Three-judge SC bench to hear plea against Hindu Succession Act’s Sec 15

A three-judge bench of the Supreme Court will examine the constitutional validity of Section 15 of the Hindu Succession Act, 1956.

On Monday, a bench of Justices D.Y. Chandrachud and Surya Kant said the matter should be heard by a three-judge bench and scheduled the matter for hearing on February 10.

“List the petition on February 10, 2022. Learned counsel for the parties would be at liberty to file their written submissions before the next date of listing and a copy of the submissions in the PDF format,” its order said.

The plea, filed by Kamal Anant Khopkar through advocate-on-record Manju Jetley, has argued that the Act’s Section 15, discriminates in connection with the devolution of property in case of a woman dying intestate, when compared with the devolution of property of a man dying intestate.

The plea contended that discrimination in the provisions is only based on gender and not on family ties.

Section 15 of the Act details on general rules of succession for Hindu females and sub-section (1), says that property of a female Hindu dying intestate shall devolve according to rules set out in Section 16, which deals with the order of succession and manner of distribution among heirs of a Hindu female.

These list firstly, the sons and daughters (including the children of any pre-deceased son or daughter) and the husband, secondly, the heirs of the husband, thirdly, upon the mother and father, fourthly, the heirs of the father, and lastly, upon the heirs of the mother.

In 2019, the court had issued notice on the petition noting that it raised an important question on gender equality.

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