything. B will take the entire property.
Remarriage Section 24 has been omitted by the Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005.
Under this section, remarriage of three widows, before succession opens disentitle them from
These windows are:
- Sonís widow
- Sonís sonís widow
- Brotherís widow
It was held in, Kasturi Devi v deputy div. commissioner,1976, that the widowed
widowed stepmother are not disqualified from inheritance even if they have
MurdererSection 25, Hindu succession Act, Disqualifies an heir who himself murdered or
abetted the murder, in
furtherance of succession:
- Of propositus, or
- Of someone other than the propositus.
- It states that murder must be in "furtherance of succession".
Under this section, the murderer, as well as the abettor of murder, are disqualified.
For instance, P has two sons, A and B. A abets B to murder P. In this case both, A and B are not
entitled to inherit the property.
G.S. Sadashiva v. H.C. Srinivasan, 2001.
In this case, an heir being a murderer was sought to be
disqualified but in the event of the finding of the criminal court that the deceased had committed
suicide and was not murdered, disqualification was not incurred.
This section applies to both laws of succession i.e Testamentary and Intestate succession.
Conversion: Section 26, Hindu Succession Act states that conversion of an heir is not a bar to succession. This
section disqualified the children of the convert and not the heir who has converted. Also, the children
and descendants of the heir cannot inherit, unless such children or descendants are Hindus at the time
when the succession opens.
The succession to the property of the heir who has converted will be governed by the personal law of
the community to which he has converted.
For instance, succession to the property of Hindu converted to Islam will be governed by Muslim Law.
We may illustrate the rule with the following example:
P died leaving behind two sons. A and B and two grandsons CS, CS1; of a predeceased son C who had
converted to Islam.
All the two sons were born to C after his conversion. CS, CS1 are disqualified and
will not take any property. A and B will take Ĺ each. Balchand Jairam Lalwani v. Nazneem Khalid Qureshi, 2018, The Court held that Disqualification
under this section applies to the children of the convert and not to the child/heir who has converted.
This section is only applicable to intestate succession and not to testamentary succession where the
succession is governed by the testator.
Disease, Deformity, and Unchastity
Section 28, Hindu Succession Act states that "No person shall be disqualified from succeeding to any
property on the ground of any disease, defect or deformity, save as provided in this Act, on any other
It means there would be no disqualifications on the grounds of any disease or deformity.
Chandi v. Bhagyadhar, 1976, The court held that Disease, deformity, and unchastity are no longer
This section applies to both laws of succession i.e Testamentary and Intestate
The Hindu Succession Act,1956 has undergone a lot of change by the Hindu Succession (Amendment)
Act,2005, Section 24 which discriminated against women has been omitted by the Amending Act of
2005. Murderers or abettors of murder, children, and descendants of the heir of an intestate, have been
disqualified under this act. A person can inherit the property unless he has been disqualified under
- Diwan, Paras.(2019), ďSuccession.Ē Modern Hindu Law. Faridabad:
Allahabad Law Agency.
- Kasturi Devi v. Deputy Div. Commissioner, AIR 1976 S.C.2595.
- G.S. Sadashiva v. H.C. Srinivasan, AIR 2001 kant.453.
- Balchand Jairam Lalwant v. Nazneem Khalid Qureshi, AIR 2018 Bom.103.
- Chandi v. Bhagyadhar, AIR 1976 Cal.366.