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My sisters want to partition in the ancestral property

By Shivendra Pratap Singh

My father received some ancestral property from my grandfather.  The property is purely ancestral because my grandfather got it from his father. My father died in 1997 by leaving four sons and three daughters. I am the elder son of my father. I am an engineer and working with the NTPC.

After the death of my father, I somehow arranged the marriage of sisters. Now the sisters are claiming to share in the property which we received from the father. As per my knowledge about the share of a daughter in the ancestral property is that they are not entitled. Sir, please help us to provide proper advice on this matter. We will be grateful to you.

Question from: Bihar

Your information is correct. The daughter had no rights in the ancestral property until The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act, 2005 came into force. The said amendment act came in to force in the year 2005. The Act provides equal rights to the daughter as the son. It is mandatory for taking a share in the ancestral property that the father must alive on the date of enforcement of Amendment Act.

The said amendment came into force on 20  September 2005.  Your father died in 1997. Therefore, your sisters are not entitled to get the share in the ancestral property. The ancestral property always devolves to the coparcener. As per the law regarding the succession, only coparceners are the legal heir of the deceased manager (Karta) of the property.

Before the amendment

Before the Amendment Act, the daughter had no right to be a coparcener concerning the ancestral property. Therefore, the daughter could not claim a share therein. The Amendment Act has made the daughter a coparcener in the ancestral property.  Hence she is entitled to get an equal share.

Your father died before the enforcement of the Amendment Act.  Consequently, in the current scenario, if your sisters move the petition before the court for the partition of the property, they will not succeed.

In the meantime, you should secure your right in the property and avoid any future litigation.  Therefore you should file a declaratory suit.  All the four sons will be the party in the declaratory suit. The court will declare your right and refrain your sister to interfere in the property.

After the amendment

There is some confusion among the daughters that they got an absolute right in the ancestral property. However, in reality, the law is specifically made it clear about the power of the daughter. According to the Act 2005, daughter gets right if the father died before the date of enforcement of the amendment act. This mandatory condition does not happen in your case. Hence, they have no right in the disputed property.

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