A girl is entitled to inherit the property of her step-father if he dies without leaving a will and the property devolves on her mother, the Supreme Court has held.
A bench of Justice HL Dattu and Justice CK Prasad dismissed an appeal filed by a man from Gujarat who had challenged the state high court verdict pronouncing inheritance rights in favour of his step-cousin.
Petitioner Amrutbhai Vitthalbhai Suthar had contended that the girl in question wasn’t entitled to share in their ancestral property as she was not born out of his uncle's marriage to her mother.
The girl was in fact born in 1963 to her mother from the latter's first wedlock. Her biological father had died in 1967 following which her mother had married Suthar's uncle two years later as per local custom.
In his petition, filed through advocate Haresh Raichuria, Suthar had claimed that her step-cousin was an outsider and hence his uncle's share in the ancestral property could not devolve on her. He had even questioned the factum of the marriage between his uncle and the girl's mother.
But, the SC rejected his plea. “She (girl’s mother) lived with the man. She is entitled to her share in the property,” the bench said. It refused to accept the contention that the step-cousin was alien to the property.
Senior advocate Pinky Anand said: “Once the property devolves on the wife, it becomes her property and her daughter obviously has a right to the mother’s share in it.”