H. VASANTHI vs. A. SANTHA (DEAD) THR. LRS. & ORS.

Partition of property under section 29A of Hindu Succession Act and rights of an unmarried daughter as a coparcener. 
Bench
Bela M. Trivedi J.
S. V. Bhatti J.        
Case no.
(2023) SCC Online SC 998
Acts/law
Section 29A of HSA, 1989

FACTS & LEGAL PROCEEDINGS:

Plaintiff’s case is that her grandfather had purchased the suit property via a registered sale deed dated 13.09.2024. The first defendant (D1) is the father of the petitioner herein, who inherited the said suit property as a Joint Hindu Family property. The second defendant (D2) is the brother of the petitioner herein and the third defendant (D3) is the purchaser of the suit property. D1 and D2 entered into an agreement of sale dated 18.07.1974 with D3 and further based on the same agreement was constrained to file the suit for the specific performance same was dismissed and D3 moved to High court (HC) wherein specific performance of the agreement to sale was granted. D1 and D2 reached the Hon’ble Supreme Court (SC) in 1995 and in the interregnum plaintiff, D1 and D2 entered into a partial partition dated 24.02.1980.

Introduction of section 29A:

The significant change which transpired and which is to be considered is that on 25.03.1989 section 29A was introduced by Hindu Succession (Tamil Nadu Amendment) Act, 1989 (HAS). Section 29A of Hindu succession Act confers status of coparcenary to unmarried daughters.

The plaintiff herein got married in 07.07.1989, and she filed a suit thereby claiming her share in the suit property. She proclaimed that her right in the suit property remained undisturbed despite court proceedings which were initiated by D3 and said property is available for partition. The D3 herein contended that property is no more a joint Hindu family property and plaintiff cannot share without assailing the abovesaid sale deed. The said suit filed by plaintiff was dismissed followed by the dismissal by the High court. Therefore, the plaintiff filed the present appeal before the apex court. It was contended by the D3 that suit property ceases to be a Joint Hindu family property on the date of amendment of section 29A of HAS.

ISSUE:

  • Whether suit property has color of coparcenary as on 25.03.1989 and whether same was available for partition?
  • Interpretation and applicability of section 29A state amendment of HAS?

RATIO:

Applicability of section 29A of HMA availability of suit property for partition:

The court opined that the applicability of the section 29A is not deciding factor however the deciding factor is the availability of the suit property for partition. Therefore, court only adjudicated first issue and not looked into construction and applicability of section 29A of HAS. The apex court concurred with the finding of the High court that as on the date of the amendment of section 29A of Hindu Succession Act the suit property was not available for the partition. The plaintiff is obliged to discharge the burden that suit property is coparcenary property and continued to be so even on the date of amendment i.e., 25.03.1989 and therefore plaintiff is entitled to claim partition.

The court pleased to adjudicate that the plaintiff is a coparcener nevertheless said standing is not itself enough to consider the prayer for the partition. Plaintiff herein failed to discharge the burden and therefore not entitled for the partition of suit property. Moreover, in the partial partition deed dated 24.02.1980 plaintiff has admitted the fact that the suit property belongs to D1 and D2 exclusively and she has coparcenary right in other joint family property. D3 has purchased the suit property from the exclusive owners D1 and D2 and ultimately the apex court concurred the judgment of the High Court thereupon suit property is not available for partition.

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