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Hindu Succession Act, 1956


3. Definitions and interpretations

(1) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires-

(a) "agnate" - one person is said to be an "agnate" of another if the two are related by blood or adoption wholly through males;

(b) "Aliyasantana law" means the system of law applicable to persons who, if this Act had not been passed, would have been governed by the Madras Aliyasantana Act, 1949, or by the customary Aliyasantana law with respect to the matters for which provision is made in this Act;

(c) "cognate" - one person is said to be a cognate of another if the two are related by blood or adoption but not wholly through males;

(d) the expressions "custom" and "usage" signify any rule which having been continuously and uniformly observed for a long time, has obtained the force of law among Hindus in any local area, tribe, community, group or family:

PROVIDED that the rule is certain and not unreasonable or opposed to public policy:

PROVIDED FURTHER that in the case of a rule applicable only to a family it has not been discontinued by the family;

(e) "full blood", "half blood" and "uterine blood"-

(i) two persons said to be related to each other by full blood when they are descended from a common ancestor by the same wife, and by half blood when they are descended from a common ancestor but by different wives;

(ii) two persons are said to be related to each other by uterine blood when they are descended from a common ancestress but by different husbands;

Explanation : In this clause "ancestor" includes the father and "ancestress" the mother, 

(f) "heir" means any person, male or female, who is entitled to succeed to the property of an intestate under this Act;

(g) "intestate" - a person is deemed to die intestate in respect of property of which he or she has not made a testamentary disposition capable of taking effect;

(h) "marumakkattayam law" means the system of law applicable to persons-

(a) who, if this Act had not been passed, would have been governed by the Madras Marumakkattayam Act, 1932; the Travancore Nayar Act; the Travancore Ezhava Act; the Travancore Nanjinad Vellala Act; the Travancore Kshatriya Act; the Travancore Krishnanvaka Marumakkathayyee Act; the Cochin Marumakkathayam Act; or the Cochin Nayar Act with respect to the matters for which provision is made in this Act; or

(b) who belong to any community, the members of which are largely domiciled in the State of Travancore-Cochin or Madras 1[as it existed immediately before the lst November, 1956,] and who, if this Act had not been passed, would have been governed with respect to the matters for which provision is made in this Act by any system of inheritance in which descent is traced through the female line;

but does not include the Aliyasantana law;

(i) " Nambudri law " means the system of law applicable to persons who if this Act had not been passed, would have been governed by the Madras Nambudri Act, 1932; the Cochin Nambudri Act; or the Travancore Malayala Brahmin Act with respect to the matters for which provision is made in this Act;

(j) "related" means related by legitimate kinship:

PROVIDED that illegitimate children shall be deemed to be related to their mother and to one another, and their legitimate descendants shall be deemed to be related to them and to one another; and any word expressing relationship or denoting a relative shall be construed accordingly.

(2) In this Act, unless the context otherwise requires, words imparting the masculine gender shall not be taken to include females.



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