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Report No. 204

6. Revision of Class-I Heirs

Class I heirs in the Schedule contain a large list of successors, going down upto three degree of descent of the deceased intestate, that is, upto his great grand children. The list presents quite a complex reading and is not amenable to easy understanding. We feel that this needs to be simplified, particularly in view of the general principles of succession contained in Sections 9 and 10 of HSA.

According to the order of succession, among the heirs specified in the Schedule those in class I shall take simultaneously in succession and to the exclusion of all other heirs. It will now be appropriate to refer to the rules for distribution of property among heirs in Class I of the Schedule as contained in Section 10 of HSA. Section 10 of HSA reads as under:

"10. Distribution of property among heirs in class I of the Schedule.- The property of an intestate shall be divided among the heirs in class I of the Schedule in accordance with the following rules:

Rule 1.- The intestate's widow, or if there are more widows than one, all the widows together, shall take one share.

Rule 2.- The surviving sons and daughters and the mother of the intestate shall each take one share.

Rule 3.- The heirs in the branch of each pre-deceased son or each pre-deceased daughter of the intestate shall take between them one share.

Rule 4.- The distribution of the share referred to in Rule 3 -

(i) among the heirs in the branch of the predeceased son shall be so made that his widow (or widows together) and the surviving sons and daughters gets equal portions; and the branch of his predeceased sons gets the same portion;

(ii) among the heirs in the branch of the predeceased daughter shall be so made that the surviving sons and daughters get equal portions."

From the aforesaid, it follows that the surviving sons and daughters of the intestate take one share each. If any son or daughter dies before the intestate, then his, or her children, as the case may be, will take between them one share that would have gone to the predeceased son or daughter, as the case may be, had he or she been alive at the time of intestate's death.

In other words, if any of such child pre-deceased the intestate leaving his or her children alive at the time of intestate's death, the children of such child as aforesaid will take between them the share which the said child would have taken if living at the intestate's death. This rule is also embodied in Section 16 in respect of order of succession among heirs of a female Hindu. This is percolated down the line of succession and is inherent in the scheme of Section 10 read with Class I heirs in the Schedule.

Besides, the widow of a pre-deceased son will also take one share.

Accordingly, the law in these provisions can be suitably revised with a view to simplify it further as follows. The following Rule shall be inserted in Section 10.

Rule 2. The mother and father, if both survive at the intestate's death, shall take between them together, one share.

Mother shall be deleted from existing Rule 2.

The existing Rules 2 and 3, 4 shall be renumbered as Rule 3, 4 and 5 respectively. The words "and so on in succession" shall be added at the end of renumbered Rule 4.

The Class I heirs in the Schedule may be revised as under.


1. Son, daughter, widow, mother and father.

2. Where any son or daughter pre-deceased the intestate, then children of such pre-deceased son or daughter, as the case may be, and widow of a pre-deceased son, if any.

3. And so on in succession among the heirs of the descending branch of successors pre-deceasing the intestate.

Proposal to amend the Hindu Succession Act, 1956 as amended by Act 39 of 2005 Back

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