Section 15 HSA #1: SC To Begin Final Hearings

Section 15 of the Hindu Succession Act

Justices D.Y. Chandrachud, Surya Kant and Bela Trivedi are expected to begin final hearings in the challenge to Section 15 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 on April 5th 2022. Kamal Anant Khopkar, challenging the provision, argues that is discriminates against women, violating Article 15 of the Constitution of India, 1950.

As per s 15(1) of the Hindu Succession Act, the property of a Hindu woman dying without a will (‘intestate’) shall be inherited by (‘devolve’ on) her sons, daughters, and husband. If the woman has no living husband or children, the heirs of the husband shall inherit the property. Only in the event that the woman’s husband has no heirs shall the property be inherited by the woman’s parents.

Under s 15, the intestate woman’s husband and his heirs are prioritised over the woman’s parents. For an intestate man, on the other hand, under s 8, the man’s parents are at par with his wife. The wife’s parents have no claim to an intestate  man’s property.

We will update this report as the hearing commences.