A Hindu widow cannot be disqualified from inheriting her dead husband’s property just because she remarried, the Bombay high court held recently.
The court was hearing a petition filed by Mumbai resident Sanjay Patankar in 2006, seeking succession certificate for the estate of his brother, Prakash, who died in May 1998. In his testamentary petition, Patankar had filed a plea demanding a stay on the operation and execution of the succession certificate granted to Prakash’s widow, Prajakta, on June 22, 2006.
Patankar had contended that Prajakta had remarried in December 1998, and she should not get the succession certificate to Sanjay’s property. He cited a provision of the Hindu Widow Remarriage Act, 1856, which states a woman loses the right over her dead husband’s property after remarriage. “There is no provision that disqualifies the widow of a male Hindu from inheriting from her husband,” said the division bench of justice VM Kanade and justice BP Colabawalla, rejecting Patankar’s plea.
The bench upheld the view taken by a single judge bench earlier that the reliance on the provisions of the Hindu Widow Remarriage Act, 1856, was misplaced, as the enactment has been repealed by Parliament in 1983.
The HC noted that section 8 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956, states the property of a Hindu will be given to his heir after his death and the term, heir, includes the widow too.