Report No. 110
8.12. Recommendation as to section 29 and the Travancore Regulation.-
To clarify the position on the two points discussed above, we make the following recommendations:
(a) The Travancore Christian Succession Regulation 2 of 1092 should be repealed by an express provision. This course may be adopted if, as a matter of social policy, it is considered that the Indian Succession Act should apply to the persons governed by the Travancore Regulation, referred to above.
If, on the other hand, it is considered that as a matter of social policy, the provisions of the Travancore Christian Succession Regulation should govern succession to the persons concerned, then there should be inserted a provision in section 29 of the Indian Succession Act to the effect that the Travancore Regulation would apply to Christians governed by that Regulation in respect of intestate succession
(i) in the State of Kerala, and
(ii) the adjoining areas in the State of Tamil Nadu (in the district of Kanyakumari and Shencottah taluk).
(b) Besides the above amendment, an Explanation should be added to section 29(2) of the Indian Succession Act, to the effect that "law" in this section does not include custom.
(c) What we have recommended in sub-paragraph (a) above in relation to the Travancore Act, applies with necessary adaptations, to the Cochin Christian Succession Act also.
In this context, we should mention that it is customary in the Christian community (in the areas covered by the above recommendation) for fathers to make a suitable provision for the daughter during their lifetime. The practice of making such provision must have had its genesis in the consideration that the rights of the females in the father's property are less favourable than the rights of males standing in the same degree of relationship.
If the Indian Succession Act, 1925 becomes applicable to the persons in question, it will be just and fair that provisions made for daughters by the fathers should be taken into account when the succession opens on intestacy. The reason is, that the consideration in which this custom has its genesis would no longer subsist.
It is therefore recommended that if the Indian Succession Act, 1925 becomes applicable to the persons in question, suitable provision should be made to the effect that from the share to be distributed to a daughter on intestacy, the amount or value of the property so provided by the father during his lifetime should be deducted, provided that following conditions are fulfilled:-
(a) the making of such gift is evidenced in writing, whether or not the writing is stamped or registered; and
(b) the amount of the gift or provision or its value on each individual occasion is not less than five hundred rupees.
8.12A. Point regarding tribal law and Christianity.-
In a comment1 on the Working Paper forwarded to the Commission by the Catholic Bishop's Conference of India, the query has been raised about tribels who have their customary law. It is stated that if it is advantageous to them, they should not lose their benefit, merely by profession of the Christian religion. This point really does not arise out of any proposal put forth by us. The effect of conversion on the law applicable is outside this Report, and, in fact, is outside the Act. In any case, if it is considered proper to preserve any rule of tribal law, necessary action can be taken under section 3.
1. Catholic Bishops Conference of India, letter dated 3rd October, 1984.